17:11 GMT +314 December 2018
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    A Kosovo Liberation Army (UCK) honor guard stands at attention at the funeral in southwestern Kosovo near Pec and Djakovica for five of 24 Kosovars slain in an ambush in Rogovo last week by Serbian Interior Ministry forces.

    Kosovar Army Not Going to Hamper Relations With NATO - Kosovo PM

    © AFP 2018 / JOEL ROBINE
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    BELGRADE (Sputnik) - The formation of a national army in the self-proclaimed republic of Kosovo will not shadow Pristina’s relations with NATO despite opposition by the alliance’s Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, Kosovar Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj said on Thursday.

    "On the formation of Kosovo’s army, we had intensive conversations with all interested parties. NATO deals with many issues and, naturally, may have doubts. Meanwhile, Kosovo definitely does not create any danger by the transformation of KSF and is not interested in deteriorating relations with NATO, " Haradinaj said in his address to the Kosovar parliament, as quoted by the Kim radio station.

    In October, the parliament in Kosovo voted to change the mandate of the Kosovo Security Force (KSF). Kosovo's national army will be officially established on December 14. Stoltenberg on Wednesday slammed Pristina’s decision as "ill-timed" amid tensions with Belgrade.

    Pristina currently does not have its own army. Belgrade actively opposes its creation, citing UN Security Council Resolution 1244 on settlement in Kosovo and Metohija.

    READ MORE: Solomon Islands Withdraws Recognition of Kosovo — Reports

    The Kosovar army will reportedly comprise of 5,000 active soldiers and 3,000 reservists, and will receive 300 million euros ($340 million) in funding over three years to equip and train its forces. In November, Minister of Kosovo Security Force Rustem Berisha said that national army would have its own artillery, air defense, as well as biological and chemical defense.

    Kosovo proclaimed its independence from Serbia in 2008 and was recognized by over 100 nations. Serbia, however, continues to consider Kosovo as its territory.

    READ MORE: Kosovo Establishes Plan to Create National Army, Flipping Off US, NATO

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    creation, army, NATO, Kosovo Security Force (KSF), Ramush Haradinaj, Kosovo
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