Friday, June 11, 1999 Published at 15:51 GMT 16:51 UK
UK troops bear Nato's load
Soldiers are waiting for orders to enter Kosovo
Up to 19,000 UK soldiers will be at the forefront of the Kosovo peacekeeping body as Nato begins sending 50,000 troops to Kosovo's border.
The Ministry of Defence (MoD) has given limited details on the UK's contribution, which stands at 13,000 troops to be active in Kosovo, with 6,000 on standby. The MoD estimates there are about 8,500 troops currently in the Balkans.
"My message first of all is one of gratitude because the British forces have been quite magnificent," he told the British Forces Broadcasting Service, which has stations across the Balkans.
Lieutenant-General Sir Mike Jackson has ordered his Nato forces to deal with both Yugoslav and KLA units in an "even-handed" manner, underlining that all civilians must be protected.
'Security and safety'
As the Serb withdrawal of troops from Kosovo continues, Armed Forces Minister Doug Henderson said he wanted to make it clear there would be "no gung ho-ism and impatience on the part of Nato's troops".
He said it would be a "tough and dangerous job" for Nato's troops, with three main tasks:
Major Marshall Sir John Day, the Deputy Chief of Defence Staff, said that while Nato had achieved air superiority early in the campaign, it was now over to the ground forces to finish the job.
He said that Serbia had lost about one third of its military aircraft.
But Nato's air forces, to which the UK has been a major contributor, will not now lie dormant. Major Marshall Day said they would be used for surveillance and monitoring of patrols, and would be ready to restart the bombing campaign if necessary.