BELGIUM–(ENEWSPF)–3 February 2012. NATO Defence Ministers today reviewed the security situation in the northern part of Kosovo which experienced an increase in violence in 2011. Allies were joined by Ministers from non-NATO troop contributors and a representative of the European Union.
Against the backdrop of a volatile, but for the moment stable situation in northern Kosovo, Allies and partners agreed that KFOR continues to play an indispensable role in Kosovo and they committed to sustaining that role.
“KFOR has done an excellent job in maintaining a safe and secure environment for all the people in Kosovo . The mission and the Commander of KFOR have our full support”, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said during the meeting. “And KFOR will continue to fully implement its mandate in accordance with its United Nations mandate”, he added.
Ministers emphasized that finding a political solution for northern Kosovo is the only way to overcome the current impasse. They also agreed on the need to support the ongoing EU-sponsored dialogue and to continue to call on all parties to show flexibility and implement agreements as they are reached.
Defence Ministers praised the close cooperation between KFOR and the European Union Rule of Law Mission in Kosovo. “While KFOR continues to contribute to the safety of all, EULEX remains essential for building a secure, democratic and multi-ethnic Kosovo based on rule of law”, Mr Rasmussen said. He added that “it is of utmost importance that we continue to reinforce each other’s efforts, so that Kosovo can look to a future of integration in the Euro-Atlantic family and not to the conflicts of the past”.
Looking ahead, Defence Ministers reiterated the long-term goal to reduce the NATO troop presence in Kosovo when circumstances allow and when the time was right.