Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic said on Tuesday, after his meeting with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, that cooperation with NATO is important to ensure the safety and security of Serbs in Kosovo.
Serbia had canceled all exercises with both NATO and Russia in 2022, to confirm its military neutrality in the Ukrainian conflict. Vučić also refused to join the Western embargo on Russia, despite it being repeated pressure From the United States and the European Union.
“We will always cooperate with NATO” The Serbian president said. He added: “As Commander-in-Chief, I will ask the government to consider the decision to resume joint exercises with NATO, which we conducted before.”
According to Stoltenberg, NATO understands Serbia’s desire not to join any military bloc and believes that holding joint exercises will not undermine this position.
NATO’s Kosovo Force (KFOR) has been stationed in the separatist Serbian region since 1999, following the 78-day air war launched by the Union against Belgrade on behalf of ethnic Albanian separatists.
Although KFOR continues to say that it guarantees everyone’s safety “Only Serbs were threatened and attacked, and Albanians were never threatened.” Vucic said in a press conference with Stoltenberg. He also reminded the visitor that NATO “Likes” It adopted UN Security Council Resolution 1244 to justify the mandate of the international security force in Kosovo, but it tends to ignore the fact that this resolution guarantees Serbia’s sovereignty over Kosovo.
Stoltenberg noted that NATO had sent a thousand soldiers to Kosovo, urged “both sides” to exercise restraint, and said that the increasing presence of Serbian forces near the province was not helpful. Vucic said the Serbian army did not act outside its authority and did not put anyone in danger “Where we put our forces is our own business.”
The Secretary-General of NATO arrived in Belgrade on Monday evening as part of his tour in the Balkans, which includes Bosnia and Herzegovina, North Macedonia and Kosovo. Most NATO member states recognized the separatist Serbian region as an independent state, but Belgrade rejected this. Serbia’s position has been supported by Russia, China and India, among other countries.