Honourable Commander of the Kosovo Security Force, Lieutenant General Jashari,
Honourable Colonel Dreshaj- Deputy Commander of the Ground Force Command,
Honourable soldiers, non-commissioned officers and officers of our Army,
As we meet here in Istog, at the ground forces command at the end of an extremely challenging year, I am convinced that each of you stands in honour of the flag of the Republic of Kosovo, with the full conviction that the oath you gave to serve the motherland at any time and at any moment is more sacred than anything else.
And this very readiness of yours, to serve the country and protect it from any danger, makes us all proud and for me as the supreme commander of this army built upon so many sacrifices, it is an honour and a privilege each and every time I am among you.
Your successes in capacity building, together with the commitment of the institutions to increase the budget and support for the defense sector, will lead us even faster toward what we have set as a strategic vision and specified destination: our deserved place in NATO.
Together with our international partners and as an obligation to the women and men who gave their lives for the freedom of Kosovo for us to live free and in peace, we will soon take our rightful place in the North Atlantic Alliance by showing to the world that we are ready not only to maintain peace but also to protect it at any time and at any corner of the globe.
But above all, the boys and girls of our Force are ready to protect the territorial integrity and sovereignty of our state, the Republic of Kosovo, every single inch.
You stand out for your dedication to your country, for the level of your professionalism, for your discipline and dedication to duty and for your respect towards your country. This makes us proud as a leader but also as a country, so I thank you all for this commitment shown.
The year that we are leaving behind was filled with challenges not only for us, but for the whole world. We must be aware that the challenges will increase alongside the efforts to challenge world peace and order by authoritarian and hegemonic regimes. At a time when the security architecture in our continent is being challenged and attacked, in addition to the threat to peace in the world, strengthening our defense capacities is a must.
Therefore, today, more than ever, we need devotion to the homeland, vigilance and determination to become guardians of the Republic.
You wear your uniform with dignity and pride, in Kosovo and abroad, as you perform your duties throughout the country and support our partners and allies in peacekeeping missions, raising high and honouring the flag of the state of Kosovo.
This proves once again that the KSF is ready and prepared for operations in the service of global peace, stability and security.
This year, KSF soldiers came second out of over 100 armies from around the world in the UK's most important military patrol competition.
Our officers and non-commissioned officers in education and training abroad have achieved culminating results, with the Republic of Kosovo excelling together with them.
This is the soul of our army, these are not only our defenders but also the best representatives of the Republic.
In the coming year, you will have the opportunity to elevate the state with professionalism again, by participating in the largest training of the American forces in the history of our region in “Defender-Europe 23”, where Kosovo will have the status of the host country.
Hence our army is steadily transforming into a professional military force interacting with NATO forces.
This is a result that comes from the dedication of the soldiers of the Force and at the same time from the permanent support of our Western allies, especially from the United States of America.
Therefore, at the end of this year, in addition to the thanks to each of you, led by Commander Jashari, equally massive gratitude to all our allies led by the USA, who are helping us continue to train and prepare our army and increase its capacities!
As every year, our Army enjoys this year too the greatest citizen support among the country's institutions. This is the result of your commitment, your persistence and, above all, your willingness to serve the country.
You are constantly making us proud, so thank you on behalf of all the citizens of the Republic of Kosovo.
Dear soldiers, non-commissioned officers and officers,
The army is the most powerful pillar of the state and we will always treat it as such. In 2023, the budget for the KSF has increased and will be in function of the further modernization of our forces.
With a budget of 123 million euros, we aim to increase the skills and operational capacities of the KSF in defense of our country.
You are the ones who represent all the citizens of the Republic of Kosovo without distinction with your free will, and you have chosen to serve our state with great dedication.
On end-of-the-year holidays like this, we must remember and be infinitely grateful to many of you who are on duty on holidays, looking after our country.
On behalf of all the citizens of Kosovo, I thank you for your service, discipline and dedication to duty, while together with you we also show our boundless gratitude to our policemen on duty who are defending the homeland each and every day.
For this reason, we will appraise the achievements of experienced officers as well as of some of the units of the KSF for professionalism, by awarding honours to them for this year's successes but also the successes throughout their service following the proposal made by the KSF.
Also, by the end of the week, I will complete the process of promotions and appointments of senior officers and commanding positions in the KSF following the proposals that have come to me.
As you remain ready and prepared to always defend the homeland – I wish that the coming New Year brings peace, prosperity and health to your families and to all the citizens of the Republic of Kosovo!
And for all those who want to challenge the peace and challenge our freedom, we remind you once again from here where we stand in defense of our country's flag, that there is nothing that can defeat the will of a people to live free and independent. We witnessed this in the 90s when our liberation army, although the smallest in numbers compared to the genocidal army and the Serbian police, had the will and fighting spirit many times greater because it was in defense of the homeland. This fighting spirit, in defense of our common home- Kosovo, resulted in the freedom we enjoy today and which we will defend at any cost and at any moment.
Therefore, every day when you put on this sacred uniform, do not forget the sacrifice that has been made for this day to come, the blood that has been shed so that the day of freedom may dawn and that you may enjoy this uniform with us. Wear this uniform also for those who are not with us any longer and let the vision of our heroes and martyrs continue to be our guiding light for as long as we protect the state created with so much toil and so much sacrifice.
God bless our army!
God bless the Republic of Kosovo!