Miroslav Antić


NATO Stuck in Kosovo

leave a comment »

NATO Stuck in Kosovo

By Laurence Norman

Fourteen years after North Atlantic Treaty Organization troops first entered Kosovo to end fighting between ethnic Serbs and ethnic Albanians, there is still no “Mission Accomplished” sign in sight. The volatile situation in the Serb-dominated north of Kosovo, the failure of the European Union’s police force to win broad support from the population, and the limitations of Kosovo’s own under-staffed and poorly resourced institutions mean NATO’s KFOR security mission still counts 5,565 troops, including 700 held in reserve.

NATO has been hoping to halve its presence for a couple of years now. But weeks of ethnic clashes in the summer of 2011 in Kosovo’s north delayed that move. Last year, ethnic violence diminished but significant force reductions by the EU police force, EULEX, and concerns about the election of nationalist-leaning Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic in May dissuaded NATO from further rocking the boat. Not even the resumption of EU-brokered top-level talks last fall between Serbia and Kosovar leaders have stymied security worries.

In a briefing Monday, the outgoing head of the EULEX mission, France’s Xavier Bout de Marnhac said he hopes NATO won’t press ahead with troop cuts any time soon. “This is not necessarily the best period of time” for KFOR to reduce numbers, said Mr. Bout De Marnhac, whose two-year stint in the job ends next month when he’ll be succeeded by German diplomat Bernd Borchardt. “I think it’s a little bit too early.”

NATO has talked about “rebalancing” the mission – focusing efforts more on the troubled north, where the Serbian minority set up roadblocks and barricades in summer 2011 in an effort to impede movements by authorities from Pristina and NATO.

A decision is expected at February’s NATO ministerial meeting. But one official said the issue of troop numbers is not expected to be on the agenda. Oana Lungescu, a spokeswoman for NATO, said the organization keeps the size of the KFOR mission “constantly under review” and is in close contact with EULEX officials in Brussels and Kosovo. But right now, she said, “there isn’t a decision. Any decision will have to be taken on the basis of the advise from the NATO military authorities, which will obviously be based on the information on the ground. We have seen a more stable situation. But it’s obviously still volatile especially in the north.”

Privately some NATO officials complain that part of the problem is EULEX itself – or at least the member states that fund the 2,097-strong EU rule-of-law mission. There was disquiet when the 25% cut in EULEX staff went ahead last year. Others say EULEX – or the governments that stand behind it — lack the “political will” to tackle some of the corruption, organized crime and trafficking problems that have plagued Kosovo, especially in the north.

That’s a view echoed elsewhere. Last October, German Defense Minister Thomas de Maizière called for a complete overhaul of EULEX’s staffing and mandate saying he was “not satisfied” with their work. Germany is KFOR’s largest contributor providing almost a quarter of its troops. Meanwhile, a report by the EU’s independent Court of Auditors said that large-scale EU spending on EULEX had produced only limited progress in the fight against crime and corruption – and almost none in securing the rule of law in Kosovo’s north.

Kosovo, which declared independence in 2008, is the largest recipient of EU assistance in the world on a per-capita basis. At Monday’s briefing Mr. Bout de Marnhac acknowledged more work was needed to meet EULEX’s goals. But he said he leaves the job “rather confident that I gave him a mission that is in better shape than it was two years ago.”



Written by Mika

14. januara 2013. u 18:06

Objavljeno u Uncategorized

Ostavite odgovor

Popunite detalje ispod ili pritisnite na ikonicu da biste se prijavili:

WordPress.com logo

Komentarišet koristeći svoj WordPress.com nalog. Odjavite se /  Promeni )

Google+ photo

Komentarišet koristeći svoj Google+ nalog. Odjavite se /  Promeni )

Slika na Tviteru

Komentarišet koristeći svoj Twitter nalog. Odjavite se /  Promeni )

Fejsbukova fotografija

Komentarišet koristeći svoj Facebook nalog. Odjavite se /  Promeni )


Povezivanje sa %s

%d bloggers like this: