Wednesday

18th Sep 2019

Opinion

Why it's time for the Kosovo Security Force

  • Behgjet Pacolli: 'Our ambition is to create a truly inclusive army that will strengthen Kosovo and be a stepping stone to overcome regional fragmentation' (Photo: Twitter)

Like any sovereign, independent country, Kosovo requires an army to protect its territorial integrity and the citizens of all its communities.

That is why we are beginning the process of transforming the mandate of the Kosovo Security Force (KSF).

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

This will consist of the disciplined and transparent transition of the KSF into a professional, multi-ethnic, Nato-interoperable army.

The present KSF is a lightly armed, 2,500-strong force trained by Nato and tasked with crisis response, civil protection and ordinance disposal.

The draft laws, voted on in our parliament last week, envisage an army of 5,000 active soldiers and 3,000 reservists. In sum, this constitutes a logical and natural conclusion of Kosovo's security-apparatus development.

It is a necessary step for Kosovo to take, both as a self-sufficient nation state, and as a member of the international community.

The transformation of the KSF symbolises Kosovo's status as an independent country, a status that 116 United Nations member states have confirmed, together with 82 percent of EU member states and 86 percent of Nato member states.

Why now?

Why are we pressing ahead with this now? The better question is, why not now?

There is no time like the present when it comes to protecting your people.

Needless to say, the most important issue on our foreign policy agenda concerns our ongoing dialogue with Serbia.

However, Kosovo's development, the security of its people, and the stability of the wider region, cannot be held hostage by this issue.

Presently, our project is supported by several key Nato members including the United States.

But it is important to make the case to the wider international community, because there are still misconceptions about the intent of our project.

The overarching logic is that an established and transformed KSF will be a factor of domestic reassurance for Kosovo and of stability in an unstable region.

Moreover, the status quo of our national security arrangement is not sustainable, and KSF's role will be crucial in order to protect all the Kosovar people with increased professionalism and a rigorously even-handed military mind-set.

Most importantly, our ambition is to create a truly inclusive army, irrespective of ethnicity, that will peacefully strengthen Kosovar identity and nationhood and be a stepping stone to overcome regional fragmentation.

The transition of the KSF will include and represent all living in Kosovo.

The KSF will of course be crucial to uphold Kosovo's sovereignty, in full coordination with the defence capabilities of its neighbours.

This will enable Kosovo to contribute to regional and international security, both in the short and long term, through participation in multilateral peace-keeping operations and in enhanced collective security arrangements.

It is part of Kosovo's strategic goal to soon become a Nato member like its neighbours Albania, Montenegro and Macedonia.

As part of our commitments as an equal and full member of the international community, we want to be a country that is not only a security-consumer, but a trusted security-provider.

As such it is also an important and necessary step for our allies.

By enhancing current KSF capabilities and experience, through personnel training and equipment modernisation, we are seeking to foster Kosovo's security cooperation with its neighbours, the EU and the US in tackling international security challenges.

Next year, we will be commemorating twenty years since the launch of the Nato air strikes, on March 24th June 1999, which ended the ethnic-cleansing of the Kosovo Albanians by the Serbian regime of Slobodan Milosevic.

We will forever be grateful to the Nato-led Kosovo Force that has brought our young country stability and security, and trained our emerging security forces, for the past two decades.

But as the saying goes, one repays a teacher badly if one always remains nothing but a pupil.

Kosovo owes it to both its own people and the international community to take this step.

I am calling all Nato members to follow the example of the United States in supporting us.

Behgjet Pacolli is the first deputy prime minister and minister of foreign affairs of the Republic of Kosovo

Disclaimer

The views expressed in this opinion piece are the author's, not those of EUobserver.

20 years on: Kosovo is still waiting

Kosovo's foreign minister reflects on two decades since his country was saved by Nato, in the first "war for values", and the task ahead to achieve lasting peace with Serbia, and with it, EU membership.

How EU trains discriminate against the disabled

EU law requires us to give two days' notice to get the assistance we need, even for our daily commutes. We can't travel like everyone else. It is frustrating, annoying and time-consuming. In short, it is unacceptable.

Defending the defenders: ombudsmen need support

Ombudsmen are often coming under attack or facing different kinds of challenges. These can include threats, legal action, reprisals, budget cuts or a limitation of their mandate.

Column

The benefits of being unpopular

Paradoxically, the lack of popularity may be part of the strength of the European project. Citizens may not be super-enthusiastic about the EU, but when emotions run too high in politics, hotheads may take over.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNew programme studies infectious diseases and antibiotic resistance
  2. UNESDAUNESDA reduces added sugars 11.9% between 2015-2017
  3. International Partnership for Human RightsEU-Uzbekistan Human Rights Dialogue: EU to raise key fundamental rights issues
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNo evidence that social media are harmful to young people
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersCanada to host the joint Nordic cultural initiative 2021
  6. Vote for the EU Sutainable Energy AwardsCast your vote for your favourite EUSEW Award finalist. You choose the winner of 2019 Citizen’s Award.
  7. Nordic Council of MinistersEducation gets refugees into work
  8. Counter BalanceSign the petition to help reform the EU’s Bank
  9. UNICEFChild rights organisations encourage candidates for EU elections to become Child Rights Champions
  10. UNESDAUNESDA Outlines 2019-2024 Aspirations: Sustainability, Responsibility, Competitiveness
  11. Counter BalanceRecord citizens’ input to EU bank’s consultation calls on EIB to abandon fossil fuels
  12. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual EU-Turkmenistan Human Rights Dialogue takes place in Ashgabat

Latest News

  1. How EU trains discriminate against the disabled
  2. These are the crunch issues for 2019-2024 EU commission
  3. Defending the 'European way of life' name splits MEPs
  4. Hungary claims EU 'witch-hunt' over rule of law hearing
  5. Trumpworld In Europe
  6. How EU firms and banks help fund Amazon fires
  7. Amazon fires mean EP must rethink Mercosur trade deal
  8. EU must give full support to Ukraine to dissuade Kremlin

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNew campaign: spot, capture and share Traces of North
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersLeading Nordic candidates go head-to-head in EU election debate
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Secretary General: Nordic co-operation must benefit everybody
  4. Platform for Peace and JusticeMEP Kati Piri: “Our red line on Turkey has been crossed”
  5. UNICEF2018 deadliest year yet for children in Syria as war enters 9th year
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic commitment to driving global gender equality
  7. International Partnership for Human RightsMeet your defender: Rasul Jafarov leading human rights defender from Azerbaijan
  8. UNICEFUNICEF Hosts MEPs in Jordan Ahead of Brussels Conference on the Future of Syria
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic talks on parental leave at the UN
  10. International Partnership for Human RightsTrial of Chechen prisoner of conscience and human rights activist Oyub Titiev continues.
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic food policy inspires India to be a sustainable superpower
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersMilestone for Nordic-Baltic e-ID

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us