ITALIAN CHIEF OF DEFENCE VISITS KFOR
December 13th, 2013 – The Italian Chief of Defence, Admiral Luigi BINELLI MANTELLI, visited KFOR HQ in Pristina and met KFOR Commander Maj. Gen. Salvatore FARINA.
Maj.Gen. FARINA highlighted the close cooperation with Kosovo Police, EULEX and with all the other international and local organizations in order to maintain a safe and secure environment and freedom of movement throughout Kosovo with a specific focus in the north.
The Admiral Luigi BINELLI MANTELLI congratulated COM KFOR on the security operation during the election a success story and milestone for Kosovo and he said :"We will continue to support the dialogue between PRISTINA and BELGRADE by ensuring a safe and secure environment and the freedom of movement throughout KOSOVO'', Admiral said. The dialogue for the normalization of relations between Serbia and Kosovo remains key to progress toward a consolidate, safe, secure and peaceful environment and shared future of Kosovo.
Maj.Gen. FARINA underlined that this achievement was possible thanks to the high standard of performance by KFOR and the international actors in a synchronized effort that achieved "More Together". COM KFOR thanked the Italian Chief of Defence for the very impressive contribution of the Italian personnel in KFOR and he commended the professionalism of the Italian troops.
Italy is one of the major troop contributors to KFOR with over 550 Italian soldiers and carabinieri serving in Kosovo.
The visit was also the occasion to attend the change of command ceremony of Multinational Battle Group West (MNBG-W) in Camp "Villaggio Italia" near Belo Polje. Colonel Antonio SGOBBA, Commander of 52° Artillery Regiment, replaced Colonel Pierpaolo GIACOMINI TIVERON.
The event was attended by several representatives of International organizations, as well local civilian and religious authorities from different ethnic groups in Kosovo.
MNBG-W is a KFOR unit made up of Italian, Slovenian and Austrian soldiers, operating in the west of Kosovo in order to guarantee a safe and secure environment and the freedom of movement in close coordination and cooperation with the local security forces and International Organizations.
COM KFOR awarded Colonel GIACOMINI TIVERON with the KFOR NATO "non-article five" Peace Mission Medal and praised his professionalism. He welcomed the new Commander and wished him all the best.
In the afternoon Admiral Binelli Mantelli flew over the KFOR Areas of Responsibility where are deployed the majority of Italian and international troops. The Commander of KFOR had the opportunity to illustrate to Admiral Binelli the current security situation in the North.
A stop was made at one of the most important sites where one of KFOR military unit is based in northern Kosovo: the Commander of the Unit on the ground has reassumed to the Chief of the Defence the current ongoing operations.
Later Maj. Gen. Salvatore FARINA and his International Staff briefed the Italian Chief of Defense within KFOR Headquarters, on the future activities, the next political developments and changes in Kosovo in view of the ongoing dialogue between Pristina and Belgrade.
On completion of his visit to KFOR HQ, the Italian Chief of Defence Staff shared Christmas and seasonal greetings with the Italian soldiers.