by Lt.-Cdr. Philip Anido, KFOR Spokesperson
Exercise Dynamic Response 2000
The tactical training phase of Exercise Dynamic Response 2000 concluded yesterday afternoon and KFOR's Special Reserve Force (SRF) units are now in the process of preparing to re-deploy to their home bases.
The Commander of KFOR, General Dr Klaus Reinhardt as well as all the KFOR and SRF units who have participated in the exercise consider the maneuvres to have had a very high training value. The objectives of rapid deployment to Kosovo as reinforcements for KFOR, learning the routes and terrain, and interoperability have all been practiced and many lessons have been learned.
General Reinhardt Welcomes Serb Participation in UN Structures
"I greatly welcome the news that the leaders of the Serb community have decided to participate as observers on the Interim Administrative Council and the Kosovo Transitional Council," says the Commander of KFOR, General Dr. Klaus Reinhardt.
"Their involvement will ensure that the voice of the Serb community is brought to the highest governing table where the vital decisions for Kosovo's future are made."
Gen. Reinhardt has held many meetings with Serb leaders during the past six months to understand their concerns and needs. Nothing has been more important to KFOR's challenging task of securing a peaceful environment than freedom of movement and security for minorities.
KFOR at the command and soldier levels will continue to do its utmost to support the initiatives of UNMIK and to encourage dialogue and reconciliation among all citizens.
KFOR Soldiers Detained in GSZ
Yesterday, two KFOR Danish soldiers strayed into the Ground Safety Zone north of Lesak and were apprehended by Serbian local police. The Serb authorities informed the KFOR Joint Implementation Commission (JIC) that the peacekeepers were in their custody and that they would be released last night. A JIC team recovered the soldiers, their vehicle and all their military equipment.
MNB North Reinforcements
The Italian San Marco Battalion consisting of three combat infantry companies is now established in Mitrovica as reinforcements to MNB North.
The battalion was one of the first units to serve in Kosovo when KFOR arrived in the province last June for a seven-month tour. They returned home only two months ago.
The KFOR French forces in Mitrovica have also have been reinforced by one complete battalion of four companies taken from the 3rd and 8th Regiment Parachutiste d'Infanterie de Marine (RPIMa), consisting of some 700 paratroopers.
They are on duty as the permanent intervention reserve. The addition of these peacekeepers will greatly enhance KFOR's capability to maintain law and order and a safe and secure environment.
KFOR Calms Confrontation in Dobrotin
Yesterday late in the afternoon crowds of approximately 200 Albanians and 200 Serbs confronted each other near the community of Dobrotin just east of Lipljan. Earlier in the day a Serb man and his son had been assaulted.
The larger issue for the unrest concerns the desire of local Albanians to have the freedom of movement to drive through the town. To prevent this, Serbs erected barriers at either end of the Dobrotin.
KFOR Finnish and Swedish peacekeepers, with a company of British troops in reserve, removed the barriers and calmed down the crowds. The principle of freedom of movement will be upheld by KFOR. KFOR patrols are very visible in this area and work closely with the population to keep order and to reassure them of their safety. Any group which feels insecure must inform KFOR and UNMIK police.
Events and Incidents During the Past 24 Hours
Last night the curfew in Mitrovica (MNB North) was changed. It is now in place from midnight until 6 a.m.
Yesterday in Vrbovac (MNB East), a 67-year-old Serbs man was shot and wounded by Albanians in a passing car. The man was rushed to the combat support hospital in Camp Bondsteel.
The incident resulted in Serbs blocking the road with boulders. KFOR US officers discussed the situation with the mayor and calmed down the situation.