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Extended missions

June 10, 2011

Germany's participation in the NATO Kosovo Force has been extended for an additional 12 months after receiving parliamentary approval. An extension of the Bundeswehr's mission on the coast of Lebanon will also continue.

Bundeswehr soldiers in Kosovo
Bundeswehr soldiers will remain in KosovoImage: DW

The German parliament extended two of the Bundeswehr's military engagements on Thursday. Germany's participation in the NATO-led Kosovo Force (KFOR) has been extended for an additional 12 months, but will come with troop reductions.

Currently, the maximum number of troops that can serve in Kosovo is 2,500. This number will sink to 1,850.

International peacekeeping forces arrived in Kosovo in 1999, following a 78-day NATO bombing campaign to end a conflict between Serbian forces and fighters from the ethnic Albanian majority in what was then a province of Serbia.

Kosovo unilaterally declared independence from Serbia in February 2008, paving the way for a reduction in the number of peacekeepers, although ethnic tensions have persisted.

In addition to extending Germany's participation in the KFOR mission, parliament also elected to continue the Bundeswehr's engagement in Lebanon as part of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), which is charged with preventing weapons smuggling to Lebanon in the Mediterranean by the radical Islamist group Hezbollah.

The limit of 300 German troops participating in the UNIFIL remains unchanged.

Author: Matt Zuvela (dpa, dapd)
Editor: Martin Kuebler