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Germany

Report: Germans in Kosovo Ill-prepared

German peacekeepers were woefully unprepared for the inter-ethnic strife that erupted in Kosovo in March, according to a leaked internal defense ministry report cited Wednesday in the German press. The report found that the units had no crisis plan for the outbreak of violence between the ethnic Albanian majority and the Serb minority, were poorly trained in using weapons, were not proficient in English and had insufficient protective equipment. The investigation noted that many of the problems had since been tackled, including providing troops with tear gas to deal with riots. Speaking to the Bundestag lower house Wednesday, German Defense Minister Peter Struck acknowledged general problems in peacekeeping operations in Kosovo including what he said was a lack of communication between the NATO-led force there, KFOR, and the United Nations Mission in Kosovo. Although he admitted German troops had mistaken the mounting tensions between Serbs and Albanians as "routine", Struck denied that grave mistakes had been made. "Soldiers are only human," he said. Germany has about 3,600 troops stationed with KFOR. (AFP)

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