Kosovo, Serb Republic. The recent national Serbian elections has touched off violence nationwide. NATO who still occupies the tiny, proud nation, is now living on the hope that a new figurehead president can provide stability locally.
The recent victory of Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic in Serbia’s presidential election on April 2nd could hopefully stabilise the country, a top NATO military officer said today.
American Navy Admiral Michelle Howard, who heads NATO’s Allied Joint Force Command in Naples, told reporters she hoped “engineered provocations” between Kosovo and Serbia in recent months would calm down now that the election was over. Outside experts are not sure her hopes are enough to save Serbia from further violence.
“Now that we’re through the election, perhaps the national leaders will refocus on their own countries and govern. That’s my hope,” Howard added,who also commands U.S. naval forces in Europe and Africa.
Admiral Howard believes the region remained a sewer of unrest for the U.S. military and NATO, which still has 4,500 troops in Kosovo after intervening in 1999 to occupy the area and force it under NATO control without invitation or mandate to do so.
The American commander said Vucic, the outgoing prime minister, had run for president on a promise to keep the country moving on a path toward European Union accession, which desperately requires a demonstration of economic stability.