NATO Defence Ministers review security situation in Kosovo
NATO Defence Ministers discussed the security situation in Kosovo during talks at NATO headquarters on Wednesday (10 October). They affirmed that KFOR continues to play an indispensible role in Kosovo. Allies were joined in their meeting by Ministers from non-NATO troop contributing nations and a senior European Union representative.
NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said a lot of progress has already been made in Kosovo over the last months. "The security situation on the ground has improved", he said during the meeting. "As a result of the combined efforts by KFOR and EULEX there is now greater freedom of movement".
NATO and the European Union closely coordinate their work in Kosovo to make sure that the security conditions are in place for the political process to move ahead. "Our two organisations are working closely together for the safety and security of all people in Kosovo, and it is vital that we continue to reinforce each other’s efforts", the Secretary General said.
He added that the KFOR mission and its Commander, Major General Volker Halbauer, has NATO's full support.
Defence Ministers reviewed the implications of the security situation on NATO troop levels in Kosovo. They reiterated that NATO’s goal is to keep moving towards a smaller and more flexible troop presence when circumstances allow and when the time is right. There are currently 6,148 troops deployed as part of the KFOR mission in Kosovo.
"KFOR has done an excellent job in maintaining a safe and secure environment for all people in Kosovo. And it will continue to fully implement its mandate", the Secretary General said.
On the political front, Ministers welcomed the relaunching of the dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina facilitated by the European Union and urged all parties to implement previous agreements.
"All need to live up to their responsibilities and move the whole region forward", the Secretary General said.