Kosovo Hails NATO Contribution as it Celebrates Quarter Century of Liberation

Kosovo leaders observed a parade of military and police forces in Prishtina’s city centre on the 25th anniversary of the country’s liberation.

Military and police forces paraded through Prishtina’s main squares on Wednesday as Kosovo marked the 25th anniversary of liberation from Serbia, a pivotal moment in the country’s history and the end of a devastating war with over 13,000 casualties.

Many different events were held throughout Kosovo to honour the 25th anniversary of NATO ground troops first entering the country after a 78-day aerial bombardment which expelled Serbian forces. Thousands of troops from the military alliance remain in Kosovo to ensure peace and stability.

There were more than 13,000 casualties during the Kosovo war.

Kosovo Military Parading through Prishtina main square on June 12, 2024, Photo: BIRN

Former US President Bill Clinton, via a post on X, emphasised that the NATO air campaign ended repression and ethnic cleansing in Kosovo.

“Twenty-five years ago, the United States led NATO Allies in an air campaign that successfully expelled Serbian forces, ending a decade of repression and a brutal campaign of ethnic cleansing, bringing the war in Kosovo to an end. Today I am giving thanks for 25 years of peace in Kosovo,” Clinton wrote.

Kosovo Prime minister Albin Kurti stated that June 12 “evokes a multitude of emotions for the people of Kosovo, the foremost being relief, joy, and hope”.

Kosovo Police Parading through Prishtina main square on June 12, 2024, Photo: BIRN

“The road ahead after liberation was not easy; the Serbian Army had yet to leave the country, and we had just begun to reckon with the vast devastation left by a genocidal campaign”, Kurti wrote on X 

In her speech at a solemn session of the Assembly of Kosovo, the President of Kosovo, Vjosa Osmani, stated that NATO troops were not just soldiers, but also saviours.

“They brought with them the promise of freedom, the assurance that the world had not forgotten the people of Kosovo, and the determination to end the atrocities committed against our people,” Osmani expressed.

Kosovo Police Special Unit Parading through Prishtina main square on June 12, 2024, Photo: BIRN

 The German Ambassador to Kosovo, Jorn Rohde, called the intervention a success story.

“Today 25 years ago NATO’s KFOR mission started. To quote former UK Defence Secretary/NATO Secretary General Lord Robertson: The aim was Milosevic forces out, NATO in, and refugees back. Mission was accomplished. Kosovo declared independence in 2008 and is a success story. Germany is and remains among Kosovo’s closest partners,” he wrote on X.

The Kosovo Force, KFOR, also marked the anniversary of its engagement in Kosovo at a ceremony held in the mission headquarters.

NATO Mission in Kosovo, KFOR marks the anniversary of its engagement in Kosovo, Photo: KFOR

“It is a privilege to stand here with you all, as Commander of the longest mission in the history of our Alliance, and currently its largest; KFOR represents NATO’s tangible, long-standing and steadfast commitment to security across Kosovo and to regional stability, thanks to the daily dedication and professionalism of its soldiers and civilian personnel,”  KFOR Commander Major General Özkan Ulutaş said. 

“KFOR’s role remains essential; I am honoured to continue sharing this journey with you, and I will spare no effort, together with the thousands of women and men in uniform, from NATO Allies and partners, whom I am proud to command,” he added. 

Currently, around 4,500 peacekeepers from 28 countries serve in KFOR. 


12 June 2024 - 15:49

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