UNITED NATIONS, May 28 (RIA Novosti) — Serbian President Tomislav Nikolić criticized the proposal to create Kosovo Armed Forces, calling it “saber-rattling” at the United Nations Security Council gathering.
Nikolić linked the forces to the past "paramilitary formation" of the Kosovo Liberation Army, which he said led to abuse and trafficking of the captured Serbs, as outlined in the Council of Europe report by Swiss senator Dick Marty.
"I put it to you, whether the security forces, whose members belong to criminal structures and international terrorists, could be relied on by international security frameworks,” Nikolić told the Council.
As the UN peacekeeping mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) is responsible for the region's defense and foreign policy under Security Council resolution 1244, the mission should be negotiating with the European Union, not the Kosovo Armed Forces, which were "ruled out," Nikolić said.
Kosovo, a landlocked region with a population consisting mainly ethnic Albanians, declared its independence from Serbia in February 2008. But Serbia does not recognize its sovereignty. As Serbian ally, Russia has used its right to veto to prevent Kosovo from joining the United Nations.
More than 90 nations, however, including the United States and leading European Union members, acknowledged Kosovo’s independence, which was cited as precedent by Crimea, which separated from Ukraine and joined Russia in March.
Nikolić said Kosovo was no precedent, but a "sui generis" or a case that stands alone.
Kosovo President Atifete Jahjaga called the proposal a "lightly armed defense force" that would work closely with NATO. Kosovo’s parliament was dissolved on the proposed Kosovo Armed Forces until the upcoming elections on June 8.
Nikolić urged the Security Council and its members to get involved before another negative precedent is created. Many Council members, however, support the idea of Kosovo Armed Forces.
Russia's Permanent Representative to the UN Vitaly Churkin expressed concern about Kosovo's Albanians fighting in Serbia, suspecting them of being part of an al-Qaeda linked terrorist group. He said Russia's position remained unchanged, for the "sovereignty and territorial integrity of Serbia."