Kosovo: Belgrade concerned by U.S. OK to army Pristina

Criticism and statements new defence secretary Mattis

31 January, 10:06

    Kosovo: Belgrade concerned by U.S. OK to army Pristina Kosovo: Belgrade concerned by U.S. OK to army Pristina

     - BELGRADE - Serbian leaders have defined as ''worrying'' the statements of new US Defence Secretary James Mattis in favour of the creation of regular armed forces in Kosovo. ''This means perhaps that the administration of Donald Trump wants to forego the current position of the US of not exercising pressure and to ask Serbia to recognize Kosovo? If things were to go in this direction, it would certainly be a negative trend'', said Milovan Drecun, head of the commission for Kosovo at the Serbian parliament.

    According to media reports in Belgrade, Mattis, during an audition to Congress in the past few days to confirm his appointment, said that before the reduction of US troops in Kosovo, Kosovan forces need to have a precise mandate for the country's defence. In his opinion, armed forces are crucial to guarantee stability in the region and it would be sensible to cut down the American military presence only after the current security forces of Kosovo obtain a precise mandate to defend the national territory. The US maintain some 650 men in KFOR, NATO's force in Kosovo. Serbia, which does not recognize Kosovo's independence, strenuously opposes the creation of regular Kosovan armed forces. 

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