Engel: Kosovo strongest supporter of US in Europe, must have army

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Eliot Engel has confirmed that the United States is currently opposed to the establishment of an army in Kosovo.

However, the ranking member of the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the US Congress urged a change of this position as soon as possible.

“It might come as a surprise to you, Mr. Speaker, but nine years on as a free and independent country, Kosovo still has no army. That’s right: a sovereign nation-state without an army. It has a small, lightly-armed Security Force, but nothing resembling the large, Russian-equipped Serbian military just next door,” Engel said in remarks published on the Committee’s website.

“Kosovo, a country we support and which supports us, wants what every other country in the world has: a basic army, in which its citizens can serve their nation, and probably serve alongside our own military if given the chance. What do we do? We offer rebukes and diplomatic threats. We make it clear that we don’t support Kosovo having an army at this time. That is absolutely absurd and is a position that we ought to change and change quickly,” he said, adding:

“Yet Russian weapons and material are pouring into Serbia, courtesy of Vladimir Putin. And as far as I can tell, the United States has stood in silence.”

“The United States was among the first to recognize Kosovo and today we are its strongest backer, and rightfully so. First recognized by President Bush, relations only deepened under President Obama. For that, Kosovo proudly has become the strongest supporter of the United States in Europe, sitting at an 85 percent approval rating,” Engel said.

“I’ve visited this country again and again and again and again, and every time, I see progress, and I know there’s a bright future. I’ve often said that as an American I can go all around the world, but I’ll never get greeted with more love and friendship than I will in Kosovo. People there truly love Americans and all things American,” he said.

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