Italian troops to remain in Kosovo to guarantee stability
The attack by Serb demonstrators on Italian army units was described as ‘unacceptable’ by Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani, who announced that both Italian and NATO troops would remain in Kosovo to facilitate a peace agreement.
Some fourteen Italian soldiers were wounded during the clashes between NATO troops and Serb demonstrators during a protest in front of the municipality of Zvecan, in the north of Kosovo, against the new ethnic Albanian mayor.
The health conditions of the injured soldiers are improving. Two will return to Italy in the coming days while the others are hospitalised in the infirmary of the Italian contingent in Pristina.
“NATO and our military will remain to guarantee stability and to prevent the situation from deteriorating”, said Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Antonio Tajani (Forza Italia/EPP), adding that on the Italian side, there is a “political strategy” to favour an agreement between the parties and that the issue will be on the agenda at the NATO summit underway in Oslo.
The minister assured that Italy is strongly committed to re-establishing peace and stability in the area of the clash and disclosed that the Italian ambassador in Belgrade took part in a meeting with Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić, who is “unconditionally” supported by Russia, as reported by Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov.
“At the moment, there is no responsibility on the part of Serbia. I asked the Kosovar PM to suspend the installation of mayors representing the Albanian-speaking population in that part of Kosovo precisely to avoid tensions”, Tajani explained.
“We need great prudence and great moderation. These are two candidate countries to join the EU. We must ensure that the path is a positive one”, he added, stressing that tensions risk scuppering Kosovo’s participation in the EU.
Since he took office, Tajani has been working for the integration of the Balkans into the EU and a “relaunch of Italian action” in the region, so he called on the parties involved to curb unilateral initiatives that could cause “incidents”.
(Federica Pascale | EURACTIV.it)