Serbian army commander, General Milan Mojsilovic, is urging NATO peacekeepers to increase efforts to protect minority Serbs who are in Kosovo. The call for protection follows the failure of peacekeeping negotiations between the EU, Serbia and Kosovo. Last week, the EU hosted emergency talks on Friday with the aim of defusing tensions around the borders of Serbia and Kosovo following a Kosovo police seizure of a Serb-majority municipality.
The EU hosted two separate discussions with Kosovo and Serbia in Brussels after the two refused to meet face-to-face. The seizure of the local municipality buildings in Northern Kosovo was conducted to install ethnic Albanian mayors who had been elected in a local election that Serbs boycotted. This has cumulated in clashes, and NATO has sent reinforcements. NATO has been installed in Kosovo since 1999 in a peace-support operation known as the Kosovo Force (KFOR). In a statement on June 18th, it acknowledged the severity of the tensions in Northern Kosovo and reiterated its obligations to maintain peace and de-escalation. While the emergency talks failed, it was agreed that an emergency election was needed, and NATO stated that it would continue to act “impartially.”
General Mojsilovic called for increased protections following the failure of discussions and said that the “international community is not fulfilling its obligations” to protect the minority Serbs in Kosovo. He urged KFOR to increase the Serbs’ protections and undertake more urgent measures. Xhelal Svecla, Kosovo’s interior minister, accusedSerbia of using groups and organisations to destabilise the country after a car with Belgrade registration was found containing weapons. He asserted that the Kosovo police would “continue their commitments to the prevention” of such acts which are ‘aimed at threatening the security’ of the country.