Office of the Spokesman
February 19, 2008
Question Taken at February 19, 2008 Daily Press Briefing
Kosovo: Timetable for NATO Engagement
Question: How will NATO’s role in Kosovo be affected by the declaration of independence? Will NATO provide training to prepare the Kosovo government to take over security there? Is there a timetable for potential NATO withdrawal from Kosovo (under Ahtisaari Plan).
Released on February 20, 2008
- NATO will remain in Kosovo as will the U.S. troops in the KFOR Mission.
- KFOR will act with authority to support law and order, and peace and stability, in the country.
- On February 18th, following Kosovo’s declaration of independence, NATO reaffirmed that KFOR shall remain in Kosovo on the basis of UNSCR 1244, as agreed by Foreign Ministers in December 2007, unless the UN Security Council decides otherwise.
- The North Atlantic Council (NAC) also agreed that NATO’s responsibility and capability to ensure a safe and secure environment in Kosovo remain unchanged. KFOR will continue to carry out its mission in an impartial manner and to provide for a safe and secure environment for all of Kosovo's citizens. NATO will continue to cooperate closely with the population of Kosovo, the United Nations, the European Union, and other international actors wherever appropriate.
- The Ahtisaari Plan envisages a NATO-led International Military Presence to provide a safe and secure environment throughout Kosovo, in conjunction with the International Civilian Office and in support of relevant Kosovo institutions until those institutions are capable of assuming their full security responsibilities.
- As we have stated, no time limit has been established for how long NATO would stay. For its part, the United States has reassured all the allies and the Kosovo Government that we intend to keep our troops there as long as the mission is there.