SERBIA KOSOVO – NATO urges Serbia, Kosovo to reduce tensions

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NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg on Wednesday urged Serbia and Kosovo to reduce bilateral tensions and not to engage in an escalation of violence after Kosovo blocked border passes between the two countries in late July, adding that the NATO peacekeeping operation in the tiny Balkan country (KFOR) is ready to act in the matter, if necessary.

Stoltenberg on Wednesday held separate meetings with Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic and Kosovo Prime Minister Albin Kurti on the first of two days during which the leaders are in Brussels to seek a solution to recent tensions, which have been exacerbated by Kosovo’s announcement that it will prohibit the use of Serbian identity documents and license plates in its territory.

“While the situation on the ground has improved, it is the responsibility of all parties – particularly officials from Belgrade and Pristina – to prevent escalation again,” warned Stoltenberg after Vucic accused his Kosovo counterpart of preparing to massacre Serbs living in northern Kosovo and Kurti raised the possibility that Serbia might declare war on his country.