Tuesday, January 17, 2017

NATO "watching situation closely, urging restraint"

NATO said on Monday it was watching closely the situation between Belgrade and Pristina, and urged all parties to exercise restraint and continue the dialogue.
Source: Beta, Tanjug
(Getty Images, illustration purposes, file)
(Getty Images, illustration purposes, file)
Tanjug reported this citing Radio Free Europe.
The statement, released from the NATO headquarters, was "a comment on the latest developments in the relations between Belgrade and Pristina," the agency said.

Tanjug said on Tuesday morning that it was waiting for an official response from NATO to their question of whether the special Kosovo police unit had the permission of KFOR to intervene in northern Kosovo on Saturday.

According to guarantees NATO gave during the signing of the Brussels agreement between Belgrade and Pristina in April 2013, such intervention can only take place with KFOR's permission and the local community's agreement, or in case of a natural disaster.

Beta reported late on Monday that NATO "urged Belgrade and Pristina to refrain from any action that would escalate tensions, and to launch talks, in the best interest of regional stability and security."

When asked by a Beta journalist to share the Alliance's position on strongly worded statements by the authorities in Belgrade and Pristina, following a decision by the Kosovo authorities to send special police units to stop a Belgrade-Kosovska Mitrovica train at the administrative line, spokesperson Oana Lungesku told the agency:

"We are monitoring the situation very carefully."

Lungesku said it was "a matter to be resolved between Belgrade and Pristina."

When asked to say what her organization thought about Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic's words that neither the Alliance nor the European Union had "responded properly" to the decision to send Kosovo's special police to the north of Kosovo without the required approval from NATO, while Kosovo Prime Minister Isa Mustafa had said that Pristina's decision followed consultations with all diplomatic missions, Lungesku underlined that "the KFOR mission, led by NATO, will continue to play its role."

The NATO spokesperson said that "KFOR's role is based on the mandate defined by the UN Security Council Resolution 1244, and the mission is prepared to offer assistance as a third force, if required, but only after EULEX and the Kosovo police have played their own roles."

"We urge all the parties to exercise restraint, and start a dialogue, because that is in the best interest of regional stability and security," Lungesku said, explaining that additional information was available from the press office at the KFOR headquarters in Kosovo.

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