NATO approves additional forces for Kosovo
NATO announced that it has approved additional forces for Kosovo following the September 24 attack on Kosovo police, but did not provide further details on the number of forces.
In a NATO announcement, it is stated that the Council of the Alliance met today to discuss the situation in Kosovo, expressing deep concern for the growing tensions in the north of Kosovo.
The announcement states that KFOR has forces throughout Kosovo and will take all necessary actions to maintain a safe environment and freedom of movement for all those living in Kosovo.
"Since May, we have increased the presence of KFOR. "Only yesterday the North Atlantic Council authorized additional forces to deal with the current situation," the statement said, but no further details were given on the number of troops.
The announcement states that NATO will continue to ensure that the KFOR commander has the resources and opportunities for KFOR to fulfill its mandate and is ready to provide further opportunities for KFOR's presence as needed.
"We call on all parties to urgently escalate the situation. We continue to call on Belgrade and Pristina to engage in EU-facilitated dialogue as the only way to resolve outstanding issues and reach solutions that respect the rights of all communities. This is the key to sustainable security in Kosovo and stability in the region", the announcement states.
On Sunday, September 24, an armed Serb group attacked the police, killing one police officer and injuring another. The group then forced their way into the Orthodox monastery in the village of Banjska, continuing to shoot at the police. The fight ended when most of the attackers escaped. Three of the armed attackers were killed.
Sunday's events have been described as a terrorist attack by Kosovo institutions and Western diplomats, while Serbia denies involvement in the attack.
About 4,500 NATO-led troops are stationed in Kosovo. Seven hundred additional troops were sent to Kosovo in early June after the violent unrest on May 29, when over 90 members of this mission were injured in clashes with groups of Serbian protesters opposing the implementation of the results of local elections in northern Kosovo./ VOA