Saturday, September 11, 1999 Published at 02:04 GMT 03:04 UK
German to assume K-For command
K-For troops separate Serbs and Albanians in the town of Mitrovica
German General Klaus Reinhardt is to replace Britain's General Sir Mike Jackson as commander of Nato's Kosovo peacekeeping force, K-For.
Nato's choice was made following a recommendation from its outgoing Supreme Allied Commander, General Wesley Clark.
The appointment comes amid continuing controversy over the outgoing K-For commander's failure to prevent Russian forces from taking Pristina airport before the arrival of Nato troops in June.
He refused to block the airport runway, saying he did not want to start World War III, and sought the intervention of Britain's top military commander to help get the order reversed.
Angered by the apparent insubordination, the chairman of the US Senate Armed Services Committee is now to hold hearings into the incident, believing it calls into question Nato's chain of command.
Gen Reinhardt, 58, is currently commander of Allied Land Forces Central Europe (Landcent) and will remain in that post when he takes over the K-For command, although he will be based in Pristina.
K-For is comprised of troops from 17 Nato countries.
Gen Reinhardt previously headed Nato-led forces in Bosnia between November 1996 and June 1998.
He was a front-runner to take over the command of the 45,000-strong contingent from Gen Jackson, who led K-For from its arrival in Kosovo on 10 June.
The involvement of Luftwaffe pilots in Nato's bombing of Yugoslavia earlier this year was Germany's first participation in military aggression since World War II.
The appointment of a German general is, however, not without controversy among some Nato allies.
Press reports in Britain have noted that the last time British troops served under a German was in the Battle of Leipzig in 1813 when the Royal Artillery Rocket Troop joined the Prussian army to defeat Napoleon.