NATO warns Kosovo against unilaterally creating an army

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NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, speaks prior to a debate about the NATO: Projecting Stability Beyond our Borders at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, in Geneva, Switzerland, on 02 March 2017.

NATO warns Kosovo against unilaterally creating an army


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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.

epa05837079 President of the Republic of Kosovo Hashim Thaci arrives for a press conference at his cabinet in Pristina, Kosovo 08 March 2017. Hashim Thaci backed up his decision he took on 07 March 2017 to submit to the Parliament the draft law on transforming the Kosovo Security Forces (KSF) into an Army. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has released a statement saying that on 08 March 2017 he has spoken to Hashim Thaci to convey the serious concerns of NATO Allies about recent proposals by the Kosovo authorities to transform the Kosovo Security Force (KSF) into an armed force, without a constitutional change. However, should the mandate of the KSF now evolve in the way proposed, NATO will have to review its level of commitment, particularly in terms of capacity-building he said in the statement.  EPA/VALDRIN XHEMAJ

President of the Republic of Kosovo Hashim Thaci arrives for a press conference at his cabinet in Pristina, Kosovo 08 March 2017. Hashim Thaci backed up his decision he took on 07 March 2017 to submit to the Parliament the draft law on transforming the Kosovo Security Forces (KSF) into an Army. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has released a statement saying that on 08 March 2017 he has spoken to Hashim Thaci to convey the serious concerns of NATO Allies about recent proposals by the Kosovo authorities to transform the Kosovo Security Force (KSF) into an armed force, without a constitutional change. However, should the mandate of the KSF now evolve in the way proposed, NATO will have to review its level of commitment, particularly in terms of capacity-building he said in the statement. EPA/VALDRIN XHEMAJ

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.

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