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EU Extends Kosovo Mission, Cuts Staff


Officers of the EULEX mission in Kosovo stand guard in front of a truck carrying Russian aid at the border crossing of Jarinje in December.

Officers of the EULEX mission in Kosovo stand guard in front of a truck carrying Russian aid at the border crossing of Jarinje in December.

The European Union has announced that its rule-of -law mission in Kosovo will be extended for at least two more years, until 2014 -- but the staff of the mission is to be significantly reduced by hundreds of personnel.

The mission, known as EULEX, consists mainly of police officers, judges, prosecutors, and customs officials.

The EU on June 5 pledged to make the mission "stronger, leaner, and more efficient," in part through staffing cuts.

Plans call for the mission to lose some 700 international staff from its current strength of nearly 2,000.

EULEX was deployed to Kosovo after the ethnic Albanian majority leadership declared independence from Serbia in 2008. Serbia does not recognize Kosovo's secession.

Based on reporting by AP, AFP, and dpa

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