More NATO troops may be needed in Kosovo as the breakaway Serbian province moves towards independence, British Foreign Secretary David Miliband said on Monday.Mediators from the United States, the European Union and Russia have said four months of talks found no compromise on whether Kosovo should be independent or just self-ruled. Their self-imposed deadline for finding a solution expired on Monday.
Asked if more troops might be needed on the ground if the situation deteriorated, Miliband told BBC Radio “The short answer is Yes.”
“That is something we might have to address and contingency plans have been put in place,” Miliband said.
NATO nations, which have 16,000 peacekeeping troops in Kosovo, agreed on Friday to maintain their force at current levels and to provide enough troops to put down any violence in the province.
Kosovo’s 90 percent majority ethnic Albanians look set to declare independence in the first two months of next year. The United Nations Security Council is divided over what should happen next.
The United States and major European Union states are gearing up to recognize an independent Kosovo but Serbia says it will never accept that and is backed by Russia, which has a veto in the U.N. Security Council.
“We shouldn’t underestimate the volatility of the situation there,” Miliband said.