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Kosovo: Prime Minister Praises NATO for Scaling Back Troops


PRISTINA, 10 May (RFE/RL) -- Kosovo's Prime Minister Bajram Rexhepi today lauded NATO's decision to scale back its forces in the Balkans. Rexhepi said it proves there is greater stability in Kosovo and general stability in the region.

Rexhepi said the reduction will in no way reduce security capabilities. He said the United Nations and local police would provide security for citizens.

A Bosnian Foreign Ministry spokesman in Sarajevo also said that the downsizing of the NATO force in Bosnia by about one-third should not create a security problem.

The 19-country alliance said earlier it will reduce the Kosovo force, KFOR, to 33,200 from its current deployment of 38,000. The Stabilization Force in Bosnia, SFOR, will be reduced from 19,000 to about 12,000 by the end of the year.

NATO said that the reduced number of forces would remain as "robust" and flexible as always.

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