He said this in an exclusive interview for Tanjug when asked why NATO allows the arming of the so-called KBS and the purchase of drones and pointed out that NATO was against it.
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When asked about the membership of the so-called of Kosovo in the Alliance, Stoltenberg said that any decision on membership must be implemented by consensus of all NATO members.
– If some members did not admit Kosovo and thus it is a problem for the membershipbut we believe that the only way to a peaceful solution and prosperity is to support dialogue with the mediation of the EU – said Stoltenberg.
“NATO increased its presence in the north of Kosovo four times”
Asked about the increase in the number of patrols in the north of Kosovo, the head of the NATO alliance said that NATO has increased its presence in the north four times.
– We added 1,000 soldiers, armored vehicles because we saw an increase in tensions and violence, when 93 KFOR soldiers were wounded, some of whom had serious injuries, and there was a serious incident on September 24. We are asking our commanders to assess whether we should have a longer-term presence, we are waiting for further recommendations before any further decisions – said Stoltenberg.
According to him, NATO is there to protect all the people living in Kosovo.
– Since we have noticed a lot of violence and instability, in the last few weeks we have increased the presence through an additional 1,000 soldiers to make sure that we protect even more the freedom of movement and the safety of all people in Kosovo – said Stoltenberg.
“KBS must be distinguished from the police”
When asked how he interprets the so-called KBS armed and deployed in the north, Stoltenberg says they must distinguish “Kosovo security forces” from the police.
– The 2013 agreement clearly states that Kosovo forces cannot be redeployed to the north of Kosovo without the confirmation of the NATO commander and the Turkish general who currently leads the KFOR forces.. But the police do not fall under that agreement, but we also expressed that we expect coordination and that KFOR be informed, if there are overcommands or when they are such that they affect the security situation and cause insecurity – said Stoltenberg.
Speaking about the cooperation between NATO and Serbia, he pointed out that he would like to see deeper cooperation and a higher level of cooperation, which, he emphasizes, is beneficial for both sides, to promote stability in the region.
– I repeat, we have several joint peace programs, such as the exchange of technology, energy, all of this is very important for us, and brings us closer together. Serbia is on its Euro-Atlantic path, and we fully respect Serbia’s neutrality and the fact that it does not want to join NATO. But due to future membership in the EU, she wants cooperation with NATO allies in order to join the EU faster. We will try to support it. As for President Vučić’s message to establish joint exercises, it is an important step. And in parallel with that, we will see how we can have new partner programs that will cover different steps – said the first man of NATO.
“We have been cooperating with Serbia for years on the issue of peace”
When asked how he evaluates cooperation with Serbia in the context of the war in Ukraine, he said that since the beginning of the war, he has been in close contact with the Serbian authorities, primarily with President Aleksandar Vučić and Prime Minister Ana Brnabić.
– These are important contacts that I value, because Serbia is an important NATO partner and an important regional factor. We have been cooperating with Serbia on the issue of peace for years. For example, we collaborate on support through medical equipment and the like. We have important contacts, although we don’t agree on everything, but that’s normal. As for Ukraine, Serbia condemned Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine at the UN, as did the vast majority of other member states – Stoltenberg concluded.