Germany slashes troop contribution to EU Bosnia force

19th December 2009, Comments 0 comments

Germany's lower house of parliament voted on Friday to slash the upper limit of troops mandated to operate within the EU-led peacekeeping mission in Bosnia from 2,400 to 900.

Berlin - Germany's lower house of parliament voted on Friday to slash the upper limit of troops mandated to operate within the EU-led peacekeeping mission in Bosnia from 2,400 to 900.

The move will however have little impact on the ground as Germany currently has 120 soldiers taking part in the mission, known as Althea, currently numbering around 2,000 EUFOR troops from 25 countries including 20 EU members.

The mission carries out military tasks under the deal to end the 1992-1995 inter-ethnic war that claimed some 100,000 lives. It took over from NATO-led peacekeepers in 2004, numbering at the time some 7,000 troops.

The Dayton Agreement that ended the war divided Bosnia into the Muslim-Croat Federation and the Bosnian Serb Republic. They share weak central institutions, but each has its own government and parliament.

The German parliament also approved an extension of the mandate for the country's involvement in the EU's Operation Atalanta anti-piracy mission off the coast of Somalia.

The upper limit of German troops for Atalanta remains at 1,400. There are currently 240 soldiers involved.

The European Union's Atalanta flotilla was launched in December, its first-ever naval operation, with six warships and three surveillance planes to patrol pirate-infested seas around the Horn of Africa.

Norway, Japan, the United States, China, Russia and other countries also have naval forces operating in the area.

Germany is expected to come under pressure from allies to increase the number of soldiers in Afghanistan following the decision by US President Barack Obama to send 30,000 more troops.

Germany currently has around 4,300 troops there under NATO command. It has refused to consider an increase until after an international conference on Afghanistan in late January on future strategy.

AFP/Expatica

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