by Dr. Javier Solana, Secretary General of NATO
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It gives me great pleasure to participate in the inauguration of the Kosovo Verification Coordination Centre. This Centre is further proof of NATO's determination to help establish long-term peace and stability in Kosovo, and indeed in the entire Balkan region.
I would like to express, on behalf of the Alliance and Partner countries participating in the work of the Kosovo Verification Coordination Centre (KVCC), our deepest gratitude to the Authorities of your country for hosting this Centre. We very much appreciate your support of the efforts by the international community to find a lasting political solution for Kosovo. Your support has been steady even in difficult circumstances. This has not gone unnoticed, and I assure you of NATO's continued solidarity. The security of our Partners is of concern to us all.
The Kosovo Verification Coordination Centre will play an important liaison, planning, coordination and information exchange role with the OSCE mission in Pristina. The Centre thus represents another step forward in NATO-OSCE relations and in creating a workable system of mutually reinforcing institutions strengthening security for our continent.
The OSCE of course carries the main burden on the ground in verifying compliance by all parties with the provisions of UNSCR 1199 in Kosovo. But the OSCE cannot do it alone. The assistance offered by NATO - through its air reconnaissance and through the NATO-led Extraction Force - is essential for the success of the OSCE's mission. The KVCC, by providing for effective coordination between OSCE and NATO, will ensure that NATO's assistance will be carried out with the effectiveness and the professionalism that have always been the hallmark of this Alliance.
Peace and stability in Kosovo may still be a long way off. Yet the spirit of cooperation we can see at work here today makes me hopeful that a lasting solution ultimately can be found. More than once NATO and its Partners have demonstrated that determination can make a difference. If we remain resolute in our efforts, we will also succeed in this difficult endeavour.
I would like to thank General Amos and the men and women under his command for the excellent work they have done to establish the KVCC.
Again, my heartfelt thanks to our hosts, and my best wishes to the Kosovo Verification Coordination Centre.