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Bosnia: SFOR Presence Possibly Extended

Sarajevo, 6 May 1997 (RFE/RL) - Chief peace administrator for Bosnia, Carl Bildt, has asked NATO to consider keeping troops in that country longer than the currently planned pullout date of the Alliance-led Stabilization Force (SFOR) in June next year.

Bildt's spokesman Colum Murphy said that Bildt made the recommendation in meetings with UN Security Council members and US officials in Washington over the past few days.

Murphy said that Bildt asked officials from NATO member countries to consider redeploying troops in Bosnia who he said in the post-Cold War era are no longer needed in Germany.

Meanwhile, German Foreign Minister Klaus Kinkel is due to visit Sarajevo on Thursday to discuss repatriation of Bosnian refugees who took shelter in Germany.

Kinkel will head a delegation of leaders from Germany's 16 states. Germany gave shelter to some 320,000 refugees during the 1992-95 war, and has ordered the return of refugees to Bosnia to begin this year.