President Pahor addresses Slovenian troops in Kosovo: "Your outstanding contribution has helped make Kosovo more stable and secure"
Pristina, Kosovo, 11. 9. 2013 | press release
Slovenian President Borut Pahor continues his two-day official visit to the Republic of Kosovo. For the first time in his capacity as President, he today visited representatives of the Slovenian Armed Forces (SAF) and Slovenian troops engaged in the KFOR peacekeeping mission, and also met with EU Special Representative in Kosovo, Samuel Žbogar, and the Prime Minister of the Republic of Kosovo, Hashim Thaçi. The purpose of his visiting the SAF representatives and Slovenian troops within KFOR is to express his support and thanks for their unselfish and professional commitment to this mission.
At a working breakfast, Mr Pahor first met with EU Special Representative in Kosovo, Samuel Žbogar, who informed him about the EU activities in the country, especially in organising local elections and the settlement of unresolved topical issues.
The Slovenian President and Commander-in-Chief of Defence Forces continued his visit at the KFOR base in Peć, where the SAF representatives outlined the overall security situation, the organisation, the functioning and the deployment of KFOR forces. They also informed the Commander-in Chief about their assessment of the political and security situation and emphasised that the main purpose is to maintain a stable and safe area and ensure free movement. They agreed that the Slovenian Armed Forces play a highly important role within NATO forces in Kosovo and perform their tasks with distinction. Mr Pahor also met with the representatives of the Slovenian police forces operating within EULEX and with MNBG-W Commander, Colonel Pierpaolo Giacomini Tiveron.
At the base, the Slovenian President met with Slovenian soldiers of SAF’s 27th division, who, in supporting the efforts of the international community to ensure stability, operate within the KFOR peacekeeping mission in Kosovo. In his address, Mr Pahor thanked the soldiers and stressed that the international community greatly values their devotion and professional attitude towards their mission, as Slovenia’s role is not only in ensuring military and security stability, but also in ensuring political stability. Slovenia bears its share of responsibility towards the region also because of its skills in settling international disputes, a quality which is invaluable to peace and welfare in this part of Europe: "Here, people expect you to act neutrally, within your competences and for the benefit of peace and stability of the country as a whole. In terms of peace and stability, your mission is also important for our national security," said Mr Pahor. The President also pointed out that Slovenian troops were also contributing their share to a peaceful agreement between Pristina and Belgrade, as the implementation of certain measures contributed to long-term peace in the region: "You enjoy trust which, during the current crisis, is not something that is self-evident, and in a precarious situation, perform your tasks beyond criticism, which you can consider an honour," concluded President Pahor.
President Pahor concluded his official visit by attending a working lunch held in his honour by Kosovo’s Prime Minister, Hashim Thaçi. They agreed that there are no open issues in bilateral relations. Mr Pahor congratulated Prime Minister Thaçi on the agreement reached between Pristina and Belgrade, while pointing out that this achievement will be followed by a demanding phase of its implementation. They also shared the view that local elections will be an important test of the respect of agreements reached between the two parties. President Pahor reiterated Slovenia’s support for Kosovo’s European orientation, but nevertheless pointed out that the principal task of the country is to strengthen its institutions and, in particular, the establishment of the rule of law. Within the EU perspective for Kosovo, the conclusion of the Stabilisation and Association Agreement and the beginning of a dialogue on visa liberalisation are of paramount importance, whereby Kosovo can count on Slovenia’s support. Mr Pahor and Mr Thaçi also discussed economic cooperation, particularly in the light of Slovenia’s investments in Kosovo.