Kosovo’s Army, an electoral promise or a reality?

Kosovo’s Army, an electoral promise or a reality?

“The future of Kosovo’s Security Forces (KSF) is hypothetical and it hasn’t been discussed with NATO. If the mandate and mission of KSF changes, we expect from the North Atlantic Committee to deliberate NATO’s engagement level”, says NATO’s Department for Public relations

Pristina, February 20, 2014/Independent Balkan News Agency

By Elton Tota

Over 90% of Kosovo’s citizens want to make their dream, for Kosovo to have an army, come true. This is also indicated by the figures of the study carried out by Kosovo’s Center for Security Studies (KCSS) in Pristina.

According to premier Thaci, this dream will soon come true. “We’re only a short time away, weeks or months from the foundation of Kosovo’s Armed Forces”, declared Thaci on Wednesday’s government meeting.

“This whole dream will go through a government agenda and then, Parliament of Kosovo will take the respective decisions for the constitutional changes. We will continue to have a close cooperation with our allies. In this period of time, in the near future, Kosovo will have its own armed forces that meet Euro Atlantic standards and then, we will move on to the next step, that of making Kosovo part of the peace partnership”, said Thaci.

Meanwhile, the head of KCSS in Pristina, Florian Qehaja says that the declarations for the foundation of Armed Forces are mere political declarations for electoral purposes.

“They know that more than 90% of the citizens of Kosovo want their country to have an army and this is why they make such promises”, says Qehaja.

“The declaration issued by the prime minister and minister Agim Ceku is a mere political declaration issued now ahead of the elections, bearing in mind the fact that polls show that 90% of citizens support the creation of the Army of Kosovo”, says Qehaja.

The director of KCSS explains as to why he doesn’t believe that the foundation of an army is impossible within several months.

“Kosovo will not be able to have an army even in 2018, in terms of full military capacities, because this is a process which takes time”.

NATO: We have the last say about the future of KSF

The enthusiasm of the Kosovar prime minister, which was reflected on the Kosovar citizens, didn’t last long. In the past few hours, this enthusiasm has faded due to the declarations issued by NATO representatives.

NATO officials have declared that they currently support Kosovo Security Forces in their current mandate. “We’re aware of the declaration issued by Mr. Hashim Thaci. This is a domestic issue which involved local institutions. NATO currently supports Kosovo Security Forces in the framework of its initial mission and mandate, through NATO’s Liaison Office which has just been founded and the Advisory Group”, declared NATO’s Department for Public Relations.

As far as the future format of Kosovo’s military force is concerned, NATO’s officials have declared that this is expected to be decided once the North-Atlantic Council reviews NATO’s presence.

Moreover, there have been warnings that if the mandate of KSF changes, then the level of NATO’s engagement in Kosovo will be reviewed.

“The future of Kosovo’s Security Forces (KSF) is hypothetical and it hasn’t been discussed with NATO. If the mandate and mission of KSF changes, we expect from the North Atlantic Committee to deliberate NATO’s engagement level”, says NATO’s Department for Public relations.

During a previous electoral campaign, prime minister Thaci had also promised the liberalization of visas within 15 months, but in reality, according to EU representatives, this process is not expected to take place even in 2017. /ibna/