KFOR: Inaccurate claims that we participated in negotiations about the withdrawal of Serbs from Banjska

Source: Facebook

KFOR today denied a report by the International Crisis Group which stated that they were involved in alleged negotiations about the withdrawal of Serbs who participated in events in Banjska in September 2023.

"The International Crisis Group recently released a report titled 'Northern Kosovo: Asserting Sovereignty Amid Divided Loyalties'. In its account of the violence that occurred in Banjska in September 2023, the report states that: “Fearing a bloodbath, KFOR negotiated the [Serb fighters’] group’s withdrawal into the surrounding woods, from which they melted away. This is inaccurate. At no time was KFOR involved in the purported negotiations," the statement said.

The statement added that after being called upon to increase its presence, KFOR closely coordinated with the Kosovo Police and the EU Rule of Law Mission (EULEX) to restore security in the area.

"The violence that occurred in Banjska came after an attack against KFOR peacekeepers in May 2023, which resulted in the wounding of 93 KFOR personnel, some of whom suffered life-changing injuries. NATO has always maintained that the facts must be established and the perpetrators must face justice. In the wake of the violence, NATO has deployed around 1,000 additional peacekeepers and heavier armour to Kosovo. This has been the biggest reinforcement of our contingent in Kosovo in a decade; and it shows that NATO stands ready to preserve peace," the statement continued.

KFOR stated that it continues to execute its mandate—based on the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1244 from 1999—to ensure a safe and secure environment for all people living in Kosovo and freedom of movement, at all times and impartially.

"KFOR is the third security responder, after the Kosovo Police and EULEX, respectively, with whom we work in close coordination," the statement concluded.