EULEX, KFOR meet at Camp Bondsteel

Vidar Pedersen, European Union Rule of Law Mission liaison officer to Kosovo Forces, speaks to Multinational Battle Group East soldiers during a seminar at Audie Murphy Medal of Honor Hall at Camp Bondsteel, Kosovo, Oct. 22. The seminar was held to discuss the respective roles and improve cooperation and coordination between KFOR and EULEX. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Jerry Boffen, 130th Public Affairs Detachment, Connecticut National Guard)

CAMP BONDSTEEL, Kosovo – Soldiers from Multinational Battle Group East joined soldiers from Kosovo Forces Headquarters and members of the European Union Rule of Law Mission in Kosovo for a seminar at Audie Murphy Medal of Honor Hall here, Oct. 22.

More than 40 staff officers, company commanders and other key soldiers from MNBG E, as well as members of KFOR and EULEX, attended the seminar, including representatives from Austria, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Slovenia, Sweden, Turkey and Ukraine.

The intent of the seminar was to discuss the respective roles and mechanisms for cooperation and coordination between KFOR and EULEX, said German Army Maj. Lars Apfel, policy chief, KFOR headquarters.

“We are here to ensure effective cooperation between EULEX and KFOR,” Apfel said.

Throughout the seminar, several presenters gave briefings on matters ranging from EULEX’s mission and roles, to joint operational procedures between KFOR and EULEX, to the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1244, part of which defines EULEX’s and KFOR’s respective roles in Kosovo.

“It’s up to you to make all of these directives and principles living ones on the ground,” Apfel told the soldiers. “You must give them life and sense.”

Of the many topics that were discussed, EULEX’s structure and role in the NATO mission in Kosovo were frequently reiterated. EULEX is comprised of police, justice and customs components. Their role is to mentor, monitor and advise the Kosovo Police. They do, however, retain Crowd and Riot Control capabilities, medevac and explosive
ordnance disposal capabilities, and executive authority on matters such as interethnic crimes, war crimes, corruption cases and land disputes.

“Our mission is to improve the strength and capabilities of the Kosovo Police,” said Vidar Pedersen, the EULEX liaison officer to KFOR, “though I must say that their officers are already quite strong and proficient. They recently were in charge of security for [U.S. Secretary of State] Hillary Clinton’s visit and things ran perfectly. EULEX was involved by providing mentoring, monitoring and advising.”

Pedersen closed the day’s seminar, saying, “I’m glad that I got the opportunity to come here today. I think it’s important for us to build and improve relation and contacts [between KFOR and EULEX], because we will have to work together for the foreseeable future.”

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VAZIANI TRAINING AREA, Republic of Georgia-In front of a color detail with the national colors of America and the Republic of Georgia and the unit colors of the U.S. Marine Corps and Georgian military, Maj. Eric J. Andersen, executive officer Black Sea Rotational Force 11 and Kent, Wash., native,  â?forms the troops for the opening ceremony of Exercise Agile Spirit 2011, marking the official start of what is scheduled to be an annual training event with the partner nation. Marines with Alpha Company of Anti-Terrorism Battalion, and 4th Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion deployed to Georgia for their annual training to supplement the Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force deployment of BSRF-11, to conduct counterinsurgency and peacekeeping operations training at Vaziani Training Area. , Cpl. Tatum Vayavananda

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Capt. Barbara Bujak, physical therapist at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, speaks in her native tongue, Polish, with members of Multinational Battle Group East's Polish Contingent and European Rule of Law Mission in Kosovo. Bujak, who was born in Poland, moved to the U.S. at age 11 and joined the U.S. Army five years ago. Bujak's temporary assignment at Camp Bondsteel allowed her to experience a familiar ceremony in a new location.

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