Joint press point

with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and Isa Mustafa of Kosovo

  • 23 Jan. 2015 -
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  • Last updated: 23 Jan. 2015 16:43

JENS STOLTENBERG (NATO Secretary General):  Mr. Mustafa I really appreciate, Mr. Mustafa I really appreciate this opportunity to meet with you here in Pristina and it’s a pleasure to be back here. I visited Pristina back in 2001 and then I was with the Norwegian KFOR Forces.

This time I visited Pristina as Secretary General NATO and I met with the KFOR Forces again and it is great to see the progress which has been made here since last time I was in Pristina.

So I appreciate to be back and to see that you and we together are moving forward. And under a very strong and clear UN mandate our mission has helped to transform Kosovo into a safer place. And it has, and it has helped to make the western Balkans more stable and more safe.

KFOR will continue to preserve a safe and secure environment and to guarantee the freedom of movement for all people in Kosovo. We will continue to do this firmly, fairly and impartially.

And I see remarkable progress in the security and political situation in Kosovo, but much remains to be done and you know that, that better than anyone else. To leave the past behind and to turn the page.

So I commend you for your efforts to reach out to the Kosovo Serb community. Your visit to Decani Monastery to celebrate the Christmas with the Serbian Orthodox Christian community is a great example of how it’s possible to create ethnic reconciliation and to move forward on the right path.

And I count on you and your leadership to continue to move Kosovo forward. Forward towards a future of peace and prosperity and a future within the Euro Atlantic community. Thank you so much.

Q: [Speaking foreign language].

JENS STOLTENBERG:  It’s not up to NATO to decide how the security forces of Kosovo is developed. What we are doing is that we are doing capacity building for the Kosovo Security Forces within its present mandate.

And what I can underline is that whatever you decide to do you should do it in a way that doesn’t create new tensions, that doesn’t contribute to more instability and that you do it in ways which is in line with the ethnic reconciliation and a pragmatic and political mature approach. It’s up to you to decide but I expect you to do it in a way which do not undermine the progress we have made together to create stability, reconciliation and, and peace.

As I said we are, you, we look forward to work with you and you’re welcome as part of the Euro Atlantic co-operation. And I think that’s what I have to say today and I think that my main focus now is that NATO is going to stay in Kosovo on a condition based mission, our decision to be here, to stay here is not based on calendars but on conditions and as long as we deem it necessary to contribute to security and stability then we stay.

But of course at some stage the idea is that we should be able to leave because that will be the, in a way, the ultimate expression of that we have succeeded in together with you normalizing the situation in Kosovo. When we deem it right to also be able to leave because then you take the full responsibility yourself.

Q: [Speaking foreign language].

UNIDENTIFIED: [Responds in foreign language].

JENS STOLTENBERG:  I think the key message is that NATO is not going to dictate, NATO is not going to decide, that’s up to you to decide here locally in the region. But we underline that what we are doing is based on the UN mandate from 1999 and we are doing capacity building for the Kosovo Security Forces based on its, its present mandate and tasks.

Then I just can once again underline that when you decide, or whatever you decide to do, I very much expect you to do it in a way that doesn’t undermine the efforts to create stability, reconciliation, but I am not going to decide how you do that but I urge you to do that in dialogue with all groups, with different ethnic groups to be able to create more reconciliation not less.

And therefore we also are very supportive of the Belgrade Pristina dialogue and, and NATO is supporting that dialogue because that’s the framework where you can find solutions in a way which doesn’t provoke and create new problems but a way that creates broad agreements and, and a stable development.

NATO is supporting that dialogue and the best way we can do that is by continuing to contribute to security and stability in Kosovo creating the foundation for moving forward on the political dialogue.

Q: [Speaking foreign language].

JENS STOLTENBERG:  I welcome very much what the new government and Kosovo is doing in fighting terrorism and also the new laws that you have agreed because we need to fight terrorism because terrorism is a threat to all of us and terrorism doesn’t know any borders, it doesn’t belong to any nation or any religion and especially the returning foreign fighters are posing a threat to all of us, of course to the countries in the region, to all European countries and we saw the terrorist attacks in Paris just a few weeks ago and there we saw attacks on innocent people but the attacks were also attacks on our core values of the freedom of speech and the freedom of expression and our free and open society.

So therefore we have to work together in fighting terror regardless of what kind of terror and terror is not something which is belonging to one specific group or religion, it’s always individuals who are responsible for criminal acts and terror is an act of crime. Thank you so much.