VRAPCE, Serbia – Soldiers with the Joint Implementation Commission and members of the European Rule of Law Mission in Kosovo, or EULEX, met with their Serbian Armed Forces and Ministry of Internal Affairs counterparts during a coordination meeting in Vrapce, Serbia June 21.
The meeting was the second coordination level meeting for the Kosovo Force 17 soldiers since they assumed the KFOR mission June 1.
U.S. Army Lt. Col. Joseph Grimmett, the JIC Chief and a member of the Utah National Guard, said these meetings are one of several functions the JIC performs in order to comply with the provisions of the Military Technical Agreement and the Temporary Operating Procedures Agreement for operating along the Administrative Boundary Line between Kosovo and Serbia.
“Liaison meetings with the Serbian Armed Forces are a specified task of the JIC to promote cooperation and exchange of information that help both forces along the ABL,” said Grimmett, a resident of South Jordan, Utah.
Though this was only the second coordination meeting between the two parties, Grimmett said he hopes to build on the relationship started by his predecessors.
“There was a good relationship and coordination with KFOR 16 and we expect to be able to take it even further to the next step,” said Grimmett.
One topic addressed at the coordination meeting was synch patrols. These are coordinated patrols along the ABL conducted by KFOR and the SAF.
Grimmett highlighted these patrols as an important function of the JIC.
“It [synch patrols] provides a presence along the ABL,” said Grimmett. “It demonstrates that we are cooperating, that we both have a vested interest to discourage inappropriate activity along the ABL, which directly supports one of our specified tasks of a safe and secure environment.”
Polish Army Capt. Paulina Oleskow-Dabska, the JIC Deputy Chief, said it was important to include other departments and organizations like EULEX in the meeting in order to improve communication throughout all of the organizations.
“I think it is very important to bring all these groups together because it helps to improve our cooperation,” said Oleskow-Dabska. “The JIC is responsible for some parts and EULEX has other responsibilities, so we [the JIC] are not able to provide some information to the Serbian Armed Forces that EULEX is able to.”
Grimmett also emphasized the importance of bringing the different organizations together to be able to accomplish each group’s mission.
“It’s a team effort,” said Grimmett. “The JIC is able to bring EULEX, the JLELT [Joint Law Enforcement Liaison Team], and the planners from the battle group and bring those representatives together in one room [with the SAF], and it’s important that we facilitate and coordinate that.”