On Monday, November 20, Minister of National Defence, Angel Tîlvăr, and the Chief of the Defence Staff, General Daniel Petrescu, met with the Romanian soldiers deployed to Kosovo as part of the NATO KFOR Operation.
In the first part of the visit, the two officials met with the soldiers who man the Romanian structures deployed to the KFOR Base from Pristina.
Then, the official delegation went to Camp Bondsteel, a base where almost 160 Romanian soldiers are deployed, including those from the infantry company that is part of the strategic reserve made available to SACEUR and deployed to Kosovo in mid-October, this year.
Minister Tîlvăr commended the excellent results reported by the command teams of the structures carrying out missions in the Kosovo theater of operations, but also the messages of appreciation sent by the NATO officials regarding the activity of the soldiers deployed by Romania in international missions.
"You are doing an excellent job and, although you have been told before, I want to reinforce the fact that Romania doesn't have any better or more effective ambassadors than you, those who defend our security interests in the most complex theaters of operations in the world", Angel Tîlvăr told the soldiers assigned in mission in Kosovo.
Minister of National Defence showed that the Western Balkans region remains of strategic importance for Romania and that our country will remain engaged in the peacekeeping process in Kosovo.
"Since 2000, when we started conducting missions in Kosovo, our country has been a constant contributor to the peacekeeping efforts in this area. We will remain engaged in this process, as long as necessary, because the volatility of the security situation in the Western Balkans generates legitimate concerns for the consolidation of the national security posture", the Minister of National Defense stated.
Also, Angel Tîlvăr assured about the full support of the MoND leadership team in providing for the best conditions for the execution of missions.
In his turn, the Chief of Defence Staff stated that the situation from Kosovo required the strengthening of the KFOR position, commending the response capacity of the Romanian small unit deployed in this theater of operations, and generated by the 2nd Mountain Troop Brigade, within the terms stipulated by the activation order.
"You contribute to a safer environment in a region, which is a vector in the equation needed to maintain regional stability. In order for the mission to achieve its goal, you, both those from the Romanian permanent forces deployed to KFOR, and those from the reserve forces, such as the Romanian maneuver company, must preserve your readiness level and accomplish your missions alongside the colleagues from the allied and partner contributing states", General Daniel Petrescu declared.
At the end of the meetings, as a sign of appreciation for the way of carrying out the assigned missions, Minister Angel Tîlvăr offered emblems and awards to the soldiers who scored very good results.
NATO has been conducting the multinational peacekeeping operation KFOR (Kosovo Force) since 1999, following the allied intervention that ended the violence in Kosovo. At the beginning, the KFOR force structure consisted of 50,000 soldiers. The operation is carried out under the mandate of the UN Security Council (Resolution No. 1244/1999), and guarantees the safety and freedom of movement for all residents of Kosovo. Currently, KFOR is made up of approximately 4,300 soldiers from 27 allied and partner countries, the multi-ethnic peacebuilding actions being fully coordinated with those of the UN and the EU (European Union Rule of Law Mission in Kosovo - EULEX), as well as with other international organizations. The KFOR command is ensured by rotation by the allied states participating in the operation.
Currently, more than 200 Romanian soldiers are participating in KFOR, of which almost 130 started the mission in October, this year. The decision to augment the Romanian forces was taken as a result of the authorization given by the North-Atlantic Council to augment the forces in order to manage the current situation from the Western Balkans.