Comprehensive approach and unity of intent: EU, NATO and KFOR working alongside to ensure peace and stability in Kosovo and across the Balkans.
The security situation in Kosovo and the challenges engulfing the Western Balkans were the focus of the speech delivered by COMKFOR, Major General Giovanni FUNGO, during the "Joint session of the European Parliament's Committee on Foreign Affairs (AFET) and its Subcommittee on Security and Defense (SEDE)" earlier today.
In the meeting held this morning in Brussels, COMKFOR underlined the crucial cooperation between NATO and EU as an essential condition to reach the stability in the Balkan region and the important role played by KFOR as an impartial security guarantor.
"A particularly strong and effective cooperation exists between KFOR and the whole international community – COMKFOR said. "The main job of KFOR is to ensure security in Kosovo and, in this way, projecting stability across the Western Balkans. Together with the European Union, the international community and the local institutions we work for making this happen. The deterrent posture of KFOR, the preventive actions by all security actors, including EULEX, and the mediation efforts led by the International Community, EU and NATO in primis, are all elements of that comprehensive approach aimed at fostering stability and prosperity in Kosovo and beyond. Normalization is therefore the key word and the Belgrade – Pristina dialogue the main tool. The EU is key in keeping dialogue alive and progressing, and KFOR is fully supportive in this regard. The unity of intent of NATO and EU is a fundamental pre-requisite for normalization and stability across the region".
About the importance of KFOR's presence in Kosovo - for Kosovo and the wider Western Balkans region - COMKFOR remind that KFOR, over the past years, has guaranteed a safe and secure environment, as well as freedom of movement in Kosovo, in full compliance with its UN mandate deriving from UNSCR 1244.
"Back in 1999 KFOR strength was something around 55 thousand soldiers – COMKFOR reminded. "Today, after several reviews of KFOR mission and tasks, troops authorized by NATO are around 4,5 thousand. 29 nations are currently contributing to KFOR: 21 NATO countries and 8 non-NATO countries. The original mission, as set in UNSCR 1244, was to establish a safe and secure environment and to grant freedom of movement to all in Kosovo. Progress in the security domain and the build-up of local security forces made evolve KFOR mission in maintaining a safe and secure environment and eventually in contributing to it. Today in Kosovo KFOR is the so-called third security responder. KFOR continue to act as an impartial security guarantor - COMKFOR underlined - being status neutral vis-à-vis of the Institutions in Kosovo. KFOR is still providing direct security to one sites, namely the Visoki Monastery in Decane. Security situation is constantly assessed.