Prime Minister Albin Kurti says recent fighting between local Serbs, Kosovo Police revealed need to increase security on border
Kosovo Prime Minister Albin Kurti said Wednesday that an additional NATO Peace Force in Kosovo (KFOR) that began duty should focus on protecting the border with Serbia.
After meeting Turkish Maj. Gen. Ozkan Ulutas, who recently took control of KFOR, Kurti said clashes last month in northern Kosovo revealed the need to increase security on the border.
Serbia repeatedly demanded that NATO provide security and stability to northern Kosovo and welcomed the increase in the number of KFOR troops.
Kurti claimed Serbia’s threat originates from Serbia’s weapons center along the border.
He added that protecting the border means closing illegal crossing routes, and that is the importance of greater cooperation with Kosovo police.
Under UN Security Council Resolution 1244, NATO has led a peacekeeping mission in Kosovo since 1999. Currently, KFOR has more than 4,500 troops from 27 NATO allies and partners.
Tensions have risen since a Kosovo police officer and three Serbian gunmen were killed in a fight Sept. 24 in the northern Kosovo village of Banjska.
The area has been the scene of unrest since April, when local ethnic Serbs boycotted elections in northern Kosovo, followed by protests against the election of ethnic Albanian mayors.
In addition, 200 British and 130 Romanian soldiers were deployed to Kosovo after the skirmish.
Kosovo declared independence from Serbia in 2008 and was recognized by many countries, including Türkiye. However, Belgrade has never recognized Kosovo and claims that it is still part of Serbia.