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Bosnia: NATO Committed To Role Despite Cuts

Brussels, 16 January 2002 (RFE/RL) -- NATO Secretary-General Lord George Robertson said today that NATO remains committed to maintaining security in Bosnia, despite discussion on a reduction of international Stabilization Force (SFOR) troops. Robertson and ambassadors from 19 NATO countries met today with Wolfgang Petritsch, the international high representative in Bosnia, and discussed a possible reduction of SFOR.

Robertson said that NATO forces still have a vital and continuing role to play in Bosnia and that the alliance is "absolutely committed to a safe and secure environment in Bosnia-Herzegovina."

Petritsch said he was reassured that NATO remained committed to keeping peace in Bosnia and that any cutbacks would be made in consultations with his administration

Earlier this month, Robertson said some countries, including the United States, want a substantial reduction of the 18,000 SFOR troops. But he added that U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld made it clear that the reduction would not be a unilateral American decision.