EU appoints French general to lead Kosovo mission

27th July 2010, Comments 0 comments

The European Union appointed French general Xavier Bout de Marnhac as the head of its civilian mission in charge of strengthening the rule of law in Kosovo, a statement said Tuesday.

De Marnhac, who had commanded NATO-led peacekeeping troops in Kosovo (KFOR) in 2007-2008, is to replace current EULEX chief Yves de Kermabon in October, according to the statement.

"De Marnhac has the leadership needed to conduct a large rule of law operation in a complex environment," EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said in the statement.

Ashton praised the general's "experience in crisis management and his knowledge about the situation on the ground," saying they would "constitute appropriate background to lead EULEX through the next period in which the mission will be facing considerable challenges."

Kosovo declared independence from Serbia in February 2008 and is recognised by 69 countries, despite Belgrade's fierce opposition.

The 3,000-member EULEX mission was launched in December 2008 to enforce the rule of law in Kosovo and supervise Pristina's police, customs and judiciary system.

EULEX has the the power to step in and take on cases that the local judiciary and police are unable to handle because of their sensitive nature.

© 2010 AFP

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