Hashim Thaci says Kosovo does not have international support, “particularly of the US,” to change legislation and give the KSF the competences of an army.
This has been reported by Koha Ditore, an Albanian language newspaper published in Pristina.
Thaci, who serves as Kosovo’s president, told Voice of America that “the US and the international community” support a transformation of the KSF (Kosovo Security Force) through constitutional amendments.
“I’ve worked, for three years now, to solve this issue through constitutional amendments and I would very much like that to happen. We had the support of the US and NATO, but it’s become impossible now, especially after the open, clear, and determined statements from the Serb List and Belgrade that they don’t allow it, while the Serb List is threatening not to vote on the law,” Thaci said.
For that reason, he continued, “it remains for Kosovo either not to have an army, or switch to some other plan.”
Thaci also claims that a decision on establishing an army lies within the jurisdiction of Kosovo’s institutions, and that “all international actors are informed about the process.”
“We all want constitutional changes and we will work on that happening. The process of transformation is institutional, constitutional and legal and within the values and our Euro-Atlantic framework. Therefore, I am completely convinced that the international community will show understanding for the sincere engagement of the Kosovo institutions,” he said.
According to him, “Kosovo’s army will no engage against anyone and nobody should feel threatened.”
Late on Wednesday, Serbian PM Aleksandar Vucic said he was told by NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg that the alliance opposes Pristina’s plans to set up an army, and described this as “Serbia’s victory.”
Earlier, Thaci spoke for Radio Free Europe to say that Pristina intends to “continue to work” to change the mandate of the KSF, “regardless of NATO and the US.”
According to Kosovo media, Thaci has informed the ambassadors that, despite warnings from NATO and the United States, Pristina will not give up from the formation of the Army of Kosovo, and that the changes to the law that govern it, will soon be on the agenda of Parliament.
Thaci is said to have asked for the help of partners in persuading the Serbian List members to vote for constitutional changes concerning the transformation of the Kosovo Security Force.
Since this support was not received, Thaci said that the only way to carry out the transformation is by changing the laws for what two-thirds majority is not necessary.
The media reminds that the positional parliamentary parties have already declared that they will support the government’s proposal to amend the law on the formation of the army of Kosovo.
Among them is the radical movement Self-Determination, and one of its officials Rexhep Selimi said that they were steadfast in support of constitutional changes regarding the transformation of the Kosovo Security Force since 2014.
The head of the parliamentary group of the Alliance for the Future of Kosovo Pal Lekaj said that his party supports the creation of Kosovo’s armed forces.
Asked to comment on concerns the US Embassy and NATO on this occasion, Lekaj said that “the interests of the country in the first place.”
– We need to take care of the interests of the country, without violating the friendship with the United States and European Union, but that the interest of the citizens of Kosovo and the Kosovo state is in the first place – said Lekaj.
On the other hand, however, the President of the Serbian List Slavko Simi said that the Serb representatives in the Kosovo Parliament will use all political means to oppose the formation of a Kosovo Army.
Minister of Foreign Affairs of Norway Borge Brende urged the Kosovo authorities to refrain from the transformation of the Kosovo security forces into the army without a constitutional change and the political process, said in a statement published on the website of the Norwegian Embassy in Belgrade.
Previously, NATO and the US stated their opposition to the plans, something acknowledged by Kosovo President Hashim Thaci, who launched the initiative earlier in the week.
Belgrade strongly opposes the possibility of Pristina creating an army, and has interpreted the lack of support for the idea from the West as its diplomatic victory.