Kosovo’s political leadership is determined to go forward with the establishment of the country’s military armed forces, despite reactions from Belgrade and Brussels. The proposal to transform the Kosovo Security Forces (FSK) into a regular army will be tabled in parliament for vote on December 14 and all indications are that it will pass.
The establishment of an army by Kosovo is of great concern to the Serbian population, since they believe that it will be used to enforce the sovereignty of the state of Kosovo in the north. Belgrade also condemns the creation of an army fearing that it will pose a threat to the Serb population in Kosovo. Prime Minister Ana Brnabic did not exclude Serbia’s military intervention if the newly formed army is deployed in the northern part of Kosovo where Serbs are a majority. Later, of course, she rebuked her statements, saying she had not launched threats but expressed her concern for stability in the region.
For now, NATO is keeping a neutral stance calling on both sides to show restraint. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg had a telephone conversation with Serbian President Alexandar Vucic and Kosovo Prime Minister Ramush Haradinai in order to avoid actions that would create tension and expressed the view that the timing is not appropriate for the establishment of the army from Kosovo and requested its postponement.
Unlike NATO, which holds a neutral stance because of the differing views expressed within the Alliance, the US has no such reservations. New Kosovo Ambassador to Kosovo Phillip Koshnet described the advancement of Kosovo Security Forces (FSK) in a regular army as a positive step. “It is absolutely natural for Kosovo, as a sovereign and independent state, to have defence readiness”, said the new US ambassador at his first press conference in Pristina. Mr Koshnet welcomed the fact, stating that Kosovo could now participate in international peacekeeping, military missions. The US Ambassador pointed out that “Kosovo remains high on the list of US foreign policy priorities”.
It is worth noting that the US military officers are actively involved in the training of Kosovar Albanians to staff the newly established army. According to Serbian press reports, a US-trade ship destined for Durres in Albania, left a week ago carrying weapons and military material for Kosovo’s army./IBNA