NATO cuts peacekeeping contingent in the Balkans

NATO intends to cut the peacemaking contingent in the Balkans by almost 12 thousand people by the end of the year. The Stabilization Force in Bosnia and Herzegovina (SFOR) is going to be cut by 12 to 19 thousand military men, as well as the peacemaking force in Kosovo (KFOR) – from 38 thousand to 33.200. This decision was made by the Council of NATO today.

Russia does not have anything against NATO’s decision to cut the military contingent. None of the countries whose military men serve in the Balkan peacemaking force have any objections. As was mentioned in the communiquй of the North Atlantic Alliance, the reduction of the peacemaking contingent was the result of the fact that the political stability in the region is growing. NATO does not experience a lack of optimism, speaking about the stabilization of the situation in Balkan hotspots. Positive changes “reflect the success of the international community and political leaders of the region, who assisted in the considerable improvement of the situation.”

One should not create illusions that NATO’s leading role in the region will be somehow reduced. In this case, this is only a military regrouping. NATO military men have already settled in the Balkans, seriously and for a long time. The Kosovskaya Pravda website reported that there are construction works on America’s largest army base in the Balkans, Bonstil. When the works are finished, the base will be able to accept a lot more military men, in comparison with the number of those who are currently serving in Kosovo.

The Balkans are the missing link, the appearance of which allowed America to finish a chain of military bases that embraces Eurasia from the west to the east, and this seems to be one of the most noticeable results of the NATO peacekeeping operation in Kosovo.

Elena Guskova, the director of the Center for International Research of the Balkan Crisis, said that the political situation has changed and the Balkans faded into the background for representatives of the leading countries of the world.

The USA and NATO are focused on their anti-terrorist operation, the scale of which is going to increase. It was said in a report from the International Institute of Strategic Research (London) that, when the anti-terrorist operation in Afghanistan is over, the West will have “long-term interests in Central Asia.” Pursuant to the report, “the threat of other new Islamic fundamental organizations appearing is still high.” The lacking military personnel could soon be dispatched to Central Asia, since the security cooperation between Central Asia and the West has grown closer after the events of September 11.

Sergey Yugov PRAVDA.Ru

Translated by Dmitry Sudakov

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