NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg says that transformation of the Kosovo Security Forces can be done only in accordance with the Constitution.
Stoltenberg told a joint news conference with Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic in Brussels on Wednesday afternoon that he “clearly stated his position” on this issue “many, many times.”
“Any change in the mandate for the Kosovo Security Forces has to be done in accordance with the constitution and it requires the necessary constitutional amendments, so that’s the way we have approached that issue all the time,” he said.
Stoltenberg also told reporters that he and Vucic discussed “the security challenges facing the Western Balkans.”
“Our partnership makes Serbia safer and more secure, and it also contributes to the security of NATO allies. (…) A strong, democratic and prosperous Serbia means more security and stability for the whole region,” he said.
According to Stoltenberg, Serbia and NATO have “developed their partnership with many new activities and we are strengthening the partnership in full respect of the military neutrality of Serbia.”
“There is no contradiction between the military neutrality of Serbia and the good and strong partnership with NATO. Actually, NATO has many partners who are neutral and at the same time have a strong cooperation and partnership with the alliance,” he said.
“We just finished a very good meeting with the North Atlantic council with all the 29 allies and we welcome the fact that we can meet together in this way because NATO and Serbia face common security challenges, and working with NATO can bring real benefits to Serbia and its citizens and the wider region. Our partnership makes Serbia safer and more secure, and it also contributes to the security of NATO allies,” the NATO chief said.
According to him. NATO has more than 100 different partner activities with Serbia each year, “addressing a wide range of issues which are important for Serbia, training Serbian officers, helping with reforming defense and security institutions, addressing the challenges related to explosive devices, but also different signs for peace projects, and again this is partly NATO helping Serbia but it’s also Serbia helping NATO because Serbia has now decided to help us with training of Iraqi officers or Iraqi medical medicine, which is important for our efforts to try to fight terrorism.”
Vucic told reporters during the news conference that Serbia has asked NATO not only not to end, but also not to reduce its presence in Kosovo.
He said he spoke with officials from several NATO countries, and that “Jens can attest to my fighting for and protecting Serbia’s interests.”
“We had different views of the past, but we agreed that we have to look into the future. Jens even convinced me that they also benefit from cooperation with us,” Vucic said.
Vucic also said that in recent year ethnic conflicts in Kosovo have produced injuries, but not deaths, and that “the talks in Brussels have yielded some results.”
In addition, he said that Serbia needs good cooperation with NATO, and that “no one can convince him that Jens Stoltenberg hates Serbia.”
“I thanked Stoltenberg and NATO members for maintaining peace and stability in Kosovo and Metohija, primarily KFOR units, and NATO’s role in ensuring security and safety for our people, but also for our holy places is of exceptional importance,” he added.
Vucic pointed out that, at the NATO Council meeting, he was asked about Serbia’s relationship with Russia and China, and that he responded “rationally.”
“If someone thinks it’s time to play the hero and oppose half the world… It’s up to us to have a peaceful course,” Vucic said.