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NATO To Deploy More Troops In Kosovo Ahead Of Serbian Elections

A woman passes by an Austrian KFOR armored vehicle guarding the main bridge in the ethnically divided town of Mitrovica.
The German military says Germany and Austria are planning to beef up their peacekeeping forces in Kosovo to strengthen the NATO mission there in the lead-up to next month's election in neighboring Serbia.

Central command spokesman Hauke Bunks said Saturday about 550 German soldiers and some 130 Austrian troops will be deployed to the region by May 1.

Serbia will hold presidential and parliamentary elections on May 6 which could reignite tensions between ethnic Albanians and Serbs in northern Kosovo.

Kosovo’s ethnic Albanian majority declared independence from Serbia in 2008, but Belgrade does not recognize the secession.

NATO currently has about 6,000 peacekeeping troops deployed in Kosovo.

Based on reporting by AP and Reuters