The KoSSev news portal said on Friday (02.04) that it was told by NATO sources that the decision to build a base for the Kosovo Security Forces (KSF) was taken by the authorities in Pristina.
“The decision to set up a KSF base has been taken by the Kosovan authorities. We will refer you to them for any comment”, an unnamed NATO spokesman said in a written statement to KoSSev when asked whether they are aware, agree with, or whether they have participated in the decision to build the largest KSF base in Kosovo in South Mitrovica.
Any deployment in the northern part of Kosovo requires the authorization of the Commander of KFOR, the NATO statement said. “The KSF needs to be authorized by the Commander of KFOR only prior to any deployment in the northern part of Kosovo, in accordance with an earlier agreement with institutions in Kosovo that NATO expects to continue being applied.”
NATO cooperates with the KSF under its original mandate through its NATO Liaison and Advisory Team, KoSSev said.
“So far, the KSF under its original mandate has demonstrated to be able to conduct crisis response operations and civil protection operations and to assist the civil authorities in responding to natural disasters and other emergencies in favor of all the citizens in Kosovo”, the unnamed NATO official wrote, adding that the Alliance is “re-examining the level of engagement with the KSF” but remains fully committed to security in Kosovo and regional stability and supports the Belgrade-Pristina dialogue “as the only lasting political solution for Kosovo and the region.”
The local authorities in predominantly Albanian-populated Mitrovica South said that 191 hectares of land have been set aside for a KSF base. The announcement met with fierce criticism from the Serbian authorities and Kosovo Serb List who called it a threat to Kosovo Serbs.