The presence of peacekeepers in NATO’s Kosovo Force (KFOR) has been increased in northern Kosovo with the view to be able to react to security challenges, a NATO spokesperson told Reuters on Thursday
KFOR peacekeepers were seen on roads close to the Jarinje border crossing to neighbouring Serbia and close to North Mitrovica.
The area’s population is dominated by Serbs backed by Belgrade, who do not recognise the government and institutions in Pristina – the Kosovar capital.
NATO is ready to increase KFOR, if there is an escalation of tensions with Serbia, the Alliance’s Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said on Wednesday. The KFOR numbers 3,700 peacekeepers.
On Thursday, Kosovar Prime Minister Albin Kurti and Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic met in Brussels for an EU-mediated dialogue to normalise their relations – an indispensable element for both countries to join the EU.
At the turn of July and August, Kosovo and Serbs experienced a summer of boiling tensions over Pristina’s law that would oblige Serbs living in the north to start using car licence plates issued by Kosovo. On August 1, however, the Kosovar government postponed the regulation.
Ever since Kosovo won its independence from Serbia in 2008, almost a decade after a guerrilla revolt against repressive Belgrade rule, the Kosovar-Serbian relations have been a bottled feud.
Considering Kosovo an integral part of its territory, Serbia has blocked the country from joining various international institutions.