EU postpones decision to cut peacekeepers in Bosnia
European Union (EU) defense ministers, who gathered here on Monday, decided to postpone a decision to reduce the strength of its peacekeeping force in Bosnia.
Ministers are considering a cut in the 6,500-strong force to as little as 1,500 next year, but a decision has been postponed in case tension in Kosovo triggers wider Balkan unrest.
"A decision to reduce troop strength is under consideration," EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana told the press conference.
"The situation in Bosnia-Herzegovina allows this," he added.
Solana said member states should not take a decision before December and not begin the reductions until February at the earliest.
French Defense Minister Michele Alliot-Marie said the EU had to make sure it had enough troops in the region to deal with any unrest spilling over from Kosovo.
"We can envisage a reduction of the Bosnia force on condition that we maintain the ability to return in force quickly if the region, especially Kosovo, becomes unstable," she told reporters.
Solana also said that the Kosovo status should be determined after parliamentary elections in Serbia.
He stressed that it would be good to give a chance to Serbian elections and see if a strong democratic government can appear in this country, which would be favorable for all the parties concerned.
Thus Solana supported the idea of the UN Special Envoy for Kosovo Martti Ahtisaari who last week proposed to make a decision on the status of Kosovo after the Serbian parliamentary elections scheduled for Jan. 21, 2007.
"It will be better ... to see if the strong democratic government may come out in Serbia that will be, for the future, beneficial for everybody," he said.
The EU took over from a North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) peacekeeping mission in Bosnia, where there had been a total of about 60,000 troops immediately after the 1992-1995 war. NATO maintains around 16,000 peacekeepers in Kosovo.
Germany last week took a first step toward withdrawing its troops from the EU force in Bosnia, by lowering the number of peacekeepers it can send to Bosnia.
The German government agreed to cut the maximum number of troops Germany can send to Bosnia from 3,000 to 2,400.
Only about 850 German troops are currently stationed there.
Ukratko: >>>EU ODLOZILA ODLUKU O SMANJENJU MIROVNJAKA U BOSNI - Odluka je odlozena za slucaj da napetost na Kosovu izazove sire nemire na Balkanu.
Havijer Solana kaze da zemlje clanice ne bi trebalo da odluce o tome pre decembra i da ne pocinju redukciju snaga pre februara najranije.
Francuski ministar odbrane kaze da se EU morala uveriti da ima dovoljno trupa u regionu koje mogu da se nose sa prelivanjem nemira van Kosova.
Ona takodje kaze da se razmatra i redukcija snaga u Bosni na nivou odrzavanja sposobnosti brzog povratka, u slucaju da region, narocito Kosovo, postane nestabilno.
Solana je izjavio da status Kosova treba ostaviti za posle izbora i time podrzao Martija Ahtisarija.<<<
Izgleda mi da ovi zapadnjaci opet planiraju nesto na ovim prostorima i za ovaj region... :shock: