The Minister of National Defense, Angel Tîlvăr, and the Chief of the Defense Staff, General Daniel Petrescu, met with the Romanian soldiers deployed in the NATO and EU missions in the Western Balkans, MApN reports through a press release. The Minister of Defense emphasized the important contribution of our country in the area, while NATO is considering a permanent increase in the number of troops to keep tensions under control.
The Minister of Defense and the Chief of the General Staff had meetings with the Commander of the EU EUFOR ALTHEA mission, Major General Helmut Habermayer, and with the Commander of the NATO Command in Sarajevo, Brigadier General Pamela McGaha. The discussions focused on the security situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the future perspectives regarding the presence of the Romanian military within NATO KFOR and EUFOR ALTHEA.
“The stability of the Western Balkans region remains a priority for Romania, as it is of strategic importance for Euro-Atlantic security. Romania’s operational involvement in this region, both within the NATO KFOR mission and within the EU EUFOR ALTHEA mission, is proof of our firm commitment in the Balkans”, the defense minister emphasized during the official discussions.
The Minister of Defense highlighted the important contribution of our country with military personnel and equipment to ensuring a safe and stable security environment in Bosnia and Herzegovina, including through the recent deployment of an infantry company from the intermediate force reserve, requested by the EUFOR operation commander.
“Romania is one of the main contributors to EUFOR ALTHEA, having over 400 soldiers deployed in the theater. We remain firmly committed to this operation, which has a key role in supporting local authorities in maintaining a stable and safe environment”, said Angel Tîlvăr.
General Daniel Petrescu made clarifications about the contribution of the army to complying with the commitments undertaken by our country to preserve a climate of stability in the Balkans
“In Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Romanian military represents one of the longest presences in the international effort for security and one of the most visible presences of the European Union force in this state. The exemplary way in which our soldiers carry out their foreign missions is further reflected in the credibility gained by the EU in the theater of operations in Bosnia and Herzegovina,” said the Chief of the General Staff.
In the second part of the visit, the MApN leadership met with Romanian soldiers from the force structure of EUFOR ALTHEA, on which occasion Minister Angel Tîlvăr emphasized that the recent deployment of two reserve infantry companies in Kosovo and Bosnia and Herzegovina represents a concrete proof of Romania’s consistency in fulfilling its commitments to the security of the Western Balkans and gave some advice to the military.
“Soldiers like you, through professionalism, dedication and love of country, place the army at the top of the trust that Romanians have in state institutions. By what you do in the theaters of operations, you make us proud of you and confident that the missions you have to fulfill will be crowned with success. Equally, I wish you a safe return home. I also express my deep respect for your families at home, who give you the strength to dedicate yourself to an extremely difficult job. I am convinced that you will overcome any challenge, but do not hesitate to ask your commanders and us for support whenever you feel you need it,” the minister said.
General Petrescu also emphasized the fact that through the increased level of troops deployed in the theaters of operations, Romania demonstrates that it honors its commitments in the field of security.
“The simultaneous deployment of two companies from the reserve forces to Kosovo and Bosnia, totaling nearly 300 troops, within the timescales and to the standards set forth in the activation documents, is an important success for our military, proving the maturity of the planning and command system military operations”, he emphasized.
Angel Tîlvăr and General Daniel Petrescu offered some soldiers honorary and merit emblems.
The North Atlantic Treaty Organization sent hundreds of extra troops to Kosovo from Britain and Romania after clashes between police and armed Serbs holed up in a monastery on September 24 turned a quiet village in northern Kosovo into an area of war, reports Reuters, taken over by News.ro.
“We are now looking at whether we should have an increase that is permanent to make sure that things do not get out of hand and create a new violent conflict in Kosovo or in the wider region,” Jens Stoltenberg said during a visit to Kosovo.
The September firefight sparked fresh international concerns about the stability of Kosovo, which has an ethnic Albanian majority and declared independence from Serbia in 2008 after guerrilla fighting and a NATO intervention in 1999.
About 50,000 ethnic Serbs living in northern Kosovo do not recognize the institutions in Pristina and consider Belgrade their capital. They have often clashed with Kosovo police and international peacekeepers, but the violence in September was the worst in years.
NATO’s KFOR peacekeeping mission, which has been operating since 1999, currently comprises more than 4,500 soldiers from 27 countries.
The EUFOR ALTHEA operation of the European Union in Bosnia and Herzegovina was launched in December 2004, based on the mandate of the UN Security Council (UN Resolution No. 1575/2004). The mission succeeds the SFOR and IFOR operations, carried out under NATO command. Since 2012, EUFOR ALTHEA has focused on training and strengthening the capacity of the armed forces of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Currently, 22 countries participate in the EUFOR ALTHEA operation: Albania, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Chile, Czech Republic, Switzerland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, North Macedonia, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia , Slovenia, Spain, Turkey and Hungary.
Since May, the position of Chief of Staff of EUFOR ALTHEA has been held by Brigadier General Ovidiu Lungu.
Romania’s contribution to the EUFOR ALTHEA operation reflects both the strengthening of the commitment assumed within the European Union and the NATO-EU partnership, representing, at the same time, an element of maintaining security and stability in the region.
Editor : M.I.