Fri | Aug 18, 2017

Kosovo warned against move to form army

Published:Thursday | March 9, 2017 | 3:00 AM

BRUSSELS (AP):

NATO and the United States warned yesterday they could scale back cooperation with Kosovo's security services if the government goes ahead with plans to transform its lightly armed security force into an army without the required constitutional changes.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said he told Kosovo's leaders by telephone "that unilateral steps such as these are unhelpful".

He warned that if Kosovo goes ahead as planned, "NATO will have to review its level of commitment, particularly in terms of capacity building".

A US Embassy statement said "adoption of the current proposed law would force us to re-evaluate our bilateral cooperation with and long-standing assistance to Kosovo's security forces".

The move must be carried out through an "inclusive and representative political process", the statement added.

 

'NO TURNING BACK'

 

Kosovo President Hashim Thaci on Tuesday sent a draft law to parliament asking approval to form a regular army. The move was immediately denounced by Serbian leaders, who refuse to recognize Kosovo's independence and said they will use all political means available to prevent the formation of an army.

"There is no turning back. The KSF (Kosovo Security Force) will be transformed into Kosovo's army," Thaci told Radio Free Europe yesterday. "Western Balkans is endangered from the Russian military bases in Serbia, from Russia's MIG jets in Serbia, and from the Russian military exercises in Serbia."