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Shaheen, Ricketts Issue Joint Bipartisan Statement Calling for Calm Between Kosovo and Serbia Amid Escalating Tensions

(Washington, DC) – U.S. Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Pete Ricketts (R-NE), Chair and Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Europe and Regional Security Cooperation, issued the following joint statement in response to the deteriorating security conditions between Kosovo and Serbia:

“We are very concerned by the significant deterioration in the security situation in Northern Kosovo. We are disappointed by the government of Kosovo’s unilateral decision to access municipal buildings in Northern Kosovo using unnecessary force. The escalation in violence has resulted in serious and unacceptable injuries of peacekeepers from NATO’s Kosovo Force. We condemn the violence and call on the governments of Kosovo and Serbia to take immediate action to deescalate the situation. Kosovo and Serbia are on the precipice of advancing their diplomatic and economic relations with each other and with Europe, but members of Congress and the international community are growing increasingly concerned by the alarming backsliding in progress. The leaders of both countries must act in the best long-term interests of their respective nations rather than allow continued disputes to impede peace and stability and, consequentially, their EU membership aspirations,” said Shaheen and Ricketts.

In March, the Senators issued a joint statement on the interim agreement reached between Serbia and Kosovo. Shaheen visited Kosovo and Serbia last April as part of a congressional delegation visit to the Balkans, which also included a stop in Bosnia and Herzegovina. At the urging of Shaheen, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee held a hearing on the Western Balkans earlier this month, which came on the heels of Shaheen’s renewed bipartisan push to advance her legislation that would promote cooperation between the U.S. and the Western Balkans.