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Saturday, September 11, 1999 Published at 02:04 GMT 03:04 UK

World: Europe

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.

Kosovo: Special Report
A Nato statement said the handover of power would take place in the Kosovan capital, Pristina, on 8 October.

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.

[ image: Gen Reinhardt: second Balkans tour of duty]
Gen Reinhardt: second Balkans tour of duty
Gen Jackson's tour in Kosovo has been highly praised, but it started with a clash between him and Gen Clark after he was accused of disobeying an order to prevent Russian troops from taking the airport.

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.

New commander

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.

The BBC's Paul Reynolds in Washington: "The committee will hold hearings on Nato's chain of command"
Staff from the allied force will also replace Gen Jackson's headquarters staff.

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.

Germany's return

[ image: Gen Jackson refused
Gen Jackson refused "to start World War III"
Gen Reinhardt's appointment is being seen as part of Germany's stated aim to play a more active role in international military operations and diplomacy.

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.

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