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NATO’s Kosovo Force united in commitment, despite challenges

PRISTINA, Kosovo - Two Italian generals passed the colors of command in a time-honored ceremony Nov. 28 marking the change of leadership in NATO’s Kosovo Force.

Major General Lorenzo D’Addario relieved Major General Salvatore Cuoci, becoming KFOR’s latest commander in its 19-year history since the end of hostilities in the Balkan country’s war for independence from Serbia in 1999.

"There are 28 NATO member and partner nations which care enough to contribute highly-skilled military personnel to KFOR,” said Admiral James Foggo, who presided over the ceremony. "That’s a significant commitment of a nation’s most-treasured resource.”  

"Italy and NATO have selected two of its finest leaders to command this enduring operation,” he added, following the ceremony.  "I laud their leadership in this enduring and important operation.”

As Allied Joint Force Command commander, Foggo oversees all NATO missions in the Balkans, including those in Belgrade, Sarajevo and Skopje in addition to Kosovo, which is NATO’s longest-standing operation.

Kosovo continues to mature, having first gained status as a nation in 2008.  Yet it struggles for international recognition, and remains at odds with neighboring Serbia.

Foggo challenged leaders from both nations to let go of historical grievances and move forward on initiatives that will allow both countries to prosper and grow.

"Recent events have caused me pause,” Foggo said. "I am interested in moving forward, so my question to Belgrade and Pristina is, how can we reduce the need for KFOR to respond in 2019?  Your actions must speak louder than your words.”

To read Foggo’s full remarks, click here.

Story by JFC Naples Public Affairs Office

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