REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT JAHJAGA, DURING THE CEREMONY TO MARK THE KFOR CHANGE OF COMMAND

The North Atlantic Alliance, with its peacekeeping force in Kosovo, KFOR, has played a transformative role in its mission in Kosovo. This force, consisting of thousands of men and women from over 40 countries around the world, has ensured peace and stability for the citizens of Kosovo, giving us the opportunity to shape our future in a safe and secure environment; an environment which was not familiar for this generation of Kosovo before.

Honorable leaders of the Institutions of the Republic of Kosovo,
Honorable Admiral  Clingan,
Honorable General Drews and General Halbauer,
Honorable peacekeeping soldiers and officers of KFOR,
Honorable leaders of Religious Communities in Kosovo,
Honored guests,
Ladies and Gentlemen,


The North Atlantic Alliance, with its peacekeeping force in Kosovo, KFOR, has played a transformative role in its mission in Kosovo. This force, consisting of thousands of men and women from over 40 countries around the world, has ensured peace and stability for the citizens of Kosovo, giving us the opportunity to shape our future in a safe and secure environment; an environment which was not familiar for this generation of Kosovo before.

Thanks to your presence in Kosovo, our country was able to overcome most consequences of war within a short period of time, to rebuild the state, to develop the economy, and to consolidate peace, thereby building and strengthening democratic institutions and making a significant contribution to regional stability. 

This is a joint success that makes us all proud.

Citizens of today are masters of their own fate who have the courage to shape their own long-term future and who share a clear vision on the country’s and people’s path towards European Union integration. The institutions of Kosovo have always had your support; and for KFOR’s peacekeeping support, please allow me to thank you on behalf of the citizens of the Republic of Kosovo.

The ceremony to mark the KFOR change of command bears a special significance, because it is marked at the time of the successful conclusion of the supervised independence of the Republic of Kosovo. The role of KFOR soldiers throughout this process has been extraordinary, standing by us in our journey of joining the family of free nations, while creating conditions to build a multi-ethnic society founded on respect for law, order, and security provision for all.  

Honorable General Drews,

It was a special honor to meet you and work with you during this year, demonstrating your commitment to contribute on Kosovo’s peace and stability.

You have shown extraordinary leadership, maturity and a spirit of cooperation with Kosovo institutions, which resulted in better and effective coordination in fulfilling our duties, our common vision for ensuring a safe environment in Kosovo.

I found in you a genuine personality, a strong supporter of the rule of law, order, and democratic processes in my country.

Honorable General Drews, please accept my sincere gratitude and respect for your hard work during your mission in the Republic of Kosovo. 

I honor you, by a special decree, with the Military Medal for Service in Kosovo.

Honorable General Halbauer,

On behalf of the citizens of the Republic of Kosovo, I express to you a warm welcome and I wish you a successful completion of your mission, in cooperation with the institutions of the Republic of Kosovo, in ensuring the rule of law and order, preserving peace, security, stability, prosperity and understanding between people, while being confident in your dedication to preserve the territorial integrity of Kosovo.

On behalf of the institutions of Kosovo, I guarantee that you can count on our cooperation. KFOR remains the most respected and trusted international mission and, as such, it enjoys the support of all communities in Kosovo.

We share the same commitment towards the values and ideals of building a better life for our citizens, founded on principles of democracy, equality, and full rights and freedoms for all citizens, regardless of their differences. 

We know that we have your continued support in order to tackle challenges that the rule of law and order face in Kosovo, to guarantee freedom of movement in every corner of Kosovo and to deter law offenders who play with the fate and lives of the citizens of Kosovo.

Nobody can undermine our joint investment for a brighter future for all in Kosovo – the sacrifice of entire generations of Kosovo citizens and thousands of NATO soldiers.

We will continue to work on fulfilling our joint vision and mission to make Kosovo a stable and inclusive country on its path towards Euro-Atlantic integration.

Thank you!