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Kosovo premier, NATO chief speak amid Serbia tensions

In this photo taken on Tuesday, Oct. 17, 2017, Serbian Army soldiers perform during rehearsal exercise in Batajnica, military airport near Belgrade, Serbia. Serbia's prime minister warned on Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2018 that the formation of a Kosovo army could trigger Serbia's armed intervention in the former province - the bluntest warning so far amid escalating tensions in the Balkans. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)

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 co-operation with NATO.

It doesn’t say how Stoltenberg responded.

On Wednesday, Stoltenberg said “It … may have serious repercussions for Kosovo’s future Euro-Atlantic integration.”

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.

The Associated Press