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The peace of the Balkans is the peace of Europe

Text: Péter Snoj | Photo: by the author |  10:36 December 11, 2023

On Friday, 8 December, MoD State Secretary for Defence Strategy and Human Resources Policy Gábor Gion and Deputy Chief of HDF General Staff Lieutenant General Ferenc Kajári paid a visit to the 29th rotation of the HDF KFOR Contingent (KFOR-29 HUNCON) in Kosovo. In addressing the soldiers serving beyond Hungary’s borders, they said thanks to them on the occasion of the approaching holiday season and praised their steadfastness.


While at the KFOR HQ in Camp Film City, Pristina, the members of the Hungarian delegation – who were joined by Hungary’s ambassador accredited to Kosovo Béla Bozsik and Ambassador László Domján, EU Integration Advisor to the Government of Kosovo – met with COMKFOR Major General Özkan Ulutaş, and then listened to a briefing by Colonel Róbert Kiss, KFOR Deputy Chief of Staff Operations about the current tasks of the military operation. In what followed, Gábor Gion and Ferenc Kajári visited the KFOR-29 HUNCON in Camp Novo Selo, where Contingent Commander Lieutenant Colonel Botond Hetényi provided the superiors with an update.

In both camps, the MoD State Secretary for Defence Strategy and Human Resources Policy and the Deputy Chief of the HDF General Staff held a ceremonial staff meeting, where they praised the steadfastness of the Hungarian soldiers serving abroad and gave them gifts on the occasion of the approaching holiday season.

“Europe does not exist without the Balkans. And, if there is no peace in the Balkans, then there is no peace in Europe, either. Until achieving peace, peacekeeping is partly our responsibility. We are very proud of you because you are executing your peacekeeping tasks to such high standards”, underscored Gábor Gion, who asked the Hungarian troops to be proud of themselves, since each of the co-deployed nations speaks highly of them. He pointed out that in order to make sure that this peace is enduring, we must help the Albanian and the Serbian people and the Kosovan and Serbian politics through dialogue, and we must create a platform in the interest of their compromise.

Lieutenant General Ferenc Kajári emphasized that the international Exercise Adaptive Hussars 2023 had been completed with great success in November, and crowned the Hungarian soldiers’ yearlong work. The Deputy Chief of the HDF General Staff also said that there are new challenges and tests of strength ahead for the troops to prepare for in the future. He added that from now on, they cannot respond to the emerging issues saying “this is how we usually do”.


Speaking about his visit to COMKFOR, Lieutenant General Kajári recalled that Major General Özkan Ulutaş had spoken with satisfaction about the Hungarian peacekeepers’ work, and at once thanked the soldiers for executing their tasks in a way worthy of their predecessors, thereby further building the Hungarian soldiers’ good reputation. It was said that even at short notice, the KFOR Tactical Reserve Battalion (KTRBN) must be ready to carry out its tasks wherever it is needed the most.

“I request you to train and practice your tasks, and – if it becomes necessary – perform them in a disciplined way worthy of Hungarian troops by complying with the rules. This is the only way that our military engagement in Kosovo can continue to be successful, and the only way for us to be further able to maintain a peaceful, safe and secure environment in this region of the Western Balkans as well. This is also very important to Hungary!” – stated Lieutenant General Kajári.