Stoltenberg in Pristina: NATO expects those responsible for Banjska to be held to account

NEWS 20.11.202319:52
Tanjug/AP Photo/Armin Durgut

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said in Pristina that the Alliance expects those responsible for the September 24 violence in the village of Banjska, northern Kosovo, to be held to account.

He said it was important that those responsible for this violence bear the consequences so that this kind of violence does not happen again.

Stoltenberg told a joint press conference with Kosovo President Vjosa Osmani that NATO strongly supports the Belgrade-Pristina dialogue facilitated by the European Union, that all sides should choose diplomacy over violence, and he welcomed the latest proposals for the establishment of the association of Serb-majority municipalities in Kosovo.

“This would be a key step toward normalization of the relationship, and toward lasting peace and prosperity in the region,” said Stoltenberg.

My visit is of importance for the security of Kosovo and the region following the events in Banjska and the violence in May, when KFOR members were attacked, said Stoltenberg, noting that NATO has significantly increased its presence in Kosovo.

The Alliance will do all that is necessary to maintain a safe and secure environment and freedom of movement for all people in Kosovo, said the NATO Secretary General, adding that NATO is not a law-enforcing institution, and that this is a job for the Kosovo Police and EULEX.

Osmani: Serbia a constant threat to peace

Kosovo President Vjosa Osmani told a joint media conference with NATO Secretary General Stoltenberg on Monday that the entire region will suffer consequences if Serbia is not in any way punished for the September 24 violence in the village of Banjska.

“Serbia remains a constant threat to peace and stability in the entire region,” said Vjosa Osmani and added that NATO could call on Belgrade to withdraw its troops deployed along the border with Kosovo.

She said membership in NATO is a strategic, existential and primary goal of the Kosovo Government.