WASHINGTON – The United States is monitoring a troubling Serbian military deployment along the border of Kosovo that is destabilizing the area, the White House stated on Friday and called for the forces to be withdrawn.
White House national security spokesperson John Kirby told the media that Kosovo’s peacekeeping force is going to be increasing its presence of NATO forces in northern Kosovo as a result of the tensions.
Kirby called “a large Serbian military deployment along the Kosovo border” a destabilizing development and called on Serbia to withdraw those forces and contribute to lowering tensions.
He added that the attack in Banjska was not a random one and that the number of types of arms that were found represented a threat not only to Kosovo personnel but international personnel, including KFOR troops.
“Everyone involved in this attack needs to be brought to justice”, said Kirby and called on Serbian authorities to assist in the investigation into what happened.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke on Friday with Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić. According to the statement, Blinken and Vučić discussed the importance of taking immediate measures to de-escalate tensions with Kosovo in the wake of the 24 September violence.
Blinken underscored that those responsible for the attacks who are now in Serbia must be held accountable.
Blinken voiced his support for the actions of KFOR and EULEX in responding to this event, noting that incidents like those near the Banjska Monastery present unacceptable challenges to KFOR and the international community, and welcomed KFOR’s increased presence and the North Atlantic Council’s decision to authorize additional forces.
The Secretary reiterated Serbia must accompany immediate de-escalation with full implementation of its commitments under the normalization agreement within the EU-facilitated Dialogue.