Paskas’ first Kosovo visit
| 18:42 -> 19:56 September 01 | Beta
PRISTINA -- Thursday – Serbian-Montenegro Military Chief-of-Staff Dragan Paskas was in Pristina today, which marks the first time a military chief-of-staff has visited Kosovo since the 1999 arrival of NATO forces.
Paskas, who rumors of dismissal have been circling over the past week, attended the ceremony for Italian General Guiseppe Valotto, who is taking over the position of KFOR commander from French General Yves de Kermabon.
The ceremony was not attended by any of the Kosovo government’s high officials, nor members of the Kosovo Protection Corps or the Kosovo police force, as a sign of protest against Paskas’ presence.
The Kosovo government is resentful of Paskas’ attendance, of which they were not informed.
Also in attendance were NATO Commander James Jones, NATO south wing commander Harry Ulrich, French Defense Minister Michel Alio-Mari and Kosovo governor Soeren Jessen Petersen.
The only Kosovo government officials present where Kosovo Parliamentary House Speaker Nedzat Daci and Deputy Prime Minister Adem Saljihaj.
Paskas was invited by now former KFOR commander Yves De Kermabon, with whom Paskas said that he had excellent cooperative relationship.
“I wanted to attend this ceremony as this is where we will finish our excellent cooperation which we had defined and confirmed at our last meeting. I have also now met and had my first contact with the new KFOR commander, the Italian general, and we have defined terms for our first meeting which will take place in October. We have already agreed about several questions which we will be discussing and my real goals will be to, in the meantime, continue this relationship and good partnership with these people who are aware of what their mission is.” Paskas said.
The Kosovo government stated that they were upset that Paskas was invited to the ceremony. The attendance of the general of a military which has committed severe crimes in Kosovo, which has yet to offer an apology, represents an offensive act towards the citizens. The Kosovo government was not consulted or informed of such a decision by General Kermabon and found out about it 45 minutes before the beginning of the ceremony, according to a statement from the Kosovo government.
Commander Valotto has experience already with the multinational brigade which he commanded in Bosnia in 1998 and 1999 and is the tenth KFOR commander to be appointed.
“I am well aware of the situation in Kosovo. I am sure of the team which I have assembled and the directives which I have received from the UN and NATO Admiral Ulrich. I wish to work with UNMIK in order to solve the most important problems in Kosovo. I am sure that this cooperation is the best solution for all and is the only way to achieve the best results. That is my main motto and challenge.” Valloto said.