KFOR Chief Public Affiairs Officer: We conduct patrols with the Kosovo Police and the Serbian Army

Kfor
Source: Fejsbuk

"All in all, the situation on the ground is calm but remains fragile. We plan and carry out regular patrols, including joint patrols with the Kosovo Police. We also plan and carry out synchronized and parallel patrols with the Serbian Army along the administrative line," says the KFOR Chief Public Affiairs Officer in an interview for Kosovo Online.

Asked how he assesses the current security situation in Kosovo, our interlocutor says that overall, the situation on the ground is calm but still fragile.

"We closely monitor all relevant security situations, including in northern Kosovo, through a visible and flexible presence, which includes regular patrols and engagement with local communities. We continue to fulfill our UN mandate - based on United Nations Security Council Resolution 1244 from 1999 - to ensure a safe and secure environment for all communities living in Kosovo and freedom of movement, at all times and impartially. KFOR acts as a third security response, after the Kosovo Police and the EU Rule of Law Mission (EULEX), respectively, with whom we cooperate and coordinate on a regular basis. KFOR also maintains close contacts with the Serbian Chief of Defense," he says.

To what extent does KFOR cooperate with the Kosovo Police in securing the administrative line?

"We have a long-standing cooperation with the Kosovo Police. We plan and carry out regular patrols, including joint patrols with the Kosovo Police. We also plan and carry out synchronized and parallel patrols with the Serbian Army along the administrative line.

In recent months, we have seen a large number of statements and media reports about the possibility of conflict in Kosovo. What do you think of such claims?

"KFOR has a solid awareness of the situation on the ground, thanks to our visible and flexible presence throughout Kosovo. KFOR continues its vigilance to prevent the resurgence of violence, through our daily efforts. At the same time, we are ready and well-positioned to respond to potential challenges and continue to fulfill our UN mandate to provide a safe and secure environment for all people living in Kosovo and freedom of movement, at all times and impartially.

Is there a plan to increase KFOR troops in Kosovo in the coming period?

"The strength of our current mission consists of about 4,600 soldiers contributed by 28 countries, including NATO allies and partners. However, we continuously assess our posture and remain ready to adjust as necessary. In response to tensions last year, NATO deployed about 1,000 additional soldiers to Kosovo. This deployment was a swift measure to ensure the continuous implementation of our UN mandate to maintain a safe and secure environment for all communities living in Kosovo. Decisions regarding troop levels and deployment are based on ongoing assessments of the evolving situation. The Western Balkans is a region of strategic importance to NATO, allies, and partners remain fully committed to ensuring that KFOR has everything necessary to fulfill its key mission. The presence of the NATO-led KFOR mission, which operates under its UN mandate, is crucial for ensuring lasting security throughout Kosovo, beneficial for all communities. We remain cautious in considering our posture and ready to make adjustments as needed, as demonstrated by the deployment of additional troops following last year's spikes in violence."

It is known that the arrival of the KBS in the north requires the consent of the KFOR commander, will the Bayraktar drones purchased for the KBS fly over the north of Kosovo?

"We are fully focused on the daily and impartial implementation of our mission, based on UN Security Council Resolution 1244 from 1999. During his last visit to Pristina, the NATO Secretary-General was very clear on this issue, he reiterated that: 'any deployment of the Kosovo Security Forces in the north of Kosovo requires the consent of KFOR.' We very much welcome the continued respect for this commitment by the institutions in Kosovo and count on their continued cooperation in this regard for all KBS activities. "

How do you assess the cooperation with the Serbian Army, when it conducts exercises near the administrative line, is KFOR always informed?

"As KFOR, cooperation and communication with the Serbian Army are crucial to avoid misunderstandings and foster transparency. It is key to ensuring stability and security in the region. When the Serbian Army conducts exercises near the administrative border, it is standard protocol for KFOR to be informed. This practice is in line with our ongoing commitment to transparency, mutual respect, and understanding, which are key to maintaining a safe and secure environment in Kosovo. We continuously strive to enhance our cooperation with the Serbian Army and other local security organizations to foster peace and security in the region."