“KFOR not withdrawing”, Stoltenberg: Encouraging dialogue as a guaranty for regional peace

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NATO remains committed to peace and stability in the Western Balkans, and peacekeeping troops in Kosovo are the most tangible evidence of this commitment.

This was the message conveyed by NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg after meeting Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic, who last week told local media that “one of the major powers will officially request to withdraw KFOR and UNMIK missions”.

“There are no changes in the mission of NATO and its thirty allies, including the US, which remain committed to KFOR’s mission. KFOR is there to guarantee freedom of movement for everyone. This mission is clearly based on a UN mandate and there are no changes”, Stoltenberg said.

President Vucic described NATO’s commitment to KFOR as “very important”, adding that he hopes it was a “simple misunderstanding” stressing that the remarks of NATO Secretary-General will provide more peace and security in the region.

“I am very glad about these clarifications and I hope that Stoltenberg’s declaration will be confirmed at the NATO summit in June. Perhaps it was a misunderstanding on my side, but I can say that we are on the right path to preserve peace in the region”, Vucic said.

Stoltenberg said NATO endorses the normalization process and that dialogue is the best platform to discuss solutions complying with the rights of all the communities in building long-term peace.

“NATO fully supports the normalization of ties between Belgrade and Pristina. Dialogue is the best solution to find a solution to the rights of all the communities, for peace and for a future that is better for all”, declared Stoltenberg.

Kosovo-Serbia talks are set to resume in June with the mediation of the European Union.

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