NATO committed to Kosovo security, commander says

NATO is committed to providing security to allow for a peaceful climate in Kosovo as the disputed U.N.-administered province nears possible talks on its, the alliance's commander Adm. Harry Ulrich said on his visit to the province Thursday.

Ulrich, commander of NATO's Joint Force Command based in Naples, Italy, made the comments during his second visit to Kosovo as regional commander. There are some 17,500 NATO-led peacekeepers deployed in Kosovo.

"NATO is absolutely committed to providing a safe and secure environment here in Kosovo so that the political process can work its way to a successful conclusion," Ulrich was quoted by The AP as saying.

Ulrich met with officials from NATO, the United Nations and Kosovo's Prime Minister Bajram Kosumi during his one-day visit. He also visited Kosovo Protection Corps, a civil emergency unit consisting mostly of former ethnic Albanian rebel fighters that battled Serb forces during the 1998-1999 war.

The United Nations and NATO have been running Kosovo since 1999, when NATO bombed Serbia for 78 days to force it to end a crackdown against separatist Albanian Muslims and pull out the Serb troops.

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