NATO "suspends" relations with Kosovo force over show of weapons
The NATO-led peacekeeping force in Kosovo (KFOR) said Sunday it has suspended relations with the local security force after it violated its status as an unarmed organization by displaying arms at a ceremony.
The Kosovo Security Force (KSF) members took part in a March 5 ceremony celebrating the guerrilla army which fought the Serbian army and police in the 1990s, dpa reported.
"KFOR has temporarily suspended support, mentoring and training activities of the KFS ... in response to the appearance of an armed, military-style KSF honour guard during the Martyrs' Commemoration Ceremony," KFOR said in a statement.
"This is inconsistent with the non-military status of the KSF," it said.
NATO intervened against Serbia in 1999, ousting Serb forces from Kosovo and paving the way for a United Nations administration and eventually, the declaration of independence by the mainly Albanian province in February 2008.
The KSF is Kosovo's fledgling army, mainly manned by former guerrillas, but still just an unarmed disaster-relief organization trained by KFOR.
KFOR said it has suspended "support, mentoring and training of the KSF until further notice" and asked Kosovo authorities for a "satisfactory explanation of the incident, appropriate remedial action and assurances that there will be no repeat of such actions."