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NATO to slash troops in Kosovo to 5,000

10-30-2010 08:24 BJT

BRUSSELS, Oct. 29 (Xinhua) -- NATO would halve its troops in Kosovo to 5,000 within months as local security conditions continued to improve, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said Friday in a statement.

"Today, NATO has decided to adjust the KFOR (Kosovo Force) presence in Kosovo. Over the next few months, KFOR will progressively reduce its presence to around 5,000 troops in total, marking one more step in the adaptation of KFOR to a deterrent presence," Fogh Ramussen said.

"The security conditions in Kosovo continue to improve, which is a positive sign not only for Kosovo, but for the whole region. Local institutions are increasingly capable of assuming responsibility for security tasks," the NATO chief said.

Fogh Ramussen reiterated that NATO's mission to guarantee a safe and secure environment in Kosovo would remain "unchanged".

KFOR has been deployed since June 1999, following a NATO bombing campaign against Yugoslavia. In January, NATO troops in Kosovo were reduced from 15,000 to 10,000 soldiers.

Diplomats say the NATO countries want to reduce troops in Kosovo as soon as possible due to mounting pressue from shrinking budgets and the war in Afghanistan.

Editor:Yang Jie |Source: Xinhua

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