A group of soldiers from different NATO countries, escorted by the Alliance-led KFOR force in Kosovo, strolled on Thursday the streets of the divided northern town of Mitrovica, mostly populated by the local Serbs, drawing angry reactions from Serb political parties, N1 reported.
The soldiers, not visibly armed, walked from the bridge on the Ibar river dividing Mitrovica, to the centre of northern Mitrovica.
Their appearance, especially the four soldiers from Albania, caused bitter comments on social networks as well.
KFOR responded that the intention was not to provoke anyone, that Albania had been NATO member for ten years and that group consisted of different nationalities.
“NATO soldiers, accompanied by KFOR, have been conducting reconnaissance activities in Kosovo. That includes visits to different places in Kosovo, including Mitrovica and other in the north,” KFOR spokesperson Vincenzo Grasso told the KoSSev website.
Later on Thursday, KFOR stated in response to political and media interpretation of the NATO and KFOR soldiers walk through north Mitrovica.
The statement said that "again today we read about unproven weird plots and series of strange events, which are only generating panic and confusion in the people that deserves more respect. Notwithstanding the numerous appeals to refrain from spreading irresponsible speculations, unfortunately, fabricated rumours continue circulating on the media and causing unfounded concerns among the population."
It confirmed that "the situation in the north, as well as all over Kosovo, is absolutely under control and there is no sign or evidence of possible unrest or violence. In reality, there is no reason to be worried and nothing to be afraid of. In those days a group of NATO Officers, escorted by KFOR, is conducting a reconnaissance activity in Kosovo."
The statement reiterated that "Albania has been a NATO member for 10 years now. Moreover, it should be well known that Albania is also contributing to KFOR mission."
"KFOR continues to be impartially committed to its UN mandate in order to protect all people in Kosovo and when KFOR exercises and moves around Kosovo everybody must feel safe," it added