NATO-led force in Kosovo has new commander

KOSOVO

In a ceremony held at KFOR HQ in Priština on Tuesday, German General Markus Bentler took over as commander of the NATO-led force in Kosovo.

He replaced Italian General Giuseppe Emilio Gay.

The outgoing commander said that a gradual reduction of NATO members would not mean the end of engagement, but that it would strengthen and confirm the progress achieved.

He added that KFOR “would continue to provide safety, security and freedom of movement to all citizens of Kosovo”.

Bentler said that “cooperation with institutions in Kosovo and international missions must continue”.

“We have to ensure a secure life with a reduced staff and it will be a challenge for me,” he told a news conference.

Bentler took over the duty as the 14th commander of KFOR, since the international forces headed by NATO arrived in the southern Serbian province in June 1999.

Head of the Joint Force Command in Naples Admiral Mark Fitzgerald said at the ceremony that “in coordination with international partners and local institutions, KFOR will continue to provide support to all Kosovo citizens in creating a peaceful and stable environment, encouraging economic development and a free and democratic society”.

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