NATO in Kosovo: No plans settled
It's not the first time NATO troops have used force against local Serbs. But originally the peacekeepers moved in to calm the area. According to Tanasic, at the moment NATO forces have been acting somewhat erratically.
“When they initially moved in, they were part of the solution, because the Serbian government authorized their taking control over the administrative crossings in the north, but that kind of intervention lasted only a month and a half. And now this time has expired, and NATO has not shown it has a clear vision of what it wants to do. Most times, like yesterday, they are just policing for the Kosovo government, and that is the kind of behavior that is unacceptable for the Serbs,” he said.
He added there is no doubt that NATO has a legitimate presence in Kosovo. It is not a problem of whether they should be there as they are the only legitimate force which should act in such situations. The problem, as he sees it, is that they are exceeding the limits of their authority.
The Serbian interior minister said that further attacks on local Serbs in Kosovo will be seen as attacks on Belgrade and that “Serbia cannot and will not watch on peacefully”. But according to Tanasic, no one in Belgrade has any intention to making any threats.
“The whole point of what was said was just to draw everyone’s attention on how tense the situation is and how inflammable it is at this point. The whole problem there is that they do not want to sit all night at the barricades,” he explained. “People are really scared. There are threats all the time, there are incidents on the Albanian side, there are people getting shot and there is a great number of people, especially from the Albanian side, who are constantly threatened with the so-called Croatian scenario. There is also the fact that up to two thirds of the Serbian population in Kosovo has already been ethnically cleansed. Belgrade is not making any threats at this point,” he emphasized.
Tanasic also stated that technically and ideally speaking, the problem will be solved if everyone just entered the EU and started living peacefully in a union with no borders.
“The problem is how to get there. The Serbian side is constantly saying ‘All right, we are completely aware that we have to find a solution for the problem at some point in the future, but we do not want to rush it and we will never agree to any kind of solution which is unacceptable for both sides’. That is not something we are facing at the moment. We have Serbia pressurized to find a solution now, although both Serbia and Kosovo are very far from the EU at this point. So it is mostly a sort of a political pressure and not an actual option at this point,” he concluded.