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 issues relating to the Western Balkans, who recently visited Belgrade and Pristina. Ambassador Lajcak also briefed the North Atlantic Council on recent developments in northern Kosovo and current EU diplomatic efforts.
“The long-standing, excellent cooperation between NATO and the EU in the region continues to make a difference,” said Deputy Secretary General Geoană. “NATO Headquarters, KFOR, Allies, the European Union and the OSCE have made tireless efforts to defuse the situation in northern Kosovo and bring both sides to the negotiating table, in the framework of the dialogue led by the EU between the two parties. 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 more than 4,000 soldiers, is the strongest demonstration of this commitment.
The NATO-led KFOR mission takes all necessary measures to maintain a safe and secure environment and freedom of movement for all people living in Kosovo and continues to act impartially, in accordance with its UN mandate based on United Nations Security Council Resolution 1244. 1999. NATO reinforcements arrived in Kosovo on June 5, 2023, following unprovoked violence in which a number of KFOR peacekeepers were injured. Around 500 Turkish soldiers from Turkey’s 65th Mechanized Infantry Brigade make up the bulk of 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 placed on alert for deployment if necessary.
NATO also continues to support the EU-facilitated dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina, which is the only way to achieve lasting peace and security in Kosovo and stability in the wider region.