NATO and the United States warned Kosovo on Wednesday not to proceed with the creation of an army.
The Secretary General of the Alliance, Jens Stoltenberg, told Kosovo’s leaders that “unilateral steps such as these are unhelpful.” If Pristina proceeds, the Alliance will review its level of commitment to Kosovo, Stoltenberg warned. The US embassy also warned it is ready to “reevaluate” its commitment to Kosovo’s security forces, AP reports.
Kosovo’s President Hashim Thaci introduced a draft bill on Tuesday that envisages the formation of a regular army. Kosovo declared its independence in 2008, which has been recognized by most EU and NATO member states, except Romania, Spain, Greece, Cyprus, and Slovakia. Serbia will not recognize Kosovo’s independence and strongly object to the creation of an army.
However, Mr. Thaci defiantly said on Wednesday that “there is no turning back,” citing Russia’s backing of Serbia. He also sought to reassure Serbia by saying that the Army would never present a threat to Belgrade “or any other country.”
At this point in time the Serbian opposition is boycotting the Kosovar Parliament. According to the Constitution, the transformation of Kosovo’s current militia into an Army would require a “double majority.” A double majority is two-thirds of the Albanian majority Members of Parliament and two-thirds of the 20 ethnic minority Members of Parliament. In sum, creating a Kosovar Army could be seen as a violation of the Kosovar constitution.
From Belgrade, Serbia’s Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic said Serbia would try to prevent the creation of a Kosovar Army, Tanjug reports.