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NEWS | March 23, 2010

U.S. KFOR commander touts progress built on relationships

By Sgt. 1st Class David Dodds North Dakota National Guard

Gjilan/Gnjilane, Kosovo - The KFOR commander of Multi-National Battle Group-East said recent adjustments taking place among his forces are possible because of significant improvements made in security throughout Kosovo, thanks to the hard work of the Kosovo Police and EULEX.

Brig. Gen. Al Dohrmann, Bismarck, N.D., said, in the past few months, the relationship between Battle Group-East and the institutions has blossomed, setting up a solid foundation for more success.

"The strong relationship that exists between the institutions in Kosovo and KFOR provides opportunities for all of us to build the brighter future I've referenced many times since I arrived in November," he said. "The relationships built and the opportunities created by working together will remain long after we have transitioned."

The general made his remarks during his third round of press coffee events since arriving in Kosovo, this time in Gjilan/Gnjilane. They are designed to be informal meetings with local journalists to talk about issues in Battle Group East's area of responsibility and throughout Kosovo.

Dohrmann cited a number of recent KFOR exercises that have involved coordination and cooperation with KP and EULEX. The joint training ensures a more effective response by all parties should the need ever arise, he said.

Dohrmann stressed KFOR's role as a third responder behind KP and EULEX will continue and so will the joint training exercises. He said the media will continue to be invited to the exercises.

"Our operations and exercises in the month of February unmistakably demonstrated that KFOR will respond quickly and decisively anywhere needed," he said. "They also showcased our coordination with the local institutions in Kosovo, vital partners in KFOR's transition and Kosovo's ever-growing progress."

Dohrmann also addressed the relationships between different cultural, ethnic and religious backgrounds in Kosovo and the protection of religious sites throughout the region.

"KFOR is carefully assessing the possible transfer of guarding responsibilities for these areas to the Kosovo Police," he said. "Even after such a hand-over, KFOR will stand ready to support the KP should the need ever arise."