24 March 2009 - BELGRADE AND PRISTINA OFFICIALS DEBATE FUTURE OF KOSOVO AT NATO PA SEMINAR
“Local and isolated inter-ethnic incidents do occur in Kosovo, but remain under control”, Brigadier General Dave Berger, KFOR Chief of Staff, told NATO parliamentarians gathered in Sarajevo last week for the NATO PA 70th Rose-Roth seminar. The northern part of Kosovo continues to be a major concern for KFOR, although some positive developments have unfolded over the past few months.
Both Brigadier General Berger and Natacha Andonovski-Carter, Deputy Head of EULEX’s Policy Office, confirmed that EULEX and KFOR are still learning to work together, but are enjoying some success on the ground.
Kruna Petkovic, Assistant Minister for Kosovo and Metohija for international co-operation, and Naim Maloku, member of the Presidency of the Assembly of Kosovo, illustrated the persistent and deep rift between
Mr Maloku focused on Kosovo’s institutional development, noting that “today we don’t talk about stabilization any more, but about development”. He also assured participants that “Kosovo will not be an Albanian state”, that it will remain multiethnic, and that its leaders “want to integrate all communities” and “improve the security for all citizens of Kosovo”. Ms Petkovic repeatedly pointed out, however, that one needs to look at developments in Kosovo over the past decade rather than the past year, and whether these “make a foundation conducive to building a sustainable society”.
Ms Petkovic further called on the international community to refrain from taking any decisions that might worsen the situation on the ground. While expressing her appreciation for KFOR’s role as a protective force in Kosovo, she challenged NATO’s support for the Kosovo Security Force (KSF), calling it “a serious breach of the Resolution 1244”. This decision, she continued, compromises NATO’s declared status-neutral position in Kosovo. Brigadier General Berger responded that the KSF is neither an offensive force nor an army. Moreover, the force will meet NATO standards and will be multiethnic insofar as 10% of the positions are reserved for non-majority populations.
Ms Petkovic concluded that “