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23 May 2024

The threat of war in the Balkans is real, warns Prime Minister of Kosovo

There is a real risk of war as Serbia is forging closer bonds with Russia and China, and the Republic of Kosovo wants to join NATO as soon as possible, its Prime Minister told the London Defence Conference today.

Albin Kurti Prime Minister Kosovo London Defence Conference 2024

Albin Kurti said over the past 25 years, the Republic of Kosovo has been strengthened through the help of international allies and partners such as the USA, the UK and the European Union. However, he said Serbia has intensified its cooperation with Russia, China and Iran.

Serbia is presently forging ever closer bonds with especially Russia and China. At a time when we are experiencing war in Europe, we cannot ignore the threat of another war in a region that knows all too well what this means.

Albin Kurti, Prime Minister of the Republic of Kosovo

He told the delegates on the third day of the conference held at King’s College London, that Serbia’s alignment with Russia, its "destructive approach" towards the Republic of Kosovo and its “rapid and enormous armament” are indicators that it aims for escalation with the intention of realising its territorial ambitions.

The threat is not merely a theoretical one, the risk of a new war is real. The cohesion and outspokenness we saw 25 years ago must be renewed today.

Albin Kurti, Prime Minister of the Republic of Kosovo

He said the Republic is seeking to join NATO and said countries that uphold democratic values “need to close the political and practical vacuum that makes authoritarian figures believe that an attack on another European country is viable.”

We want to join NATO as soon as possible. … we should work together so Kosova joins NATO in this decade and we contribute to security and we benefit as well.

Albin Kurti, Prime Minister of the Republic of Kosovo

He said fighting organised crime is closely linked to ensuring his country’s security and so the Kosovo police have dismantled 111 different criminal groups, seized over 2.4 tonnes of various narcotic substances, destroyed 17 narcotic laboratories and eradicated around 50,000 narcotic plants, plus 35 illegal border routes have been closed.

Mr Kurti was speaking during the third day of the London Defence Conference held at Bush House which brings together security experts, political leaders, academics to consider how to strengthen defence and security in an increasingly dangerous world.