Kosovo assures NATO of transparency in army transformation

Kosovo assures NATO of transparency in army transformation
Kosovo prime minister Ramush Haradinaj, speaks to the media during a press conference in Kosovo capital Pristina on Tuesday, Dec. 18, 2018. Haradinaj blamed Europe Union's foreign policy chief for "deviating the dialogue" on normalizing ties with Serbia. Haradinaj said that, while Serbia is taking major steps toward the integration with the bloc, his country's residents have remained "in a ghetto," not enjoying the visa-free travel to EU countries though it has fulfilled all requirements. (AP Photo/Visar Kryeziu)

BRUSSELS (AP) — The head of NATO and Kosovo’s prime minister have had a telephone conversation on Pristina’s recent decision to transform its security forces into an army.

Kosovo’s parliament overwhelmingly approved the army’s formation last week. The move angered neighboring Serbia, which doesn’t recognize its former province’s 2008 declaration of independence.

Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj said he gave NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg assurances during their Wednesday call “on the transparency of the Kosovo Security Forces transformation process.”

Stoltenberg said NATO “will re-examine NATO’s level of engagement” with country’s security forces “in the new year.”

Western powers have supported Kosovo’s “sovereign right” to create a regular army gradually. However, Stoltenberg has called Kosovo’s current move “ill-timed.”

NATO has had a peacekeeping force in Kosovo since Serbia’s 1998-1999 crackdowns on Kosovar separatists.