PRISTINA - On the morning of 10 October, in the presence of the Commander of the Allied Joint Force Command Naples, Admiral Stuart B. Munsch and many political and military authorities, the Hungarian Major General, Ferenc KAJÁRI handed over the post of KFOR Commander to the Italian Major General Angelo Michele RISTUCCIA, during a ceremony held at the Headquarters of the NATO-led KFOR mission in Pristina.
Major General Angelo Michele RISTUCCIA takes over the command of the mission for a year mandate, as KFOR’s 27th Commander.
The highest authorities of NATO Joint Force Command Naples and of the Institutions in Kosovo expressed their appreciation to the outgoing KFOR Commander, Major General KAJÁRI for leaving an indelible impact on this essential mission. They also welcomed the new KFOR Commander, Major General Angelo Michele RISTUCCIA, adding that his broad experience will add value to this mission.
During his speech, General KAJÁRI expressed his thanks to all his staff and collaborators who supported him in carrying out his duties with the utmost dedication, commitment, professionalism, empathy, and impartiality. “It is hard to believe that it has been more than a year since the Commander of Joint Force Command Naples handed over the KFOR Flag to me. That single act officially started the XXVI Command Period of KFOR, under Hungarian leadership. In the beginning, I stated that I will aim to build on what the previous KFOR Commanders have achieved. Continuity, honoring past achievements was, and is key towards success”.
Major General RISTUCCIA pointed out: “My deepest thoughts are to the fallen. Not only to our KFOR beloved fallen, but to all those who have lost their lives in the conflicts that have marred this region, to the wounded, to the innocent victims whose families have been shattered by the pain of an existence whose future deserves hope. Their sacrifice deserves our resolute commitment to ensure lasting peace, security and stability”.
Major General Ristuccia also underlined that “KFOR is a success story and this success is the result of the commitment of all those who, politically and on the ground, have contributed to stability, security, and freedom of movement for the benefit of all communities living in Kosovo, and who have supported the development of a constructive dialogue between the parties. They are precious, valuable and non-negotiable assets. This commitment must not be forgotten in order to build a better future”.
He thanked the political and military authorities, assuring them that he is aware of the enormous responsibilities and challenges ahead. Confident of their support he said: “I assure you all that we will turn these challenges into opportunities with transparency, impartiality, firmness, consistency under our UN mandate; in synergy with EU Office in Kosovo and EU Special Representative for the Belgrade-Pristina Dialogue and the Western Balkans, EULEX, UNMIK, and the OSCE; and in close consultation with the Kosovo Security Organizations, the Serbian Chief of Defense, and other actors in the region.”
The new KFOR Commander has had a long and successful career both at home and abroad. His last post was that of Commander of the Vittorio Veneto Division, where he played a major role in the establishment of the Italian Multinational Division South), headquartered in Florence.
KFOR remains fully focused on the implementation of its mandate – based on the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1244 of 1999 - to ensure a safe and secure environment and freedom of movement for all communities in Kosovo.
Story by KFOR Public Affairs Office