Global Policy Forum

Kosovo Security Force to Begin Work Within Days

Southeast European Times
January 15, 2009

The Kosovo Protection Corps (KPC) will cease to exist next week, replaced by a NATO-trained security force, the Alliance said on Wednesday (January 14th). "On January 20th the KPC will be disbanded and on January 21st the Kosovo Security Force (KFS) will be stood up," NATO spokesman James Appathurai said in Brussels. The plan appeared in former UN special envoy Martti Ahtisaari's comprehensive proposal for a settlement of the Kosovo status issue, which Kosovo Albanian leaders vowed to implement when they declared independence from Serbia in February 2008.

The KPC is a civilian organisation tasked with providing emergency response and humanitarian assistance services, as well as facilitating Kosovo's post-conflict recovery. It officially came into existence in January 2000 as a successor of the disbanded Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) that fought Serb forces during the 1998-1999 conflict. Ahtisaari, in his proposal, said it had accomplished its goals but left it to NATO to decide on the timing of its dissolution. Preparations for the disbandment of the KPC and the establishment of the KFS began a few months ago, with Kosovo authorities and the Alliance co-ordinating the transition process.

The KFS will be a lightly armed, professional and multi-ethnic force operating under civilian control and KFOR's monitoring. Initially, it will have no tanks, heavy artillery or aircraft. The force will include up to 2,500 active members and 800 reservists and will initially be primarily responsible for crisis management, civil protection and mine clearing. NATO has repeatedly stressed that the KFS will not be a full-fledged army. According to the Ahtisaari plan, it "will be designed and prepared to fulfil other security functions, not appropriate for the police or other law enforcement organisations".

Appathurai said on Wednesday that the 15,000-strong KFOR would meet all required legal and other standards. He also indicated that, while the KFS will be launched next week, it was little likely to become fully operational "before the middle of the year". NATO defence ministers decided last June to broaden KFOR's mission to include training Kosovo's new force. Last month, Prime Minister Hashim Thaci appointed KPC head Lieutenant General Sylejman Selimi as the first head of the KFS. The force "will be led by the Kosovo authorities but with a role for KFOR as well", Appathurai said on Wednesday. Many NATO nations have already made donations to the KFS, and others have pledged funds and resources.

More Information on the UN Security Council
More Information on Kosovo


FAIR USE NOTICE: This page contains copyrighted material the use of which has not been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. Global Policy Forum distributes this material without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. We believe this constitutes a fair use of any such copyrighted material as provided for in 17 U.S.C § 107. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond fair use, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.