Nato considers permanent increase in military presence in Kosovo

Nato considers permanent increase in military presence in Kosovo
Nato Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg with Kosovo's President Vjosa Osmani. / Nato
By Valentina Dimitrievska in Skopje November 20, 2023

Nato Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said on November 20 in Pristina that discussions are underway regarding the potential for a permanent increase in the alliance's military contingent in Kosovo.

The move is aimed at avoiding the risk of a new violent conflict in Kosovo or the wider region.

Stoltenberg expressed concern over the incidents in September, which resulted in the death of a Kosovo policeman and three Serbian attackers.

"We are now reviewing whether we should have a more permanent increase to ensure that this doesn't spiral out of control and creates a new violent conflict in Kosovo or the wider region," Stoltenberg stated during the news conference in Pristina.

Acknowledging the gravity of the situation, Stoltenberg emphasised Nato's commitment to taking all necessary measures to address the security challenges.

Stoltenberg, as part of his Balkan tour, arrived Pristina from Sarajevo and is scheduled to visit Belgrade and Skopje during this regional journey on November 21-22.

“Good talks with President Vjosa Osmani and PM Albin Kurti on the security situation in Kosovo and the region. Nato will continue do what’s necessary to maintain a safe & secure environment for all communities,” Stoltenberg said on X network.

In response, Osmani spoke of the urgent necessity of Kosovo's Nato membership, starting with the Partnership for Peace (PfP) programme.

She stated that such membership is a crucial step toward achieving long-lasting and sustainable peace and security, not only within Kosovo but also in the broader region and beyond.

Kosovo’s unilaterally declared independence from Serbia in 2008, but it is not recognised as a separate country by Belgrade which is also blocking efforts by its former province to join international organisations.