Washington Urges Serbia, Kosovo to Lower Tensions - US Diplomat

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Serb March in support of Serbia's territorial integrity - Sputnik International
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WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - The United States is urging Serbia and Kosovo to decrease tensions and create conditions for dialogue, US Mission to the United Nations Political Coordinator Rodney Hunter told the UN Security Council.

"We encourage both Kosovo and Serbia to take immediate steps to lower tensions and create conditions to progress on the normalization dialogue," Hunter said on Monday.

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Hunter emphasized that creating such dialogue should be a priority for both sides in order to achieve a comprehensive normalization agreement.

"We urge both parties to remove any barriers and do not take provocative actions that prevent returning to the negotiate table and reaching comprehensive normalization agreement," Hunter said.

On December 13, the Kosovo parliament voted in favor of expanding the existing Kosovo Security Force into a 5,000-strong army. Serbia has criticized the move as being in violation of UN Security Council resolution 1244.

READ MORE: Kosovo’s Future Army to Be NATO Ally — Leader Thaci

The UN Security Council held the meeting on Monday at Serbia's request.

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On December 15, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres expressed concern over Kosovo's decision to form an army, urging all parties concerned to exercise restraint. The decision was also criticized by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg who said such actions were "ill-timed."

Albanians in Serbia’s province of Kosovo and Metohia proclaimed independence in 2008 — a move that has been encouraged by the United States and its allies and recognized by more than hundred UN member states. The move has not been recognized by Serbia and two permanent members of the UN Security Council — Russia and China.

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