The US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, said that during the meeting in Brussels of the NATO Foreign Ministers, they discussed the role of the alliance in the Western Balkans region and in the promotion of peace.
The American chief diplomat said that what they do not want to see in this region is the return of conflicts.
“When I started this career, the Balkans were at the center of our concerns. At the center of our concern and the concerns of countries around the world, especially in the transatlantic area, was the Balkans, Bosnia and then Kosovo. One thing we do not want to happen in the future is the return of conflicts in the Balkans. NATO has played a key role in helping the states of the region to make progress on their way to membership in the European Union and in wider European stability,” he said, adding that NATO has long been a pillar of security in the Balkans. Western.
Blinken also spoke about the tensions in the north of Kosovo inhabited by a majority of Serbs, which started in May and culminated in September, after an armed group of Serbs carried out an armed attack on the Kosovo Police.
On September 24, the armed group of Serbs killed sergeant Afrim Bunjaku, while in the armed clashes that took place during the day in Banjska i Zveçan, three Serb attackers were also killed.
“The alliance has responded decisively to the actors who aim to destabilize the north of Kosovo. As we have earlier this year, we have deployed additional troops to [NATO’s peacekeeping mission in Kosovo] KFOR. We have also deepened our cooperation with the force led by the European Union in Bosnia and Herzegovina. This was also an important part of our conversation during these two days”, said Blinken.
A day earlier, the Secretary General of NATO, Jens Stoltenberg, expressed concern about the increase in tensions in the Western Balkans.
He promised that the alliance will do everything in order to maintain stability in the region.
The head of NATO has warned that in the meeting of November 28 and 29 in Brussels, the possibility of permanently increasing the number of soldiers within the peacekeeping mission of the alliance in Kosovo, KFOR, will be discussed.
After the attack in Banjska, NATO has already strengthened its military presence in Kosovo – created after the bombing campaign against Serbia in 1999 – with about 1,000 additional troops and heavier weaponry, bringing its troops in Kosovo to 4,500.
The attack in Banjska, for which Kosovo blames Serbia, has been strongly condemned by the United States and the European Union.
Millan Radoicic, former vice-president of the Serbian List, took responsibility for the attack. Authorities in Kosovo and Serbia are conducting separate investigations into this event, while Pristina has requested Radoicic’s extradition.
The international factor, meanwhile, has called on the parties not to incite tensions and to return to the dialogue for the normalization of relations, which is mediated by the EU and supported by the USA./REL