European Western Balkans

NATO Secretary General Annual report: KFOR remains crucial for stability of the region

Jens Stoltenberg; Photo: NATO

BRUSSELS – NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg launched his annual report for 2023 on Thursday, which covers all aspects of the Alliance’s work over the past year. In the part related to the Western Balkans, it is stated that  NATO’s presence in Kosovo remains crucial for the stability of the Western Balkans region.

„In 2023, the Kosovo Force played a critical role in ensuring stability in Kosovo amid heightened tensions and increased volatility in northern Kosovo. In the aftermath of violence in May and September, Allies deployed about 1,000 reserves to the mission, providing the largest reinforcement in a decade“, the report underlines.

It is added that this allowed the Kosovo Force to triple the number of patrols and quadruple its presence in northern Kosovo. As of 31 December, 27 Allies and partners provided approximately 4,700 troops to the mission, including deployed reserves.

In his annual report, Stoltenberg also mentions NATO’s assistance to security organizations in Kosovo for capacity building, especially in logistics, medical support, procurement, and human resources management.

Also in this report, NATO expresses support for the European Union-mediated dialogue for the normalization of relations between Kosovo and Serbia.

“NATO remains committed to supporting the dialogue facilitated by the European Union between Belgrade and Pristina. Dialogue is the primary platform for reaching a solution that respects the rights of all communities and building sustainable peace, which is in the interest of Kosovo’s security and the stability of the entire Western Balkans region,” the report states.

This comprehensive report mentions NATO’s key activities in the past year, from engagement in assisting Ukraine to counter Russian aggression, increasing presence in the eastern flank to ensure the defense of all member countries’ territories, increasing investments to strengthen the alliance’s military capabilities, to engagement in missions such as KFOR in Kosovo.

NATO regularly presents an annual report on its activities. The report presented on Thursday in Brussels is considered the last one presented by the current Secretary-General Stoltenberg, as it is expected that soon, possibly before the summit in Washington in July, allies will agree on the appointment of Stoltenberg’s successor.

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