19 May 2004
BERLIN – Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder’s cabinet on Wednesday approved extending the mandate of 3,900 German troops serving with Nato-led peacekeeping forces in Kosovo.
Parliament will have to vote on the decision but with backing from both government and opposition approval for extending the deployment looks certain.
German troops, which are part of Nato’s 18,500-member Kosovo Force (KFOR), which has been stationed in Kosovo since the 1999 war between the Alliance and Serbia.
Nato beefed up forces earlier this year after ethnic violence in Kosovo and German officials predict Nato troops will have to remain there for many years to come.
The deployment of German forces does not have a formal time limit unless a party in Berlin’s parliament calls for a debate and vote on the issue.
This was done by Schroeder’s Social Democrats (SPD) and their Greens allies in apparent bid to underline cross-party support for the Kosovo operation.
Subject: German news