Address by the President of the Republic of Kosovo Vjosa Osmani at the Military Medal awarding ceremony, bestowed to the Portuguese troops which have served in Kosovo

Honorable Minister Gomes Cravinho

Honorable Admiral Silva Ribeiro,

Dear members of the armed forces,

Distinguished guests

I am very honored to be with the troops, which 23 years ago departed from this exact venue to became part of the NATO intervention aimed at protecting and freeing us from the Milosevic’s genocidal regime.

You stood on the right side of the story. In 1999, you stood up for justice, you stood up for freedom as a universal right, you stood up protecting for protecting a people from extermination by a tyrannical regime.

I thank you heartfully on my behalf, as President of the Republic of Kosovo and on behalf of the people of my country!

At a time when there was no clear line of division between life and death, in addition to helping us with winning the freedom we always dreamt of, you also became our shelter. A number of Kosovar families who risked their lives found refuge in Portugal. Your country opened the door and the heart for us. We are eternally grateful and thankful!

As if that was not enough, you stood by us in sustaining that peace and preserving it. As much as 6 thousand troops of your army, served in Kosovo a spart of the KFOR mission to ensure a peaceful and stable environment.

Six years ago, the last contingent of the Portuguese army completed its peacekeeping mission in Kosovo, leaving behind good memories to every citizen of Kosovo.

A Portuguese soldier has fallen on duty during his mission in Kosovo. He will forever be remembered and will eternally serve as a special bound between the two countries and our people. In his honor, but also of all the soldiers who have served in Kosovo, we have already started the procedures to build a memorial to remember their lives and deed. I hope to be able invite you to its inauguration in the near future!

Thank you for your valuable contribution! Rest assured – you will always have a special place in the hearts and minds of every Kosovar. 

During this mission, you manifested dignity and pride, becoming guardians of freedom, so I am here today in front of you on my first visit to your country not only to thank you, but also to decorate you for your heroism, your courage and the human spirit that you witnessed two decades ago. I hope that in the future there will be less and less need for such interventions. I wish that peace will always prevail and that people everywhere in the globe live in peace and harmony!

Dear military,

As the Commander-in-Chief of the Kosovo Army, I tell you that we need your help again. This time not to save our lives, but to build partnerships with our Kosovo Security Force. The Kosovo Security Force is expanding its capabilities and is in the process of transformation. Our soldiers have just returned from the first peacekeeping mission with the US Army in Kuwait. I have full confidence that our soldiers can greatly benefit from the experience of your soldiers.

In addition to a cooperation in the military field, I look forward to the day when our forces will serve alongside your forces in NATO in the near future. This alliance is our goal and our strategic interest.

We have built an army, which is capable not only of defending the territorial integrity of our country, but also of becoming a defender of peace wherever it is needed.

You have intervened through NATO, we hope to meet you soon in NATO!

God bless the army of Portugal and the Kosovo Security Force!

God bless our peoples!

Lisbon, October 29th 2021