BELGRADE – The head of NATO has urged Serbia and Kosovo to ease tensions and revive their efforts to normalize relations after talks aimed at mending ties collapsed amid mutual recriminations this week.
“Not more rhetoric, but we need dialogue. We need to reduce tensions to avoid incidents…and move forward normalizing the process between Pristina and Belgrade,” NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg told reporters after meeting with Kosovo Prime Minister Isa Mustafa in Pristina on Friday.
He said that Kosovo police not need permission by NATO or KFOR to go to northern Kosovo.
“Kosovo police can operate on the entire territory of Kosovo and the decision about it is made by Kosovo institutions or Pristina. Now we have a stable situation and agreements made in Brussels should be respected so the region can stay calm”, said Stoltenberg.
Responding to a question, what is the task of KFOR in case someone tries to enter Kosovo with an army, he said: “NATO is here to protect the peace”.
“No army can enter Kosovo without the approval of NATO. This is why the people in Kosovo should feel safe”, said the Secretary General.
NATO officials in Brussels earlier told Beta agency that “Brussels agreement from 2013, which Serbia cites, does not include the police forces of Kosovo and that Kosovo authorities do not have to ask for KFOR’s permission to send their police forces throughout Kosovo”. They said it regarding claims that written act, as part of the Brussels agreement, stipulates that Kosovo authorities have to seek permission from KFOR to send police, security forces to the north of Kosovo.
Speaking to reporters in Davos Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic confirmed that in the dialogue Belgrade – Pristina there are only two written agreements, while “everything else was achieved as a verbal agreement”.