Kosovo: Italy's General Farina takes over KFOR command

In Pristina ceremony, with Chief of Staff Binelli Mantelli

06 September, 17:23

    (ANSAmed) - PRISTINA, SEPTEMBER 6 - Italian General Salvatore Farina, 56, took command of the NATO-led Kosovo Force (KFOR) in a ceremony in the Kosovar capital on Friday.

    Kosovar President Atifete Jahjaga and Italy's defense chief of staff, Admiral Luigi Binelli Mantelli, were present at the ceremony in which Farina took over from German General Volker Halbauer, whose mandate expired today. Jahjaga congratulated Halbauer for his leadership of the KFOR mission, which she said is a factor of peace and stability in the region. Kosovo will continue enacting reforms to hasten its path towards the EU and NATO, Kosovo's first female president said.

    Farina has served previously in Bosnia-Herzegovina. The KFOR Italian contingent numbers 504 troops, the third largest after the German (810) and US (750) contingents.

    KFOR currently maintains just under 5,000 soldiers in Kosovo, down from almost 40,000 troops deployed there just after the Balkan wars of the late 1990s. (ANSAmed).

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