TIRANA, Albania | Kosovo premier, NATO chief speak amid Serbia tensions

TIRANA, Albania | Kosovo premier, NATO chief speak amid Serbia tensions

TIRANA, Albania  — Kosovo’s prime minister and NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg have spoken on the phone about the country’s plan to form a new army, a move that has been strongly contested by Serbia and the alliance.

A statement from Kosovo’s government on Thursday said Ramush Haradinaj assured Stoltenberg the transition from the Kosovo Security Force into a regular army would be done in close cooperation with NATO.

Stoltenberg said in a statement that he had talked with Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic and Haradinaj, calling on them to “show calm and restraint, and avoid any provocative statements or actions.”

He said he had warned Haradinaj that NATO would “examine the level of our engagement with the Kosovo Security Force.?”

“I stressed that such a move is ill-timed, goes against the advice of many NATO allies, and can have negative repercussions on Kosovo’s prospects for Euro-Atlantic integration,” he said.

Stoltenberg reminded Belgrade and Pristina that dialogue remained “the only way to bring durable peace and stability to the region,” adding that NATO was committed to the security and stability of Kosovo.

Serbia has warned the formation of a Kosovo army could trigger an armed intervention.

Kosovo’s parliament will vote Dec. 14 on the formation of a regular army. Kosovo declared independence in 2008, a move which Serbia doesn’t recognize.

By Associated Press