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Monday, 28 February, 2000, 16:41 GMT
Nato plans Kosovo show of strength
Exercise will show resolve to prevent renewal of violence
Exercise will show resolve to prevent renewal of violence
Nato has said it will send more than 2,000 troops to Kosovo next month for a training exercise intended to show its determination to keep the peace.

A spokesman for the K-For peacekeepers said the three-week exercise was not a response to recent tensions in the Yugoslav province.

Kosovo: Special Report
"It's just a coincidence," said Flight Lieutenant Neville Clayton, a K-For spokesman.

"An operation of this nature involving this many personnel has been in planning for many, many months."

Trouble in the divided city of Mitrovica and elsewhere has led some to question whether K-For needs to be reinforced.

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Nato's supreme commander, General Wesley Clark, has called for several thousand more troops.

He has said too many units have been quietly whittled back from full strength and some allies were refusing duty outside their designated area.

Although Nato said the exercise had been planned before these latest concerns arose, a statement said it would "demonstrate Nato's resolve to maintain a secure environment for Kosovo and its inhabitants and to reinforce K-FOR if required."

It will be called 'Dynamic Response 2000' and will last from 19 March to 10 April.

The troops will be in the province on 24 March, the anniversary of the start of Nato's bombardment of Yugoslavia last year, which was intended to persuade Belgrade to halt a crackdown against ethnic Albanians in Kosovo.

They will be drawn from the Strategic Reserve Force, a rapid deployment force, and will troops from Argentina, the Netherlands, Italy, the United States, Poland and Romania.

Nato ambassadors and the K-For peacekeeping mission commander, General Klaus Reinhardt, discussed the alliance's next moves in Kosovo last Friday.

Nato Secretary-General George Robertson said there was no peacekeeping crisis in Kosovo and pledged that the mission will be kept up to strength.




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See also:

04 Feb 00 |  Europe
Analysis: What went wrong?
23 Feb 00 |  Europe
UN seeks Mitrovica solution
24 Jun 99 |  Europe
Mitrovica: A divided town
12 Nov 99 |  Europe
Q & A: Counting Kosovo's dead
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