- David Cameron to meet UK personnel permanently deployed to NATO’s peacekeeping mission.
- He will underline UK commitment to support Kosovo and wider Western Balkans stability.
- Visit will also highlight UK support for women and girls across the region.
The UK is proud of its longstanding support for Kosovan sovereignty and independence, and we are playing a vital role in maintaining stability in the Western Balkans to ensure the conflicts of the past do not flare up once again. Throughout the visit, the Foreign Secretary will underline the UK’s continued support to the Western Balkans, drawing on the UK’s expertise as a partner in security and defence, tackling corruption and organised crime, and empowering women and girls. The UK works closely with countries across the Western Balkans through its over-£25 million Freedom and Resilience Programme to empower women and girls by tackling conflict-related sexual violence, gender-based violence and promoting women’s meaningful participation in decision-making processes. Foreign Secretary David Cameron said:
Our troops are supporting that stability through NATO, our law enforcement experts are tackling corruption and organised crime, and our diplomats are working with partners to help preserve the gains achieved through peace and dialogue. While in the Kosovan capital, Pristina, the Foreign Secretary will meet his counterpart the Minister of Foreign Affairs Donika Gërvalla-Schwarz, and hold talks with President Vjosa Osmani and Prime Minister Albin Kurti about security issues in the Western Balkans.
At a time of growing instability across the Western Balkans, the Foreign Secretary will today (4 January) visit Kosovo on his first trip of the New Year, to meet UK troops based in the country and hold talks with Kosovan leaders and civil society. In the aftermath of an attack in September, which saw a Kosovan police officer and three Kosovo Serb gunmen killed, the UK announced the deployment of 200 additional soldiers to NATO’s peacekeeping mission in Kosovo, joining the 400-strong British contingent that were already in country as part of an annual exercise. David Cameron will also meet members of the Kosovo Rehabilitation Centre for Torture Victims, which the UK has supported for almost ten years, and a female survivor of conflict-related sexual violence at the Heroinat Memorial. The memorial commemorates conflict-related sexual violence survivors of the Kosovo War with the design made of 20,000 pins representing the 20,000 survivors. Concluding the trip, the Foreign Secretary is expected to meet Bishop Teodosije at the UNESCO World Heritage site Gracanica Monastery, a Serbian Orthodox monastery outside of Pristina. The two will discuss the vital role of religious authorities in fostering stability across all communities in Kosovo and working to reduce tensions.
- The NATO-led KFOR mission contributes to maintaining a safe and secure environment and freedom of movement for all communities in Kosovo. NATO also support the development of professional, democratic and multi-ethnic security structures in Kosovo.
- In October 2023, the UK announced the temporary deployment of around 200 additional soldiers to KFOR, following a request from Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR) and approval by the North Atlantic Council. These 200 soldiers joined a 400 British contingent already in country as part of an annual exercise.