Peacekeepers to reduce troops in Kosovo

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BELGRADE, Jan. 14 (Xinhua) -- At the end of January, NATO-led peacekeeping forces in Kosovo (KFOR) will have 10,000 soldiers and their competence and structure will be adjusted in keeping with the existing demands for the maintenance of a secure environment, the KFOR base in Pristina stated on Wednesday.

All multinational tactical forces in Kosovo will be configured into multinational battle groups by the end of January, the statement says.

It was also announced that from January 15 to February 24, KFOR main base will perform exercises across Kosovo in order to assess the new structures, and the exercises will include training in thefield and coordination of operation.

The purpose of exercises is to enable the KFOR forces to maintain a high level of readiness and be prepared for rapid deployment in response to any scenario, the statement said.

Supreme Allied Commander Europe Admiral James G. Stavridis announced the reduction plan in Pristina on December 9, 2009.

KFOR was deployed to Kosovo in June 1999, after NATO bombed Serbia to oust Belgrade's security forces from the territory. The force initially had around 50,000 troops from 39 nations but was downsized as the threat of renewed violence faded. About 15,000 troops from 32 countries, mainly from the Alliance, are currently serving in Kosovo.

Editor: yan