NATO Sec. Gen. Stoltenberg says NATO does not want to remain permanently in Kosovo, but also says it may up presence there and in the region

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said that NATO does not want to keep 5,000 troops permanently in Kosovo, although earlier this week he also stated that NATO is considering upping the presence of KFOR forces there.

On Wednesday, Serbia’s FoNet news service cited Stoltenerg, who said that ethnic-Serb paramilitaries involved in a September raid in Banjska must be brought to justice—but that NATO wants to eventually leave Kosovo as soon as it is possible to do so without the risk of “instability and violence.”

That said, earlier in the week he stated that NATO was considering upping its presence there and in the region in order to deal with constant tensions between Kosovo and Serbia.

“[…] We are now actually conducting a review by our military authorities about our military presence in the Western Balkan region that includes Bosnia and Herzegovina but also Kosovo,” he said, as cited in an official NATO press rease. “We have used our reserve force to immediately increase our presence after violence in September. We are now reviewing whether we should have more permanent increase to ensure that this doesn’t spiral out of control and creates a new violent conflict in Kosovo or in the wider region.

“So yes, we will do what is necessary,” he added. “We are currently reviewing adjustments to our presence and we have already implemented immediate increases of NATO presence in the region.”

Photo by U.S. Secretary of Defense, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

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