European Western Balkans

KFOR Commander Ristuccia in Brussels: Tensions between Kosovo and Serbia remain high

Commander of KFOR Angelo Michele Ristuccia; Photo: Facebook / KFOR

BRUSSELS – The commander of the NATO-led mission in Kosovo (KFOR), Angelo Michele Ristuccia, says that the situation in Kosovo remains “highly volatile” even though the security situation has calmed since a major outburst of violence in May.

“The situation is calm after the events of 29 May. However, in a way, it is still very unstable. We notice tensions due to several unresolved issues”, Ristuccia told reporters in Brussels, Voice of Amerika reported.

According to the KFOR Commander, the most worrying thing is the mistrust between the two parties. He assessed that tensions between the two sides remained high due to political differences.

“If we have to deliver a diagnosis of what is happening, I would say the most concerning sickness is mistrust – mistrust between parties. It means there is not a military solution. The only solution is a political one”, Ristuccia said.

The commander of KFOR paid a visit to Brussels where he met with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg.

According to the communiqué, during the meeting with Stoltenberg, Ristuccia underlined the fragile security situation and the importance of focusing collective efforts on overcoming the way of crisis management.

According to the communiqué, Ristuccia underlined the fragile security situation and the importance of focusing collective efforts on overcoming the way of crisis management.

“It was hard work, on a daily basis, to ensure that KFOR would continue to implement its UN mandate impartially and in complementarity with the efforts made by the International Community. Many efforts were made and many challenges were encountered due to the complex situation”, Ristuccia said.

The communiqué states that he reiterated KFOR’s steadfast commitment to continue “its role in creating the necessary security conditions for the EU-facilitated dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina to move forward; as well as the need for both sides to fully de-escalate the situation and re-engage in the EU-facilitated dialogue in a constructive and good faith manner”.

KFOR recalled that under the command of Major General Ristuccia, more than 11000 patrols have been conducted, along with 3400 hours of aerial operations, 500 drone missions, over 50 projects, and 200 civil-military cooperation activities, as well as 170 safe disposal activities for explosive ordnance.

The KFOR commander also met in Brussels with NATO’s Assistant Secretary-General for Operations, Thomas Goffus, and with the EU’s special representative for the Kosovo-Serbia dialogue, Miroslav Lajčak.

Lajčak wrote on X (formerly Twitter) that he had a discussion with the KFOR Commander about a potential source of future tensions.

“Important to exchange notes on developments on the ground and share our assessments on potential sources of future tensions. Grateful for KFOR’s vital work in building a secure environment in Kosovo”, Lajčak wrote.

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