"Kosovo army would be threat to Serbia and region"

NOVI SAD -- Defense Minister Bratislav Gašić says the creation of the so-called army of Kosovo would be a threat to Serbia's stability and the stability in the region.

(Tanjug, file)
(Tanjug, file)

According to him, Kosovo and Metohija remains the country's biggest security threat.

"This is why we maintain that international forces in Kosovo should guard peace in the province and protect security of the minority population in keeping with their mandate," Gašić said in an interview for the latest edition of the Novi Sad-based weekly Dnevnik.

KFOR has a special role and responsibilities concerning this security risk, Gašić said and underscored that the Defense Ministry maintains good cooperation with the international forces, all with a view to preserving stability and protecting the Serb community in the province.

"We are actively working on the prevention of all potential dangers, we are cautious and always willing to respond in an adequate manner," Gašić said.

Asked about potential pressures on Serbia to additionally shift its focus to NATO, especially in the context of the crisis in Ukraine, the defense minister said that he "does not see any reason for any kind of pressure."

"In keeping with the foreign policy goals defined by the government, the cooperation with NATO within the Partnership for Peace Program provides ample room and Serbia is intensively utilizing the opportunities with a view to strengthening its defense capacities and contributing to peace in the world," Gašić said.

He stated that the participation of Serbia's representatives in the competition of tank drivers at the Russian Tank Biathlon from August 4 to 7 and potential modernization of the army with the help of Russian equipment will not impact the country's relations with NATO.

Gašić added that military cooperation between regional countries is "good, and we recently intensified it."