KFOR officially concluded that the events in Banjska fell exclusively under the domain of the police. As a result, it has now been clarified within KFOR that NATO soldiers are not engaged in police operations, unlike the May events in front of the municipal buildings in Zvecan, Leposavic, and Zubin Potok, Leart Hoxha said in a statement for KoSSev.
„This represents quality news, that is, something that shows how things could happen in the future.“
According to Hoxha, another important thing is that the European Union defined the events in Banjska as a „terrorist act“. If this is the official stance, it is crucial, and indicates a change in the attitude of all international actors towards what is happening in the north, and there will be greater pressure to reach a solution, he added.
In his words, the manipulation of both the Serbian and Kosovo public when it comes to the contradictory view of the tragic events in Banjska poses a special problem. Hoxha also underscored the more controversial position of Belgrade.
In a statement for KoSSev, the editor of Pristina-based ATV television, Leart Hoxha points out the importance of the reactions of the international community, that is, representatives of the West in Kosovo.
„The fact that KFOR stated on the same day that the troops of this mission were ready to intervene if necessary means that they did not think that KFOR’s intervention was necessary. Which, in other words, is interpreted as KFOR having an official assessment that everything that happened in Banjska was a police operation and that exclusively the police should deal with it,“ he said.
Hoxha, on the other hand, interpreted this statement by KFOR as another confirmation that even within KFOR it has now been clarified that NATO troops are mainly engaged in military affairs and not police operations, in contrast to the events in front of municipal buildings in Zvecan, Leposavic and Zubin Potok in late May.
„This is something new, and it represents quality news, that is, something that shows how things could unfold in the future. This is a very clear indication that the US embassy, the EU mission in Kosovo, and especially KFOR and NATO, know quite well what the role of the police is, what is the role of EULEX, and KFOR,“ he added.
Hoxha states that a clear understanding of roles is particularly important due to the recent meeting of the Serbian president with the Quint ambassadors and demands that KFOR take over the control of the security situation in the north.
„The fact that KFOR made it clear to everyone that they will intervene if necessary speaks for itself about their approach to the situation in the north as well,“ he said.
Hoxha emphasizes that it is also important that the EU defined the events in Banjska as a „terrorist act“.
„If this is the official stance, it represents crucial news and a fundamental change in the attitude of all international actors, in contrast to what is happening in the north,“ stated Hoxha.
„If we say that the situation is difficult to sustain and that it is necessary to intervene, then that situation is difficult to sustain, not only because of political processes and pressures but also because of the potential for de-escalation with terrorist acts. I think this proves that the return to dialogue is urgent.“
At the same time, he assessed that after the investigation and the international consensus that it is a „terrorist act“, greater pressure will follow in order to reach a solution.
„Instead of proceeding gradually, maybe three or four big topics will be squeezed into one package, in order to work on the prevention of further escalations, because now we are talking about the possibility of terrorist acts, and we know that there is a fairly broad consensus regarding the fight against terrorism between of all western countries.“
Hoxha, however, alleged that there is an attempt to manipulate the Serbian and Kosovo public.
„Different maneuvers are being carried out on social networks and via the media. On the one hand, these people are portrayed as terrorists, and on the other hand, as heroes, saviors, which proves that the political attitude in Pristina and Belgrade is diametrically different from one another,“ he said.
Noting „perhaps a slightly more controversial position of Belgrade“.
„For two days, Vučić and the people close to him tried by all possible means to show that no structure and in no way official Belgrade was involved in this, but it was a rebellion of local Serbs, and right after that we have a day of mourning in the Republic of Serbia and the attempt to present these people as the saviors and defenders of Serbia and the Serbian people, and tribute is paid to them in the cities of Serbia, which now proves exactly the opposite – that the state of Serbia, if it was not directly involved and led the operation, then the authorities were quite informed about it, because people who had strong connections with those authorities were involved in the operation, and now they are either killed, wounded, arrested. Now that connection is quite unbreakable, even though in the first two days, many public figures in Belgrade tried to break that connection, that is, to portray this as a rebellion of the local population against the terror of Kurti, as President Vučić put it.“
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