21 March 2006

Czech soldiers strengthening security measures in Kosovo

CZECH NEWS AGENCY, Jan 27, 2006 8:36 PM
PRAGUE/PRISTINA, Kosovo, Jan 27 (CTK) - The international Peace-Keeping Force for Kosovo (KFOR) that also includes a Czech contingent, has strengthened security measures in Kosovo in connection with the recent death of Albanian president Ibrahim Rugova, Czech contingent spokesman Petr Sykora told CTK today.
The measures have been strengthened in connection with the start of talks on the future of the provicce, he said.
The soldiers have not noted any worsening of the security situation thus far, he said.
"No problems have been registered during the funeral that was attended by tens of thousands of people in Pristina on Thursday," he said.
Czech Senate deputy chairman Petr Pithart represented the Czech Republic at the ceremony.
Sykora said that part of the responsibility for internal order in Kosovo had been transferred to the local police force and the international force only supplemented it.
"Regardless of freezing weather and temperatures of up to minus 25 Centigrade our soldiers are patrolling the streets, guarding major and small roads, important crossroads and are stationed near strategic buildings," he said.
The Czech contingent in Kosovo has 500 members. Last year, the Czech Republic assumed, for the first time in history, the role of the leading state in the structure of the multilateral Centre brigade for one year.
Units of another five countries serve under the Czech command, including the Slovak unit that suffered a tragic loss last week when 42 soldiers returning from Kosovo home died in a plane crash.
The Vienna talks on Kosovo were to start this week, but have been postponed until February due to Rugova's death.