NATO and EU together for stability in Kosovo and the Western Balkans
NATO Deputy Secretary General Mircea Geoană met today (13 June 2023) with Ambassador Miroslav Lajcak, EU Special Representative for the Belgrade-Pristina Dialogue and other Western Balkans issues, who recently visited Belgrade and Pristina. Ambassador Lajcak also briefed the North Atlantic Council on recent developments in northern Kosovo and the EU’s current diplomatic efforts.
“The excellent, long-standing cooperation between NATO and the EU in the region continues to make a difference,” Deputy Secretary General Geoană said. “NATO Headquarters, KFOR, Allies as well as the European Union and the OSCE have been tireless in their efforts to de-escalate the situation in northern Kosovo and bring both sides to the negotiation table, within the framework of the EU-led dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina,” he added. Mr. Geoana recalled that “NATO has been committed to stability in the Western Balkans for decades; our KFOR mission on the ground, with well over 4,000 troops is the strongest demonstration of this commitment.”
The NATO-led KFOR mission is taking all necessary actions to maintain a safe and secure environment and freedom of movement for all people living in Kosovo and continues to act impartially, in line with its UN mandate based on the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1244 of 1999. NATO reinforcements arrived in Kosovo on 5 June 2023, following the unprovoked violence in which a number of KFOR peacekeepers were injured. Around 500 Turkish service members from Türkiye’s 65th mechanized infantry brigade make up the bulk of the NATO reinforcements. The Turkish Battalion will be deployed in Kosovo for as long as necessary. An additional battalion of NATO reserve forces has also been put on higher alert to be deployed if needed.
NATO also continues to support the EU-facilitated dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina, which is the only way to lasting peace and security in Kosovo and stability across the region.