Skopje, 19 October 2018 (MIA) – Albanian leaders Friday congratulated the Kosovo parliament on adopting the new laws on transforming the Kosovo Security Force (KSF) into a national army.
Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama posted a note on his Facebook profile saying, “Glory to all Kosovo heroes and fallen soldiers. Blessed be the newborn army of the Republic of Kosovo.”
Lulzim Basha, the leader of the main opposition party Democratic Party of Albania, also extended his congratulations to Kosovo on the establishing an army.
“I salute the adoption of the law that clears the path for Kosovo to form an army,” Basha said. “With its own army, in close collaboration with the Euro-Atlantic allies, and in line with its NATO membership aspirations, Kosovo will significantly contribute to peace and stability in the Balkans.”
Ninety-eight Kosovo MPs voted in favor of the bill upgrading the mandate of the KSF to become a national army.
Previously, a bill to found a Ministry of Defense, which is to replace the current Ministry of KSF, was passed with 101 votes in favor in the 120-seat parliament.
According to Reuters, the laws passed said the new army would have 5,000 active soldiers and 3,000 reservists.
The present KSF security force is a lightly armed, 2,500-strong force trained by NATO and tasked with crisis response, civil protection and ordinance disposal.
NATO says it has no plans to leave the territory just now, but it suggested that any change to the status of the KSF might lead to a reduction in its forces there.
“NATO supports the Kosovo Security Force under its current mandate,” a NATO official told Reuters. “Should this mandate evolve, the North Atlantic Council will have to re-examine the level of NATO’s engagement in Kosovo.” mr/14:23