Our values – freedom, democracy, and the rule of law – are under attack, both within and outside the Western Balkans. The most obvious demonstration of this is President Putin’s aggression against Ukraine. We don’t know when the war will end, but we do know that after it, the security landscape in Europe will no longer be the same, said NATO Deputy Secretary-General Mircea Geoană in a video address at the 2BS Forum.
Montenegro is a highly valued ally and of essential importance for stability in the Western Balkans, Geoană emphasized.
You contribute to our collective defense through NATO missions, including KFOR in Kosovo, NATO’s mission in Iraq, the Canadian-led battle group in Latvia, and the Italian-led battle group in Bulgaria, said Mircea, Geoană, Deputy Secretary-General of NATO.
Geoană stated that NATO is there for all its members, including the Western Balkans and therefore Montenegro.
The NATO official mentioned that the region has had a challenging year, especially in Kosovo, where tensions continue.
In May, 93 KFOR soldiers were injured, some seriously, during protests in northern Kosovo. This is completely unacceptable. Furthermore, last month, there was an attack on a Kosovo police patrol, resulting in one officer’s death and injuries to two others. Subsequent clashes at a monastery led to the deaths of several attackers. This violence must stop, said Geoană.
He reminded that, in response to increased tensions, NATO has deployed hundreds of additional troops to Kosovo.
Just last week, the United Kingdom deployed an additional 600 troops, and we are ready to make further adjustments to KFOR’s attitude as needed. KFOR continues to closely monitor the situation, and we are prepared to respond. Neutrality and impartiality are key to the success of our mission. Our commander in Kosovo is in close contact with all key interlocutors, including Kosovo security organizations and the Chief of Serbian Defense, emphasized the NATO official.
He reiterated that NATO will take all necessary actions to fulfill its mission under UN Security Council Resolution 1244: maintaining a secure environment and freedom of movement for all communities in Kosovo.
NATO strongly supports the dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina under the EU’s mediation. Unresolved issues can only be solved through a political agreement. This requires good faith, patience, persistence, and yes, compromise. It’s time for de-escalation,” reiterated Geoană.
At the same time, Geoană stated that separatist rhetoric and actions in Bosnia and Herzegovina are causing serious concern.
NATO strongly supports the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Bosnia and Herzegovina and their Euro-Atlantic reform efforts. Just as we support the European and Euro-Atlantic integration of the entire Western Balkans, Geoană emphasized.
He concluded by acknowledging that these are challenging times.
Our values – freedom, democracy, and the rule of law – are under attack, both within and outside the Western Balkans. The most obvious demonstration of this is President Putin’s aggression against Ukraine. Russia’s brutal invasion has shattered decades of peace in Europe and compelled NATO’s allies and partners to thoroughly reassess and strengthen our security and defense policies. NATO is not a party to this conflict, but we unwaveringly support Ukraine and its right to self-defense, freedom, and the choice of its path, concluded Geoană.
According to him, the policy of open doors has been good for the Western Balkans.
With Montenegro and North Macedonia now allies, most countries in the region are NATO members, making the entire region safer. This is a genuine strategic awakening in Europe. I don’t know when or how the war will end. But I do know this: our relationship with Moscow has fundamentally changed. Even after the fighting stops, the security landscape in Europe will never be the same, concluded the NATO official.