The Observer - 1,200 Kosovo troops to be withdrawn

Friday November 12, 1999

A further 1,200 British troops are being withdrawn from Kosovo, reducing the pressure on the armed forces' worldwide commitments, the ministry of defence announced yesterday.

They include 160 frontline troops in an artillery battery who will be replaced by a 550-strong Swedish battle group.

The withdrawal means that Britain's commitment to the K-For peacekeeping force will be cut to below 4,000 from its peak of over 10,000. Britain will retain its command of the central Kosovo multinational brigade based in Pristina, the provincial capital.

Geoff Hoon, the defence secretary, yesterday praised the work of British forces there. "These reductions, in addition to the reductions announced for Bosnia, underline our commitment to reduce overstretch," he added.

The MoD last month announced a reduction in the number of British troops in Bosnia from 4,200 to 3,300 in line with an overall cut in Nato forces there. Soldiers from the Household Cavalry will return to Britain and will not be replaced.,2763,102703,00.html

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