13:27 GMT +317 October 2019
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    NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.

    NATO Chief Meets Kosovo President, Stresses Commitment to Balkans Security

    © REUTERS / Francois Lenoir
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    NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg held a meeting on Wednesday with Kosovo's President Hashim Thaci and expressed the alliance's commitment to security and stability in the Western Balkans, the NATO press service said.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — According to Stoltenberg, the Kosovo Force (KFOR), which is a NATO-led international peacekeeping force in Kosovo, will continue its mission to preserve secure environment in the republic as long as it is necessary.

    The press service said, citing Stoltenberg, that NATO welcomed the development of political institutions in Kosovo's capital of Pristina, though stressed the importance of further reforms and reconciliation dialogue with Serbia.

    In 1998, an armed conflict broke out between Kosovo Albanian independence supporters and Yugoslavia, as the militias were seeking independence of Kosovo and Metohija. The following year, NATO intervened in the conflict without the UN approval, and started bombing Yugoslavia.

    Since then, Belgrade lost control of Kosovo, as the Serbian government had to agree on the NATO military contingent in Kosovo, and the subsequent transition of the territory under the UN administration.

    In 2008, the Albanian government of Kosovo unilaterally declared independence from Serbia. Since then it has been recognized as a sovereign state by over a hundred UN member countries, including 23 out of 28 states of the European Union.

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    NATO, Hashim Thaci, Jens Stoltenberg, Kosovo
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