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Italian Minister Crosetto in Kosovo. Meeting with counterpart Maqedonci and KFOR Commander Ulutaş

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Defence Minister Guido Crosetto was in Pristina to spend Good Friday with the Italian military. Once in Kosovo, he also met with his counterpart Ejup Maqedonci.

During the bilateral meeting at the Ministry of Defence, Minister Crosetto said that “over 20 years of Italian commitment in the NATO KFOR mission to promote peace and stability, confirm the strong bond of friendship between Italy and Kosovo. Our presence is decisive in mitigating tensions and averting escalation between the parties” adding that “stability in the Balkans is a priority for Italy. We have examined opportunities for cooperation with the Kosovo Security Forces and we are willing to find ways together to make cooperation increasingly effective”.

Thereafter, Minister Crosetto met with KFOR Commander Major General Özkan Ulutaş at the NATO Headquarters. “Italy is ready to take again the Command of the mission, this is a fundamental commitment for the stability of the region and the whole of Europe”, he said.

Afterwards, the Minister met with the Italian military personnel deployed in Kosovo, taking the opportunity to convey, on behalf of the Government and Italians, his wishes for a Holy Easter. “You are contributing to Italy’s international credibility at a complex time. Best wishes to you, who are serving our Country far from home, and to your loved ones, to whom my thanks go. Italians are proud of you”, Minister said.

Italy is currently engaged in 39 international missions in 25 countries, with over 12,000 military personnel in out-of-area operations and over 5,000 in domestic ones. In Kosovo there are approximately 800 military personnel operating according to UN Security Council Resolution 1244 of 1999.

Source: Italian Ministry of Defence