Kosovo, a priority to the new Secretary General of NATO

During a meeting with the NATO Secretary General, Mr. Andres Fogh Rasmussen, the President of the Republic of Kosovo, Dr. Fatmir Sejdiu mentioned the idea of involving Kosovars in various NATO operations. “Besides expressing our observations with the Prime Minister, I also mentioned the idea of reviewing the possibility for involving Kosovo people in important peacekeeping and stability-preserving missions and other missions that NATO knows best how to accomplish. It is an issue that relates to assessments and developments to be carried out and made in the future”, President Sejdiu said.

During the meeting, President Sejdiu and Prime Minister of the Republic of Kosovo, Mr. Hashim Thaçi, updated Mr. Rasmussen on evolutions in Kosovo and thanked him for the unreserved and strong support that NATO has and is still providing to the new state of Kosovo in ensuring peace, security and stability and in protecting the integrity of the country.

He also praised the assistance that NATO has provided in carrying out important projects aimed at having Kosovo always feel as a homeland to all its citizens and its support in establishing institutional and security mechanisms in Kosovo.

“We thanked him for this great assistance and support. We acknowledge the special commitment of NATO troops in Kosovo to building the capacities of Kosovo Security Force. We also acknowledge our joint policies and positive considerations for our journey towards Kosovo’s stability and sustainability as a country belonging to all its citizens and as a sovereign state. We are also appreciative of the support to our vision for Kosovo’s membership in NATO, with a due regard to positive engagements of other countries of the region in meeting the requirements for membership in NATO”, President Sejdiu added.

Sejdiu also thanked Mr. Rasmussen for his role in his earlier assignments, for his frequent presence in Kosovo and for his current engagements as the Secretary General of the North-Atlantic Treaty Organisation.

On the other hand, the NATO Secretary General, Mr. Andres Fogh Rasmussen, said that downsizing of NATO troops will not undermine the security in Kosovo.

He said that he has given a priority to Kosovo in his work as a Secretary General of NATO.

“The fact that I decided to come to Kosovo only a few days after I took on the new task reflects clearly that I am going to give high priority to Kosovo in my work” – Rasmussen said.

Speaking of reduction of KFOR troops, Rasmussen said that the process reflects the improvement of the security situation in Kosovo, by specifying that the reduction will take place in the years to come.

Rasmussen said the decision on reduction of troops was conditions-based, indicating that the reduction will take place in accordance with the continued improvement in the security situation. “We will not take any decision that may adversely affect the security situation in Kosovo. We will make clear that each move to a deterrence presence will be phased and coordinated and based on a thorough military and political scrutiny of state of affairs”, Secretary Rasmussen said.

He also expressed NATO’s commitment to maintaining its support in building the capacities of Kosovo Security Force.

The NATO Secretary General also referred to the integration of the countries of our region into North-Atlantic community. He maintained that the integration of Balkans into North-Atlantic institutions would facilitate stability and prosperity in the region. Rasmussen said that his vision was also to support these countries in meeting the necessary requirements for integration.

“My vision is to ensure a clear perspective for the entire Balkans, for Kosovo, but for Serbia as well. I believe this will facilitate stability and prosperity in this part of Europe. This is also conditions-based. The candidate countries, regardless of whether we are talking about EU or NATO, must meet the necessary requirements, including the peaceful resolution of border disputes, and must protect the rights of minorities”, the NATO Secretary General Mr. Andres Fogh Rasmussen said.