NATO says ready to intervene in Kosovo if ‘stability is at risk’

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NATO forces are ready to intervene in northern Kosovo if stability in the region is threatened.

NATO said in a statement on Sunday that tensions are mounting in Kosovo’s northern municipalities and that Kosovo Force Pristina (KFOR) is closely monitoring the situation.

KFOR, the NATO-led peacekeeping force, was established in 1999 with the adoption of UN Security Council Resolution 1244, which was a response to the worsening humanitarian crisis.

Tensions are rising again over a new government ordinance that will force people entering Kosovo with Serbian ID cards to replace them with a temporary document during their stay there.

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On Sunday, ethnic Serbs in northern Kosovo — a partially recognized state bordered by Serbia in the Balkans — blocked two key border crossings with Serbia to protest the new rule.

NATO said KFOR is closely monitoring the situation “and is ready to intervene if stability is threatened”.

“KFOR maintains a visible and agile stance on the ground, and the KFOR commander is in contact with all his key interlocutors, including representatives of Kosovar security organizations and the Serb of Defense,” NATO said in a statement.

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The new regulation was set to come into effect on August 1, but Kosovo announced later Sunday that it would postpone the decision on license plates and Serbia-issued IDs until September 1.