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Tailored path for Kosovo in NATO: closing security concerns in Balkans

A practical and tailored Euro-Atlantic initiative for Kosovo would change the momentum. Member Action Plan (MAP) towards NATO would make Kosovo more optimistic for the future and safer actually. Any armed conflict ideas from the past would definitely disappear and political process on relations between Kosovo and Serbia would continue in a comfortable dimension.

by Burim Ramadani

While international military troops led by NATO avoid conflict, an open door for tailored path for Kosovo in NATO would become a contribution towards permanent stability in Balkans. Thus, any armed conflict ideas from the past would definitely disappear, and the political process would continue without security threats and interventions.

Status-quo that followed the situation with the regard of Kosovo-Serbia relations has to take a turning point. The “nerves game” better be ending rather sooner rather later. Taking into consideration of the goal of reaching “mutual recognition” between Kosovo and Serbia, few policies probably should advance into another stage internationally and regionally, intending to move aside security threats and leave the political process continuing in another framework of mindset.

Lacking trust from Kosovo side about Serbia do not necessary pose an obstruction to the process. The evidences from at least last three decades show the motivation. While Kosovo is struggling for more consolidation of democracy, Serbia is ruled by the team of Slobodan Milosevic associates, who never took the courage to apologize about atrocities in Kosovo.

Kosovo was under UN administration for almost 10 years – its declaration of independence of 2008 was found not in violation of International Law by IJC in 2010. Since then, Kosovo has been a serious state actor in international and regional relations, complying with its obligations as a country. Kosovo established its security sector fully in line with Euro-Atlantic model, standards and procedures; participated actively at the Anti-Terror Global Coalition; aligned its foreign policy with Euro-Atlantic organizations; adopted the UN Conventions on civil rights; sheltered refugees from Afghanistan and accommodated a number of Ukrainian journalists; posed sanctions to Russia, its oligarchs and other malign influencing individuals.

In another hand, leadership of Serbia remained theoretically playing with two hats, but practically serving as a Russian proxy. In last month, it even did not try to hide the fact that head of Serbian main Intelligent Service visited Moscow. Russian-Serbian Center in Serbia is still functioning since 2012, although the western countries have even labelled it as a Russian Espionage Center of illicit activities. Serbia rejected to impose sanctions to Russia, refusing to align its foreign policy with EU, although it is an EU membership candidate,

Facing with aggressive policies of Serbia’s interference, Kosovo made an important step towards peace and stability in Western Balkans in February and March 2023. Obviously, it took huge efforts by Western allies to convince the current Kosovo leadership to advance on it. However, no everyone in Kosovo was happy with the Agreement of 2023 with Serbia.

Although not listing the actions that led to these security deep threats, the current situation in northern municipalities puts at stage the eventual Peace-Enforcement dimension of the NATO KFOR mandate.

In that case, the strategic investment in Kosovo would be seen partially failed and Russian proxy, Serbia, would continue to advance the threating policies towards neighboring nations.

Therefore, a practical and tailored Euro-Atlantic initiative for Kosovo would change the momentum.

Kosovan political elite would revise any tactical approach that could have affected the diplomatic confrontation between Kosovo and its allies, if not by the Government. A roadmap how Kosovo would be joining NATO would make Kosovo more optimistic for the future and safer actually.

Since June 1999, around 30 nations contributed to i) protection of Kosovo, ii) safe and secure environment, and iii) democratization of newly established institutions of Kosovo. NATO Advisory and Liaison Team (NALT) sitting at the Kosovar Ministry of Defense still operates, among others, within the scope the enhanced interaction with Kosovo that was approved by the North Atlantic Council in December 2016. Opening a new stage of NATO-Kosovo relations would be the most productive for Western Balkans peace and security.

In this regard, also based on NATO’s open-door policy, an invitation for Kosovo to participate in Membership Action Plan (MAP) would be an adequate milestone. Clearly, the path cannot be as short as we would desire, but the entire climate in the region would be moving towards a better security environment. It could be a path for stabilizing the region, while closing the door to Russian influencing of the strategic decision making of Serbia, which remains the only NATO non-supporting country in the region.

Being a tailored path partner and aspirant for membership, Kosovo could participate in NATO’s military operations, while benefiting from NATO’s expertise in areas such as building defense capacity, and defense training and education. The niche capabilities of Kosovo’s military – Kosovo Security Force – have been recognized as fully operational since the North Atlantic Council declaration in July 2013.

The Political Dialogue Kosovo-NATO could precisely tailored due to the fact there are still four non-recognizers within NATO. A process of monitoring the development of Kosovo in defense, political, legal, economics, and human rights would begin by NATO perspective. Same time, Kosovo’s political elite would be hold accountable for solving the necessary issues within the democratization of the country in order to serve to national objective of joining NATO.


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