NATO and EU dialogue on the unrest in Kosovo

NATO Deputy Secretary General Mircea Geoană met with Ambassador Miroslav Lajcak, EU Special Envoy for the Belgrade-Pristina Dialogue and other Western Balkans issues, who recently visited Belgrade and Pristina.

Ambassador Lajcak briefed the North Atlantic Council on recent developments in northern Kosovo and the EU’s ongoing diplomatic efforts on 13 June.

Tensions have risen in recent months as Serbia refuses to recognize Kosovo’s sovereignty. For more than two decades, NATO has led a peacekeeping mission in Kosovo as part of an international effort to establish lasting peace and security in the region, called the Kosovo Force, or “KFOR.”

KFOR’s mission in Kosovo – now supported by 4,200 troops from 27 NATO members – is to ensure the security and freedom of movement of all communities living in the region.

The clashes, which took place at the end of May, resulted in the injury of nearly 40 KFOR peacekeepers. NATO issued a statement on May 29 condemning the attacks.

“The excellent, long-standing cooperation between NATO and the EU in the region continues to make a difference,” said Geoană.

“The NATO headquarters, KFOR, the allies as well as the European Union and the OSCE [Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe] have been tireless in their efforts to de-escalate the situation in northern Kosovo and bring both sides to the negotiating table in the EU-led dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina.

“NATO has been committed to stability in the Western Balkans for decades. Our KFOR mission on the ground, with over 4,000 troops, is the strongest proof of this commitment,” he added.

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The NATO-EU dialogue comes after the UK extended its commitment to KFOR until at least 2026, as well as an additional 500 KFOR troops being deployed to Kosovo from Turkey.

The NATO-led KFOR mission is taking all necessary actions to maintain a safe and secure environment and free movement for all people living in Kosovo and continues to act impartially, in accordance with the UN mandate under Council Resolution 1244 Security of the United Nations. 1999.

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