PRESIDENT JAHJAGA’S SPEECH AT THE KFOR COMMAND HANDOVER CEREMONY

I have the pleasure to be with the participants of the NATO peacekeeping force in Kosovo, with whom, us, institutions and citizens of the Republic of Kosovo, journeyed together for fifteen year in building the peace. In guaranteeing of a peaceful and safe environment for all the citizens of our country; in raising of our security capacities; in building of the vision of a democratic Kosovo, member of the European Union and contributor to the collective security as a NATO member.

Honourable Prime Minister Thaçi,
Honourable representatives of the institutions of the Republic of Kosovo,
Honourable Admiral Ferguson,
Honourable Admiral Mantelli,
Honourable General Farina,
Honourable General Figliuolo,
Honourable KFOR soldiers,
Honourable Ladies and Gentlemen;

I have the pleasure to be with the participants of the NATO peacekeeping force in Kosovo, with whom, us, institutions and citizens of the Republic of Kosovo, journeyed together for fifteen year in building the peace. In guaranteeing of a peaceful and safe environment for all the citizens of our country; in raising of our security capacities; in building of the vision of a democratic Kosovo, member of the European Union and contributor to the collective security as a NATO member.

On behalf of Kosovo’s people, allow me to congratulate the officers and soldiers, the whole military personnel of KFOR, for fulfilling your mission and for the support you have provided to us in setting the foundation and strengthening democracy in Kosovo.  The citizens of Kosovo will always be grateful for the support you have given to us, for the trust that your respective countries have vested on our vision to build a democratic Kosovo, and for the unwavering commitment they have shown by standing by us, in partnership, as we enliven this vision. Each and every one of you shall be a part of Kosovo’s history. I hope you will each cherish Kosovo in your hearts and remember it as your home away from home. We will surely cherish the friendship and the bridges of cooperation that you have built through your time here.

Building peace in Kosovo has not been easy. In this endeavour of ours, each and every one of you gave your contribution by bringing with you a sense of security, a sense of peace and freedom, in order for citizens of Kosovo to start building their future free from oppression and discrimination, which they suffered from for way too long.

Kosovo is a one great story of hope. We will ensure that it remains one forever.

Distinguished guests,

I would like to express my sincere gratitude and deep appreciation to the departing commander of KFOR, General Salvatore Farina for his leadership and courage in leading this multinational force, these men and women in uniform in the noble task of peace building.

General Farina,

On behalf of the people of Kosovo and Kosovo’s institutions, thank you. This year has seen many challenges and some notable successes, but in both cases I was encouraged by the support, cooperation and partnership that you have extended to Kosovo’s institutions to deliver their task in ensuring our sovereignty and territorial integrity. We have reached some important milestones, such as the successful conduct of local and general elections that were held throughout the Republic of Kosovo for the first time, as well as in doing some forward thinking in laying out our vision for the gradual creation of Kosovo’s Armed Forces, a force that will reflect our country’s security needs and will be built in partnership with NATO.

For your contribution to strengthen Kosovo’s peace and stability, I bestow upon you the Military Order of the Republic of Kosovo.

Dear General Figliuolo,

On behalf of the people of Kosovo, I welcome you to our country. Please rest assured that Kosovo’s institutions will work closely and in coordination with you to cement the joint success and to preserve the legacy of tens of thousands of soldiers in keeping the peace in Kosovo. KFOR continues to be the most esteemed institution, and I am confident that you will further this trust by fulfilling your mandate to provide a safe and secure environment for the citizens of Kosovo and freedom of movement for all.

We will continue to work together on the integration of all citizens into political and social order of the Republic of Kosovo and to work together on the establishment and strengthening of the capacities of Kosovo for it to become a contributor f collective security. We are convinced that only in this manner can we ensure the prosperity of the citizens of our country and guarantee its stability, while we persistently follow and enliven our lasting vision to become part of the Euro-Atlantic family.