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Mar 20,2009
NATO jarred by Spain's Kosovo withdrawal
by UPI

MADRID -- The head of NATO warned against major troop reductions in Kosovo following Spain's surprise announcement it was bringing its soldiers home.

Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer said through a spokeswoman that significant changes in the NATO-led KFOR force "should take place as a result of a decision within the alliance when there is agreement that the political and the security conditions are in place."

Expatica said Friday that NATO was caught somewhat off guard by the announcement Thursday that Spain was withdrawing the 630 troops it has been contributing to the Balkans peacekeeping mission.

Spain is one of five European nations that does not recognize Kosovo's independence from Serbia; however, Defense Minister Carme Chacon did not mention that fact in Madrid's decision.

Expatica said Chacon congratulated Spanish troops during Thursday's visit for accomplishing their mission and told them" "It is time to go home. We are going home."

Copyright © 2009, by United Press International. All Rights Reserved.

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