1. What is the purpose of your visit today in Kosovo?
I come to Kosovo periodically to do an assessment. To see how are our forces are doing here as a Commander JFC Naples. KFOR falls under my operational control within NATO. So I come here to asses how our forces are doing, how they are supplied and how the situation is developing here in Kosovo.
2. Yesterday in accordance with KFOR mandate, KFOR carried out freedom of movement operations…Can You comment on this and the violence that occurred yesterday?
Well you know the mandate for KFOR for many years has been the SASE and FOM for everyone and in that regard they do not do two sides, they just expect to be allowed to have happened. Unfortunately due to some ongoing events in the North, there has been a need for KFOR to reassure that all the people of Kosovo including the people in the North that the freedom of movement is for everyone including the legitimate institutions that are attempting to produce a safe and secure and law and order environment in Kosovo.
3. What is your view of the situation in the North and the roadblocks?
First of all I think that the right solution for the roadblocks in the North is political dialogue. If we look back, Kosovo, Northern Kosovo have came a long way in the last 12 years. So much significant progress and now is the time I think for dialogue to really work. What KFOR and NATO can do is to provide a security environment that allows that dialogue to take place. So when the people in the North are encouraged to put up road blocks that restricts their freedom of movement and the freedom of movement of things like ambulances, police forces, and even the supply of food and logistic for the people. It creates an environment where they are not only harming themselves but they are also allowing those individuals in the North that may have criminal aspirations in mind to be able to operate freely and do not allow the legitimate institutions like KFOR to be able to do their job. So we really do need the people in northern Kosovo to take down the road blocks. It is not productive to the overall dialogue that’s occurring between Pristina and Belgrade. It’s not helpful for KFOR as they try to insure the security in the North. It’s not creating a situation that ads much value.
4. Any final thoughts on your visit to Kosovo today?
I would again go back to remind everybody how far we’ve come in these area. Not just KFOR but all Kosovars, both Kosovo Albanians and Kosovo Serbs. You really have an opportunity here to move in to the future in a very big way. There are some remaining issues certainly that are now being dealt with through dialogue, that have to do particularly with the North. But there is a lot of reason for hope here. We just need to make shore that we immediate the situation with the roadblocks and restoring the freedom of movement don’t distract us from the longer vision of this country needs to be and can be.