NATO to Deploy 700 More Troops After Violent Clashes in Kosovo

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(Bloomberg) -- The NATO military alliance is deploying 700 more troops and putting an additional battalion on higher readiness, after 30 peacekeepers were injured this week in the worst clashes in a decade in northern Kosovo.

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Jens Stoltenberg, secretary general of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, said Tuesday that the alliance had decided to deploy the additional soldiers from the operational reserve force for the Western Balkans,and increased readiness for other soldiers so they could be deployed if needed.

“These are prudent steps to ensure that KFOR has the forces and capabilities it needs to fulfill its mandate,” he told reporters in Norway.

KFOR has about 3,700 troops in Kosovo now, down from some 50,000 at the peak of its presence in the country.

The attacks against the NATO-led peacekeeping force in Kosovo, known as KFOR, were “unacceptable and must stop,” Stoltenberg said, adding that “KFOR will take all necessary actions to maintain a safe and secure environment for all citizens in Kosovo.”

He called on both Pristina and Belgrade to take concrete steps to de-escalate the situation, refrain from further irresponsible behavior and engage in the EU-facilitated dialog.

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