Former NATO spokesperson Jamie Shea. Photo courtesy of NATO

NATO Ex-spokesperson: Serbian troops in Kosovo Would ‘Escalate Situation’

Former NATO spokesperson Jamie Shea says the return of Serbian troops to Kosovo would worsen the situation, and called for the barricades in the north of Kosovo to be removed ‘step by step’.

The NATO spokesman during the war in Kosovo, Jamie Shea, said that he did not expect Serbia’s request to return troops to Kosovo to be met, as KFOR has responsibility for security in Kosovo under UNSC Resolution 1244.

“KFOR has the responsibility for security in Kosovo according to Resolution 1244 of the UN Security Council and since June 1999, KFOR has done that job very well, in providing a safe environment for all,” he said. 

“So, there is absolutely no need for Serbian troops to return to Kosovo. This would not solve any problem, but it would only escalate the situation further,” Shea added.

On the TV show “Kallxo Përnime” on Wednesday, he emphasized that he expects the NATO-led peacekeeping mission operating in Kosovo since June 1999 to say “no” to Serbia. According to him, Serbia is trying to give a political signal.

As for the barricades in the north, Shea stated that they should be removed, but this should be done step by step, without provoking escalation.

“I think KFOR’s strategy is that the barricades should be removed, but that this should be done in a calm way, step by step, with methods that do not contribute to escalation, not provoking more violence, especially during this holiday period,” Shea said. 

Shea added that Kosovo should not give any pretexts to Belgrade to declare that they are on the verge of war.

Shea also spoke about the Franco-German plan regarding the dialogue between Kosovo and Serbia. According to him, this plan is a good basis for moving forward.

But he emphasized that Serbia will connect this plan with previous agreements with the EU.

“Serbia wants to connect the Franco-German plan with the previous elements of the agreement from the EU, for example, for the creation of this Association of municipalities with a Serbian majority, which, of course, was previously approved by the Parliament of Kosovo,” he added.

The former NATO spokesperson also spoke about the disinformation being spread by the media on the situation in the north of Kosovo.

Media reports in Serbia have said many Kosovo Serbs fear the decisions of the government of Kosovo and they do not see as friendly the movement of the special units in the north.

Shea emphasized that the government should articulate a clear message about the decisions taken and refute information from the Serbian media.

According to him, the government should have conducted more information campaigns about the decision to ban Serbian license plates, so that citizens do not fall prey to fake news.

“The necessary information campaign was not carried out before the decision was taken or understood. So let’s have information campaigns before decisions are made and use these campaigns to explain why these decisions are being made and not have an information campaign as a reactive element that happens after the decision is made,” Shea stated.

He emphasized that the Serbian minority in the north is vulnerable to misinformation they receive from the media in Serbia.

22/12/2022 - 14:00

22 December 2022 - 14:00

Prishtina Insight is a digital and print magazine published by BIRN Kosovo, an independent, non-governmental organisation. To find out more about the organization please visit the official website. Copyright © 2016 BIRN Kosovo.