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news 01 Apr 15

Kosovo Army Will Need NATO Approval to Act in North

Prime Minister Isa Mustafa said Kosovo's future regular army would need to consult with NATO first about any actions in the Serb-majority north.

Una Hajdari

Prime Minister Mustafa said on Wednesday that NATO would not stand in the way of Kosovo forming its own army, but NATO's approval would be needed before it could undertake any action in the mainly Serbian far north of the country.

“We have agreed with NATO that we cannot go into the north of the country without their approval,” Mustafa said, adding that this was in line with a previous agreement with NATO on the north of Kosovo.

“We have agreed not to venture into the north, and, if need be, that our actions in the north would be coordinated with NATO,” continued Mustafa.

At his last meeting with NATO representatives in Brussels, Mustafa said it was agreed that NATO would not prevent the formation of regular armed forces, and the next step was ratification of a law in parliament and adoption of constitutional amendments.

“All the preparations have been made for the formation of the armed forces, including the Law on the Armed Forces and the constitutional amendments that need to be made,” he said.

For the law to be ratified in parliament, a so-called “double majority” much be achieved, however, which means two-thirds of all parliamentarians plus two-thirds of minority MPs in parliament, including the 10 Serbian MPs.

“We will continue negotiations with the Srpska List, so that we can ensure that we have the 80 votes in parliament needed to approve the constitutional amendments,” Mustafa said, referring to the Belgrade-backed Serbian party.

Since Kosovo declared independence in 2008, it has not formed its own army. The current constitution allows only a lightly-armed "Security Force" whose capacities are limited.

The planned creation of a small regular army has provoked heated debate in the Serbian community, where some view an Albanian-majority military force with dismay.

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