The United States “calls on Serbia to withdraw the troops” massed on the border with Kosovo, a White House spokesperson said on Friday, September 29, announcing a strengthening of the presence of the NATO force in Kosovo.

“We are seeing a significant Serbian military deployment along the border with Kosovo,” including the “unprecedented” deployment of artillery, tanks and infantry units, spokesman John Kirby said. of the National Security Council. He did not wish to comment on the risk of a possible invasion of Kosovo, whose independence Serbia does not recognize, and where very strong tensions have been emerging in recent days.

John Kirby affirmed that “due to recent developments, KFOR”, the force deployed by NATO in this former Serbian province, “was going to increase its presence” in the north of the territory. He was unable to say whether this was just a redeployment of KFOR troops to northern Kosovo or a net increase in the number of troops deployed by this force.

“Need for a return to dialogue”

John Kirby shared US Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s call to Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic on Friday to express US “concern” and “highlight the need for an immediate reduction in tensions and ‘a return to dialogue’. The American national security adviser, Jake Sullivan, spoke with the Prime Minister of Kosovo, Albin Kurti.

Serbia refuses to recognize the independence that its former southern province, with an Albanian majority, proclaimed in 2008, a decade after the start of a deadly war between Kosovar independence guerrillas and Serbian forces.

A Kosovar Albanian police officer was killed Sunday in an ambush in northern Kosovo, where Serbs are the majority in several towns. A shootout ensued between Kosovo police special forces and a heavily armed Serbian commando. This is one of the most serious escalations of violence in Kosovo in recent years.