22 March 2007

US troops ready to curb Kosovo violence

United Press International Dec. 29, 2006 at 7:23 AM

PRISTINA, Serbia, Dec. 29 (UPI) -- Two U.S. military platoons moved to the north of Serbia's mainly ethnic-Albanian Kosovo province Friday to provide security for minority Serbs.

The U.S. soldiers, accompanied by one Austrian and one Georgian platoon, are being deployed for one month at a NATO camp at Leposavic, close to the border with Serbia, Kosovo's peacekeepers' headquarters announced.

The redeployment is part of NATO's plan for rapid intervention aimed at providing security for some 100,000 Serbs living in Kosovo, which is predominately ethnic-Albanian, Serbia's RTS radio-television reported.

A U.N. civil administration mission and about 16,000 NATO protection troops have been deployed in Kosovo to curb ethnic conflicts since 1999.

In the Kosovo capital of Pristina, leaders of ethnic-Albanians, who make up 90 percent of the province's population of 1.8 million, insist on independence, while Serbian authorities say Kosovo will forever be part of Serbia.