by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg to the KFOR troops

  • 01 Jul. 2021 -
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  • Last updated: 01 Jul. 2021 15:07

(As delivered)

General Federici.


Good afternoon to all of you.

And thank you so much for taking the time to meet me.

It’s great for me to be back in Pristina, back in Kosovo, and once again be able to meet KFOR and troops from different nations participating in our very important mission here.

I can also start by congratulating Canada with their National Day. So congratulation to you.

The fact that we are so many nations here from NATO allied countries, but also from some partner nations, that demonstrates the strength of our mission. It demonstrates the commitment by many nations to stability, peace in Kosovo and in this region. And you have to know that the KFOR mission is important not only for Kosovo, for the region, but it's also important for NATO and for all NATO allies, because we have seen throughout history, that stability in this region matters for all of us. It matters for Europe, it matters for NATO.

So as we often say in NATO, when our neighbourhood is more stable we are more secure. And you are helping us to achieve that. My main message today is to thank all the men and women serving in KFOR. All the men and women who have made this possible. And also know that you have been not only dealing with the security situation, the political challenges in this region in Kosovo, but also you have been in a situation where you have been… where there's been a need to also deal with the pandemic, and cope with Covid-19. And that's always difficult but of course it's particularly challenging in a military operation, mission, as KFOR.

So I know that you have been able to handle the pandemic in a professional way and contain a limited number of infected people, and I commend you also for the way you have been able to cope with the pandemic as you also conduct your important work in the KFOR mission.

Let me also say that KFOR is as you all know the longest lasting military operation in NATO. Of course we have different military activities, we have NATO activities inside NATO territory, and of course we had that for more than 70 years, as long as NATO has existed.

But when we look at military missions and operations outside NATO, there is no other mission or operation that has lasted longer than KFOR.

For many, many years of course the operation in Afghanistan was the biggest, but as we speak shortly we’ll end that mission. KFOR will not only be the longest, but also the biggest NATO military operation.

So, once again, thank you for what you do. We are extremely grateful.

Thank you for your service. It is important for all of us that you do that in the way you do, with the commitment, with the professionalism, and with the dedication you all show and demonstrate every day.

So thank you so much.

And once again, thank you, to you, General. Thank you.