REPUBLIC OF KOSOVO PRESIDENT DR. FATMIR SEJDIU’S SPEECH AT KFOR CHANGE OF COMMAND CEREMONY

The President of the Republic of Kosovo, Dr. Fatmir Sejdiu, held a speech today on the occasion of KFOR change of command ceremony.

 Honorable Admiral Fitzgerald,
Honorable Prime Minister Thaçi,
Honorable generals and officers,
KFOR soldiers,
Honorable ambassadors,
Representatives of central and local governments,
Ladies and gentlemen,

In June this year we marked the 10th anniversary of the NATO’s triumphant entry in Kosovo. This magnificent act was a sublimation of the righteous war of the North-Atlantic Alliance to save a people in danger of its physical annihilation and of sacrifices that many generations of Kosovo have made for freedom, peace and democracy.

The NATO entry in Kosovo brought the long-awaited freedom and opened the perspective of peace, stability and an overall development not only in our country, but in the entire region. Since then, Kosovo has achieved significant results in the fields of security and reconstruction of our country. There is no doubt that KFOR was the most positive part of this success story and the credit for this is well-deserved by all those leaders and soldiers that have and are still serving with dignity in Kosovo.

During its ten years in freedom, Kosovo has managed to recover its shattered economy and reconstruct thousands of houses, schools and other crucial facilities that were destroyed during the war. On the other hand, the current government, like previous governments, has engaged industriously in ensuring favorable conditions for the return of all Kosovo citizens to their homes, regardless of their ethnicity. Though much remains to done, nobody can deny that institutions of Kosovo were strongly committed to providing for a successful outcome in this process.

Dear present,

To date, the Republic of Kosovo has been recognized as an independent and sovereign state by 62 countries around the world. We want to reaffirm our strong commitment to do our utmost – in permanent coordination with our friend countries, such as USA and EU countries and all other world democracies – in strengthening our country and in establishing rule of law in every corner of Kosovo. We know for certain that many challenges will lie ahead of us in the future too, but we are resolved to face and outcome them one by one, so that our country may gain its pace in its journey towards integration into Euro-Atlantic structures and towards becoming a member of NATO, European Union and other international institutions.

To us, an essential part of this commitment and objective remains the growth of the Kosovo Security Force, for Kosovo aims at being a country that provides security to all its citizens and a country that provides its assistance in peacekeeping and humanitarian missions worldwide.

Honorable KFOR commanders and soldiers,
Dear participants,

A year ago, in a beautiful ceremony like the one that we are having today, we thanked the COMKFOR, General de Marnhac, for his successes in Kosovo and we wished welcomed to the new Commander, General Giuseppe Emilio Gay. As a President of Republic of Kosovo, it is an exceptional pleasure for me today to assure General Gay of my highest consideration for the work that he has done during his mandate as a KFOR Commander and of the admiration of all the people and institutions of our country for NATO’s commanders and soldiers that have served before and are serving in Kosovo at present.

It was a particular pleasure for me, as a President of the Republic of Kosovo, to work closely with Lieutenant General Giuseppe Emilio Gay. We have always shared an understanding for issues that we discussed and challenges that we faced.
General Gay has performed his essential duties as the Commander of NATO KFOR forces in Kosovo with a strong sense of responsibility, commitment and professionalism. He has taken over the KFOR command at the very first anniversary of the declaration of independence of our country and was there, beside us, during all our celebrations, anniversaries and festivities, like he was with us in facing challenges that lay ahead of us during this period.

Therefore, having assessed his professional and personal qualities and based on the authority that the Constitution of the Republic of Kosovo has vested in me, I have decided to decorate General Giuseppe Emilio Gay with the Golden Medal for Military Service in Kosovo.

By wishing General Gay wellbeing, luck and success in his future engagements, allow me to welcome and express my wish for a complete success in his new function to General Markus Bentler, together with whom the institutions of Kosovo will build on the excellent cooperation that we have had with KFOR commanders so far.