Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense Serbia Dr. Nebojša Stefanović met today with the Commander of the NATO Joint Forces in Naples, Admiral Robert Burke, with whom he discussed co-operation between the Ministry of Defense and the Serbian Army with NATO, with special reference to the security situation in Kosovo and Metohija.
The interlocutors assessed that the current cooperation between the Ministry of Defense and the Serbian Army with NATO, and in particular the Joint Forces Command in Naples, is good and the high-level meetings contribute to the strengthening of trust and mutual understanding.
Minister Stefanović expressed concern over the security of the Serb population in Kosovo and Metohija, recalling that the latest reports by the OSCE mission show that there has been an increase of more than 109.4% in incidents targeting the Serb community.
He stressed that Serbia expects support for the protection of its people in its southern province, alongside a more active role of KFOR for which it is responsible, adding that Serbia firmly believes it will play its role in maintaining stability.
Speaking about the cooperation between Serbia and NATO, Stefanović pointed out that the Republic of Serbia cooperates with all partners in an extremely transparent way, but in accordance with the policy of military neutrality, and recalled that in this context the program “Partnership for Peace” is the optimal framework for cooperation.
He assessed that the previous participation in various PfP mechanisms, as well as the participation in joint training and international exercises, contributes to the development of interoperability, the importance of which is more visible to the Serbian Army during participation in UN and EU-sponsored peacekeeping operations.
Admiral Burke stressed that the Republic of Serbia and NATO are close partners and the successful participation of Serbian forces in multinational operations represents one of the results of this partnership. He reaffirmed that KFOR’s mission remains unchanged and that a stable situation in the area of corporate responsibility is vital to the security of the region. He also stressed that an excellent dialogue is maintained between the Serbian Army and KFOR, adding that the channels of communication are constantly open. /ibna