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Tensions in the Western Balkans/ Stoletenberg: NATO will do what it takes to ensure stability in the region

Tensions in the Western Balkans/ Stoletenberg: NATO will do what it takes to

The Secretary General of NATO, Jens Stoltenberg, has expressed concern about the increase in tensions in the Western Balkan region, as he has promised that the North Atlantic alliance will do everything in order to maintain stability in the region.

"What we see there is that tensions are rising. I am seeing rising tensions and inflammatory rhetoric in Bosnia and Herzegovina. We have seen serious incidents of violence in Kosovo, including the attack on NATO peacekeepers. 93 NATO soldiers were injured, some of them very seriously. We also had the attack in Banjska", declared the head of the North Atlantic Alliance on the eve of the meeting of the foreign ministers of the member states.

"NATO will do what is necessary to maintain or ensure stability in the region, because this is important not only for the Western Balkans, but for all of Europe," Stoltenberg ordered.

The heads of diplomacy of the 31 NATO member states at the meeting being held in Brussels on November 28 and 29, will discuss, among other things, the security situation in the region.

On November 27, the Secretary General of the alliance warned that the possibility of permanently increasing the number of soldiers within the alliance's peacekeeping mission in Kosovo, KFOR, will be discussed at the meeting.

According to the Associated Press agency, violence between Kosovo and Serbia has erupted twice in recent months, and Western countries fear that Russia may try to foment trouble in the Balkans to divert attention from the war in Ukraine.

After the attack in Banjska on September 24, NATO has already strengthened its military presence in Kosovo - established after the bombing campaign against Serbia in 1999 - with around 1,000 additional troops and heavier weaponry, taking its troops in Kosovo in 4,500.

The possibility that the increased number of soldiers will be long-term, as well as that the soldiers will have increased military capabilities, is now being considered.

On September 24, the Kosovo Police was attacked by an armed group of Serbs in the village of Banjské in Zveçan, where police officer Afrim Bunjaku was killed. During the clashes that followed, three Serbian attackers were also killed.

And on May 29, dozens of KFOR members were injured after the confrontation with the protesters in Zveçan after the Albanian mayors entered the municipal buildings with the help of the police.

The debate on the region will be held on Wednesday afternoon, while the high representative of the European Union for foreign policy and security, Josep Borrell, will also be present at the meeting./REL

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