Statement from U.S. Embassy Pristina, December 14, 2018
The United States reaffirms its support for the gradual transition of the Kosovo Security Force (KSF) to a force with a territorial defense mandate, as is Kosovo’s sovereign right. The vote in the Assembly today is the first step in developing this capability. These laws bring no immediate change to the structure, mission, or operations of the force, rather, they represent the beginning of the practical, ongoing work of building a transparent, multi-ethnic, NATO-interoperable force that serves all of Kosovo’s communities, in accordance with the Government of Kosovo’s 10-year transition plan.
We call on the Government of Kosovo to continue its close coordination with NATO allies and partners and to engage in outreach to minority communities now and throughout the years-long process ahead. We expect existing arrangements with KFOR concerning movements and operations of forces in Kosovo will continue. All stakeholders within and outside Kosovo should support and encourage citizens of Kosovo’s minority communities to participate in its security forces, for the benefit of their own communities and of the country. The United States is committed to working with the KSF to promote its professional development and organizational evolution, which will contribute to peace and stability in Kosovo and the region.
Regional stability requires that Kosovo make genuine efforts to normalize relations with its neighbor Serbia, and we encourage both sides to take immediate steps to lower tensions and create conditions for rapid progress on the Dialogue. The goal: to achieve a mutually beneficial agreement that will enhance peace, stability, and prosperity in Kosovo and the region, also represents the highest priority of the United States in Kosovo. We call on all stakeholders to refocus their energies and engage seriously and constructively in achieving this goal.