NATO Deputy Secretary General Rose Gottemoeller said in Brussels on Tuesday that KFOR would not withdraw from Kosovo.
She also stressed that the upcoming NATO summit will also speak about the organization’s commitment to KFOR’s continued mission.
Responding to questions from Serbian journalists about NATO’s use of depleted uranium during the bombing of Serbia in 1999, Gottemoeller said that “both NATO and the UN in 2001 conducted thorough scientific studies that have proven that depleted uranium does not have an impact on health.”
“I know that there is constant concern about it in Serbia, I think that we have to continue our dialogue and continue to understand this concern, but from our point of view the evidence does not indicate that there are problems,” Gottemoeller has been quoted as saying.
Asked if NATO intends to apologize to Serbia for the aggression against the country carried out in 1999, Gottemoeller said that both NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and herself during their visits to Serbia “expressed regret over what had happened.”
“But we also want to emphasize to what extent security relations in partnership with NATO contribute to security and stability throughout the region and help increase the benefits for the Serbian public,” Gottemoeller said, adding that “they see many benefits from cooperation between NATO and Serbia want it to continue.”
However, she said, “there will be no pressure on Serbia to join NATO.”
“It is entirely up to Serbia to decide what kind of security relations it will have, therefore we welcome the partnership with Serbia. Look at the map of Europe and Switzerland and Austria on it, they are our valued partners and we never, ever put pressure on them to join NATO. We are not doing this, NATO simply does do it,” she said.
When it comes to a lawsuit that Serbia will file against NATO member-states (over the 1999 bombing), Gottemoeller said that NATO has “two studies as its response to the lawsuit, and continues to hold to the evidence collected there.”