The German parliament on Thursday extended the peacekeeping mandate of German soldiers deployed in Kosovo by another year. During the debate, both the government and the conservative opposition stressed that the presence of the international Kfor force was indispensable in face of the precarious security situation in the region, especially after the outbreak of violence in March. German Defense Minister Peter Struck demanded that German troops in Kosovo be equipped with teargas. German troops have been stationed in Kosovo since 1999. At present there are 3,900 German soldiers in the region. The extension of the mandate will see another 4,600 German soldiers joining them.