Kosovo has been excluded from Defender 23 military exercise, as a sanctioning measure following recent developments in the North of the country.
The American Ambassador to Kosovo, Jeffrey Hovenier, has officially confirmed that Kosovo has been excluded from the “Defender 23” exercise as a sanction in response to recent developments in the North.
Ambassador Hovenier held a press conference on Tuesday in Kosovo, where he stated that he urgently requested PM Albin Kurti to withdraw the Kosovo Police completely from the three municipal buildings in the northern part of the country: Zubin Potok, Leposavic, and Zvecan.
“We will cease all efforts to assist Kosovo in gaining recognition from states that have not recognized Kosovo and in the process of integration into international organizations,” said Ambassador Hovenier.
Hovenier emphasized that in the absence of a response from the Government of Kosovo to this request from the US and in the absence of any sign that the government is working to ease the situation in the north, serious sanctions will be imposed against Kosovo.
The ambassador added that the events of the last couple of days will have a negative reputational effect for Kosovo and that it has set back the efforts to bring normalization of relations between Serbia and Kosovo.
“The crisis that has been created has been totally unnecessary, the mayors have had the opportunity to work from other administrative buildings located in these municipalities, so it was not necessary to insist on entering these buildings,” added the US Ambassador.
Hovenier further emphasized that, given the current situation, there should be no expectation of any willingness for visits by officials from Kosovo to the United States, and vice versa.
DEFENDER 23 is a U.S.European Command directed multi-national, joint exercise designed to build readiness and interoperability between U.S. and NATO allies and partners. Defender Europe ‘23
“Europe Defender” that was planed to take part on Tuesday in Kosovo, got canceled because of the tension in the north. This exercise was the largest and most effective exercise for Kosovo and the FSK.
30 May 2023 - 17:18
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