Honourable Prime Minister, Mr. Albin Kurti!
Honourable Minister of Defense, Mr. Mehaj!
Honourable Deputy Prime Ministers, Ministers of the Government of Kosovo!
Honourable Commander of the Kosovo Security Force!,
Distinguished Excellencies, Ambassadors!
Highly esteemed media representatives,
But above all, dear servicemen and women; officers and non-commissioned officers!
Today, on this special day of yours and the most important day of our Force, the Force of the Republic of Kosovo, I have the special honour and pleasure to wish you all a happy day of the Force.
I am just as happy as since November last year, when we marked your day together, our Forces have enjoyed rapid development, transforming from a keeper of internal peace to an important factor in maintaining global security, as a reliable and important partner of the most powerful army in the world, that of the USA, and of other partners within the most powerful military alliance in the history of mankind, that of NATO.
Therefore, let me start my speech by emphasizing this dimension, from which comes our great pride in the Security Force. Months ago, members of the Kosovo Security Force, for the first time in the history of our forces, embarked on an international peacekeeping mission in Kuwait, within the contingent of the IOWA Guard, the US Army. This was the first but very important step to see our dream of becoming a builder and guarantor of global peace come true, as well as to serve alongside our historic allies in ensuring global security. I am grateful to all our soldiers who served with zeal and dedication in this mission and of which the whole of Kosovo is proud.
Also during the summer, Kosovo was part of the “Defender 21 Europe” exercise, one of the largest since World War II, led by the US Army. For the first time, Kosovo was the host country for such an international exercise. During the “Defender 21” exercise, the KSF for the first time validated its infantry capabilities at a company level in the international level. Validation of the combat capabilities of the KSF Infantry was done by the assessment teams of the US Army, in cooperation with the assessment teams of the KSF. This was the second, very important step of further approximation of the KSF with the NATO army and proof that it is developing strongly. Part of this empowerment was the supply of military equipment and vehicles, including 55 ASVs, donated by the United States.
Thirdly, the KSF has correctly understood the feeling of the people of Kosovo to become part of our permanent alliance with the United States by helping the Afghan refugee crisis. The transportation and escorting of many Afghan refugees from Prishtina Airport to the refugee camps in Ferizaj is a sign not only of the implementation of the decisions of institutions with dignity but also of nurturing a sense of support for the displaced.
Let me underline: the whole partnership with the United States and with NATO friendly countries, demonstrated in all these activities, is vital for us as the Republic of Kosovo, as is the strengthening of our defense capabilities. The supply of military equipment, both donated and recently purchased, is proof that we are building these capacities, so much needed for the defense of our country.
I will remind you here again: At the time when we were conducting the exercise with NATO forces, our northern neighbour, a constant threat to peace and security in the region, was conducting military manoeuvres with the other global threat, Russia.
The Kosovo Army has strong foundations because it is built and structured on the sacrifice of whole generations, sublimated in the sublime sacrifice of Commander Adem Jashari and of the entire Jashari family, in the KLA war and the Euro-Atlantic vision of Kosovo, the creator of statehood of Kosovo, our historic president of Kosovo Dr. Ibrahim Rugova.
Today, our army is growing and developing on the vision of the people of Kosovo for a modern army, which is able to professionally and tactically defend the homeland at all times.
Today it is turning into a modern army, thanks to the perseverance and sacrifice of our girls and boys. The Army is developing its capabilities day by day, continuing a beneficial training and education program in partner countries. As a result of this partnership, we have built strong professional capacities, which are being proven all around the world. Therefore, to recognize this merit to our sons and daughters, who are honouring the Force, but also in honouring all the people of Kosovo, I have decided to honour some of them, selected among the multitude of many other soldiers as worthy of this award, with the Presidential Medal of Merit soldiers that today are the representative face of the KSF around the world, making us proud of their achievements and becoming the first among the best wherever they studied, whether in the United States, the United Kingdom, or elsewhere.
Dear members of the army!
Your results around the world are an example of how to serve the homeland. Your commitment to knowledge, to your professional development, as well as the sacrifice to reach the peaks of discipline and skills at work, in addition to reaching peak achievement, which is also proof that for you no barrier is insurmountable. You should be proud of your achievements, but also of the fact that you are part of a military formation, which has a sacred mission: the protection of the territorial integrity and security of the citizens of the Republic, the defense of the homeland for which much has been sacrificed. The soldiers, officers and non-commissioned officers of the KSF, who are achieving excellent results in the world's most famous military academies and in international competitions, are proving every day this will and this readiness.
On this special day, I would also like to express our gratitude to our allies, the armies of friendly countries, members of NATO, starting with the US military but also every other member who is making sure each day that our Forces Armed Forces further develop and transform into a professional military force, interactive with NATO forces, with the alliance where we belong, where this army of ours has its home. With these armies, we are building strong strategic partnerships and making sure that together we fulfil our mission, the mission of many a generation.
We will further strengthen and deepen this strategic partnership. NATO membership is a strategic objective of the Republic of Kosovo for which we will be constantly committed, but it is also an objective that ensures peace and stability throughout the region and beyond. To this end, we are increasing support for the military, to ensure that our Armed Forces are integrated as soon as possible into NATO structures where they deserve it.
God bless our Forces!
God bless the Republic of Kosovo!
Honors to the homeland