Germany extends Kosovo mission

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The German government Wednesday decided to extend by one year the deployment of its troops in the NATO-led KFOR mission in Kosovo, while reducing the maximum troop level to 1,850, a statement said.

Germany, currently the largest supplier of troops to the NATO-led force, with 1,100 soldiers on the ground, had previously capped its involvement at 2,500.

The decision, taken in cabinet, must be approved in parliament, where it is expected to pass early next month.

NATO was deployed to Kosovo in 1999 after the alliance's air campaign against forces loyal to then Serbian strongman Slobodan Milosevic, which were conducting a crackdown on the region's ethnic Albanian majority.

Kosovo unilaterally declared independence from Serbia in February 2008, despite fierce opposition from Belgrade.

KFOR has regularly been downsized and further cuts should bring its overall strength to 5,500 troops from some 30 nations.

© 2011 AFP

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