BELGRADE, Sept. 1 (Xinhuanet) -- An Italian general took over on Thursday the command
of the NATO-led peacekeeping force in Kosovo, said reports reaching here
Gen. Giuseppe Valotto was handed the command over the 18,000-strong Kosovo
peacekeeping force (KFOR) in a ceremony in Pristina. He replaces French Gen.
Ives de Kermabon will lead the force for one year.
The ceremony for the transfer of command was attended by UN andNATO
officials as well as Serbia-Montenegro Chief of Staff Gen. Dragan Paskas.
Paskas said in a statement that he came to the taking over of duties by the
KFOR commander at the invitation of Gen. Kermabon, with whom he had a very good
"I also came so as to meet Gen. Valotto, establish contact right away, have
a good cooperation and continue to have good and reliable partnership relations
with KFOR," Paskas said.
Valotto is the 10th commander of KFOR since its deployment in Kosovo. His
inauguration comes as NATO is to begin a one-year major reshuffle of KFOR in
NATO officials have revealed that KFOR would be transformed to a structure
based on task forces instead of brigades to improve and facilitate command and
The NATO-led peacekeeping force initially deployed
50,000 troops in Kosovo, backing UN administrators who have overseen the Serbian
province since the end of the Kosovo war in June 1999. Butthe number of troops
has been gradually reduced. Enditem