Kosovo creates army, Serbia threatens military action

Serbia has threatened military action against its neighbour Kosovo after the latter’s parliament approved the expansion of its security force into a national army, The Independent reports.

Kosovo creates army Serbia threatens military action
Kosovo Security Force, to be expanded into a national army (Picture source: Balkaneu.com)

On 14 December 2018, Kosovar MPs voted to expand the existing Kosovo Security Force into a 5,000-troop army, plus 3,000 reservists. Serbia called the move a “direct threat to peace and stability” in the Balkans and lashed out at the United States for supporting the proposal.

Kosovo unilaterally declared independence in 2008, but Serbia does not recognise its former province as an independent state. Furthermore, Belgrade insists the new army would violate a UN resolution that brought to an end its bloody crackdown on ethnic Albanian separatists in 1999. Serbian prime minister Ana Brnabic said armed intervention was “one of the options on the table”.

All 107 MPs present in the 120-seat Kosovar parliament in Pristina voted in favor of passing three draft laws to expand the existing security force, created in 2008 mainly for territorial defense, search and rescue, explosive ordnance and hazardous material disposal, and firefighting. According to guidance laid out in the Ahtisaari Plan, the security force is permitted to carry light weapons and the Government of Kosovo and the international community planned to bring the force in line with NATO standards. The admission and the training of personnel began in early June, when NATO experts arrived in Kosovo to guide the process, and from early December 2008, enlisting of candidates between 18–30 years old began.