NATO chief says Kosovo is biggest issue affecting Balkans

NATO Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer said Friday (June 29th) that Kosovo is the “biggest issue” currently affecting the Balkans. Delays in the status settlement could slow down the region’s Euro-Atlantic integration, he warned, speaking on the second and last day of the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council (EAPC) Security Forum in Ohrid. The NATO chief added, however, that plans to invite the Adriatic Charter countries — Albania, Croatia and Macedonia — to join the Alliance do not depend on Kosovo status.De Hoop Scheffer then travelled to Kosovo, where he stressed that NATO favours a quick settlement based on the Ahtisaari plan. He called on all sides to stay calm and restrain from any unilateral moves, and stressed KFOR’s readiness to prevent any form of violence and to protect the local Serb minority.

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