BELGRADE – KFOR Commander Lorenzo D’Addario has stated that peacekeeping mission under his command is ready to face any threat to security and that it is committed to protection of all the people in Kosovo.
“We owe it to the people and the future of the region”, D’Addario said in a New Year interview for Tanjug news agency, adding that “for now, there is no indication that something similar to 2004 event could be repeated,” referring to violence which in the Serbian media was named “Pogrom of March”.
Asked how he can convince Serbia that violence seen on that spring will not be repeated, D’Addario, who recently took command of KFOR, said that “many things have changed since 2004 and that the general situation has improved significantly”.
“KFOR constantly monitors the situation and maintains good relations and ties with all local institutions, and, for now, there are no reasons or indications that something similar to the 2004 could be repeated. I noticed that all parties gave a strong determination to avoid conflicts: we all have too much to lose if we return to it. Nobody wants it. However, we all have to refrain from provocative statements, because they could cause wrong perceptions and lead to misunderstandings, and therefore to the challenge and incidents”, D’Addario said .
He has also stated that the political decision on the adoption of three laws that would enable the formation of the Kosovo Army did not affect security and that they have not intervened.
“If necessary, KFOR is ready and under obligation to intervene against any threats to stability in Kosovo”, D’Addario said, and also reminded that, in accordance with UNSC Resolution 1244, there is no obligation for KFOR to react to the adoption of the law.
“The transition of Kosovo Security Forces is a long-term plan, and nothing has changed in two weeks”, D’Adario said, adding that “in any case, KFOR will act to prevent or block any action that could endanger security and security”.
Speaking about the situation in Kosovo in the past month, he said that this period was turbulent at the political level, but that the situation in the field was under control.
“There were some protests, but all were held in a responsible and mature manner, and there wasn’t any violence. KFOR was mostly busy with the upholding its presence, reminding in that way that we are fully committed to meeting our mandate and protecting all the people in Kosovo”, D’Addario stated.
Noting that NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and former KFOR Commander Salvatore Cuoci recently spoke about the possibility of changing KFOR’s mandate in the event of the transformation of the Kosovo Security Forces, and the question of whether, in his opinion, the mandate will change and how, D’Addario said that “NATO Allies will continue consultations on this issue, and that the Secretary General will continue to contact all relevant actors”.
“With the change of the Kosovo security forces mandate, NATO will have to reconsider our level of cooperation with them. For now, KFOR continues to work under the UN mandate and the Transitional Laws of KSF will not affect us”, D’Addario concluded.