NATO urges parties in Kosovo to contribute to security

Solutions should be sought through dialogue, says alliance.

NATO urges parties in Kosovo to contribute to security

NATO urged all actors in Kosovo on Friday to coordinate with its peacekeeping mission in that country (KFOR) to ensure safety.  

''We urge all sides to engage to enable security and freedom of movement in Kosovo. The NATO-led peacekeeping mission in Kosovo (KFOR) will continue fulfilling a UN mandate for all communities in Kosovo. Solutions should be sought through dialogue,'' the alliance wrote on social media.

The statement came after Serbia decided late Thursday to submit a formal request to KFOR to deploy security forces as tensions in the region reached dangerous levels.

NATO also said it has been reinforcing its presence, including with additional troops and patrols in northern Kosovo to provide safety for all communities.

''We are closely monitoring the situation in northern Kosovo. KFOR has the capability and personnel to provide a safe and secure environment as well as freedom of movement for all communities,'' it said.

Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic requested Thursday that up to 1,000 police and military personnel return to Kosovo in line with UN Security Council Resolution 1244.

UN Security Council Resolution 1244 stipulates that Serbia has the right to deploy up to 1,000 members of its security forces in Kosovo.

The latest developments come after Serbs in northern Kosovo blocked main roads to protest the detention of former Serb police officer Dejan Pantic on suspicion of terrorism. Pantic was part of a mass resignation of Serbs from security forces in November.  

Tensions between Serbia and Kosovo

Kosovo, predominantly inhabited by Albanians, broke away from Serbia in 1999 and declared its independence in 2008. But Serbia has not recognized the move and sees its former province as part of its territory.

Tensions flared last month when Kosovo attempted to require ethnic Serbs to change their vehicle license plates that date before 1999 to Pristina-issued plates. The decision led ethnic Serbs in Kosovo to withdraw from all central and local institutions.

A snap election was announced in four northern municipalities for Dec. 18 after ethnic Serb representatives resigned from their posts.

But Kosovo has postponed the elections until April because of security concerns.

Last week, some election centers were damaged and shooting was heard in those areas, raising fears of an escalation in tensions.