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Liska: More Slovak troops for Kosovo

SLOVAKIA intends to strengthen its military presence in Kosovo, Slovakia's Defence Minister Juraj Liska said on Monday, after meeting his Czech counterpart Karel Kuehnl in Bratislava, the TASR news agency reported.

There are currently 100 Slovak soldiers operating in Kosovo as part of the NATO peacekeeping mission, within the framework of the joint Czech-Slovak battalion.

Liska could not say how many more soldiers will join the unit, or exactly when. "It is quite possible that it will come about with the next rotations, perhaps at the beginning of 2006," he said. "We want the Balkans to be one of our priorities," he added.

The Czech Republic will increase the number of its soldiers in the KFOR mission from 400 to 600 in mid-2005. At the same time, it will take over the role of leading country at the Multinational Brigade Centre from Finland. "We welcome the fact that our Slovak colleagues are also ready to consider the number of troops in the mission," Czech Defence Minister Kuhnl said.

Slovakia currently has 574 personnel on peacekeeping missions abroad.

Compiled by Magdalena MacLeod from press reports
The Slovak Spectator cannot vouch for the accuracy of the information presented in its Flash News postings.

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