Press conference by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg following the meetings of NATO Defence Ministers in Brussels

NATO: Belgrade and Prishtina to Refrain From Destabilizing Actions

After the meeting of NATO Defense Ministers in Brussels, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg addressed the recent Kosovo-Serbia tensions for which he said that Belgrade and Prishtina must behave responsibly, refrain from destabilizing actions, and re-engage in the EU-facilitated dialogue.

Defense ministers of the more than 30 North Atlantic Treaty Organization members met on Thursday in Brussels where they discussed a plethora of security issues affecting the defensive alliance, including support for Ukraine, tensions between Serbia and Kosovo and the recently erupted war in Israel.

After this meeting, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said in a press conference that in response to recent tensions in Kosovo, NATO has deployed hundreds of additional reserve forces to our KFOR operation in recent weeks.

“We are conducting more patrols in the north of Kosovo. These are prudent steps to ensure KFOR has the forces it needs to fulfill its UN mandate impartially”, said Stoltenberg.

According to him, the only way to lasting peace in Kosovo is if Belgrade and Prishtina behave responsibly, refrain from destabilizing actions, and re-engage in the EU-facilitated dialogue.

On 24th of September dozens armed paramilitary troops entered Kosovo and carried out a terrorist attack where they shot a policeman dead and wounded two others before surrounding a Serbian Orthodox monastery in Banjska in the Serb-majority northern municipality of Zvecan. 

Former vice-president of Kosovo’s largest Serbian party, Serbian List, Milan Radoicic has openly acknowledged his participation in that terrorist attack.

BIRN has found from an analysis of traces in the vast arsenal that the bullets seized from Serb gunmen in northern Kosovo last month were made in Serbia only last year, while mortar shells and grenade launchers passed through Serbian state maintenance centers in 2018 and 2021

The European Union has not yet imposed sanctions on Serbia regarding this issue.

Stoltenberg also mentioned the Israel–Hamas War for which he said that a number of NATO Allies made clear that they are providing practical support to Israel and doing everything possible to provide for their affected citizens.

On the morning of October 7, Hamas militants entered towns and communities in southern Israel, as barrages of rockets were fired from Gaza into Israel territory.

Israel retaliated by carrying out intensive airstrikes in the Gaza Strip, which has been controlled by Hamas since 2007.

Israel declared a state of war on October 8 and gave the military the green light for “major military steps” to retaliate against Hamas for the surprise attack.

Various citizens from around the world were evacuated from this war zone, and among them there were also citizens of Kosovo.

13/10/2023 - 18:21

13 October 2023 - 18:21

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