"NATO is fully committed to the stability and security of the Western Balkans – nowhere more than in Kosovo," the Secretary General said at a press conference in Pristina. "For the past 12 years, the NATO-led mission here has helped preserve a safe and secure environment for all people in Kosovo – firmly, fairly and impartially."
During the one-day visit, the delegation met with the Commander of KFOR, Major General Erhard Drews, and with key representatives of the international community in Kosovo to discuss the current political situation. The delegation also had meetings with Mr Hashim Thaci and Mr Slobodan Petrovic.
Speaking after the meetings, the Secretary General stressed that NATO and its international partners in Kosovo are committed to the Euro-Atlantic future of the region. "We all know that the future of the Western Balkans lies in building peaceful cooperation, not a return to the conflicts of the past”, Mr Rasmussen said.
The Secretary General emphasised that the political problems of the region can only be solved by dialogue and reiterated NATO’s full support for the European Union-facilitated talks between Belgrade and Pristina.
"I call on all leaders, and all communities, across this region to show responsibility and restraint. I call on all leaders and all communities to choose dialogue, not confrontation. Because the people of this region deserve a better future, as part of the Euro-Atlantic community ," he said.
The Secretary General and Ambassadors also traveled to Mitrovica to see the results of KFOR's efforts to maintain a safe and secure environment for the people of Kosovo.