North Atlantic Council visits KFOR
The NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, the North Atlantic Council and ambassadors of KFOR contributing partners visited KFOR on Wednesday (3 July) to show continued support to the commander of KFOR General Halbauer and his troops, as well as NATO's continued commitment to a better future for the region. “This is a time of great opportunity for Kosovo and for this region. I encourage all the leaders and the people from all communities to continue on the path of reconciliation and dialogue”, the Secretary General said. “Because we all know that this is the path to long-term security, and long-term prosperity.”
The Secretary General met Mr Hashim Thaci and other local government leaders, as well as representatives of international organisations in Kosovo. The Secretary General welcomed the landmark agreement on normalising relations between Belgrade and Pristina.
“This is a very important step. I congratulate all those who helped to make it happen – including the leaders here in Pristina and in Belgrade, and the European Union”, he said. “This agreement offers the hope of a better life, and a better future, for people across this region. It is vital to make sure that the agreement is duly implemented and that hope is fulfilled. The future of this region lies in moving forward. And in moving closer to European integration. Today we see that local institutions are increasingly capable, and we welcome that”, he added.
The Secretary General made clear that NATO and KFOR will continue to guarantee security in Kosovo and remain ready to deal with any attempts to undermine the progress that has been made.
“We will continue to work closely with the local institutions, the European Union, the United Nations and other international organisations, to help develop a stable, democratic, multi-ethnic and peaceful Kosovo,” he said. “Because peace and security here will benefit everyone in the region, and will take us closer to our goal: a Europe that is whole, free, and at peace.”
During the visit, the North Atlantic Council and the representatives of KFOR contributing nations also met with Mr. Hashim Thaci for an exchange of views. They also met with representatives of non-governmental organizations in Kosovo.
The Secretary General also led a visit of the North Atlantic Council to the Patriarchate of Pec, a Serb orthodox heritage site in the west of Kosovo. He was welcomed by Bishop Teodosije, the major of Peja/Pec Ali Berisha and Lt.Col. Hajdaraj Gani, the deputy regional commander of the Kosovo Police. The Secretary General repeated his commitment to the security of the monastery and its religious community, and stressed the progress achieved in the process of transfer of the guarding responsibility of sites of special cultural and religious heritage sites in Kosovo.