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MLO Belgrade  /  Newsroom  /  News Archive  /  2021  /  Thank you for the hospitality Serbia!

Dec 10 2021

Thank you Serbia

Belgrade, 10 Dec - Brigadier General Tommaso Vitale has been Chief of NATO Military Liaison Office Belgrade since January 2020. During his time in Serbia, by living here and learning something new about Serbia's rich culture every day, he had the pleasure of experiencing true Serbian hospitality, feeling the friendliness of the Serbian people and its officials. This is his end of duty farewell message.

My duty in Serbia is coming to an end. After two years in Serbia, this fantastic country, I have to say that it has been an honour to lead NATO Military Liaison Office Belgrade, but more than that, to lead a great team of military officials coming from various NATO countries and Serbian civilian colleagues; I want to thank all of them for their great professionalism, their commitment and dedication.

It has been an honour to lead NATO Military Liaison Office Belgrade
I am leaving Serbia as we mark the 15th anniversary of NATO-Serbia Partnership, which coincides with the 15th anniversary of the establishment of NATO Military Liaison Office Belgrade as well.

Since 2006, with joint efforts, through hard work and great commitment, many colleagues from both NATO and Serbia enabled NATO Military Liaison Office Belgrade to become an indispensable point of reference for the cooperation between the Alliance and Serbia, playing a decisive role in providing advice and support not only to the military and defence-related issues, but also to high-level political dialogue, political affairs and public diplomacy efforts.

During these 15 years, NATO Military Liaison Office Belgrade has done its best to facilitate all the ways in which NATO and Serbia are steadily developing their successful partnership.

Chief MLO Belgrade Brigadier General Tommaso Vitale, January 2020 - December 2021

Today, as we celebrate this important milestone, NATO sees Serbia as a valued, respected and important partner, playing a key role in keeping peace and stability in the region.

This has been reaffirmed loud and clear, at the recent Brussels Summit, when the NATO Heads of State and Government stated in the Final Declaration that strengthening NATO-Serbia relations would be of benefit to the Alliance, to Serbia, and to the whole region.

Since Serbia joined the Partnership for Peace Programme and the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council, a lot has been done together. The cooperation has encompassed a variety of domains, from the military, the political, to the scientific one.

All this has been done with NATO fully respecting Serbia's stated policy of military neutrality, and in accordance with the fundamental principle of our partnerships: Serbia has always determined the pace, scope, intensity and focus of its cooperation, in accordance with its policy and its needs. Serbia chooses, NATO supports.

Serbian Chief of General Staff General Mojsilovic with Chief MLO Belgrade Brigadier General Tommaso Vitale .

This principle has helped both sides to develop a strong cooperation, aiming to promote, among other things, reciprocal trust and respect.

We are hopefully coming out of the terrible and unpredictable pandemic, which has changed our lives. The pandemic, which left us a clear lesson to be learned: that a tragedy like that does not recognise borders, geography, ideology or people.

Only if we act in solidarity will we succeed. No one can tackle new challenges like these alone. The only possibility to move forward is through solidarity, cooperation and partnership.

So, let us think for a while how nice the word "partnership" looks.

It means something positive – we don't need to translate it, since its meaning is so clear around the world. It means: share something together, do something together, be friends, be supportive.

My sincere hope is that the citizens of this beautiful country, with its great history and culture, will become more aware about all this and the magnitude and importance of our partnership.

To support it with enthusiasm, with the awareness that to be partner, as I said earlier, is always a beautiful thing, whatever we talk about!

This is, I think, the main challenge that awaits my successor and my fantastic team.

My gratitude goes to all of you: Serbian authorities, soldiers, colleagues, citizens and friends. You all made my work and my stay in Serbia an amazing time. I will bring Serbia in my heart.

I wish you to enhance your partnership with NATO with enthusiasm.

Together we work, together we progress!

I wish you a future of peace, stability and prosperity, successfully partnering with NATO, as well as inside the European family, which Serbia belongs to.

Good luck Serbia! Good luck NATO!

Story by NATO MLO Belgrade

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