Spain: Kosovo Troop Withdrawal ‘Flexible’

resizer132Spain says the withdrawal of its troops from Kosovo is flexible after receiving criticism from NATO concerning their previous plans to pull their troops in the next four or five months.

“Defence Minister Carmen Chacon will meet NATO’s Secretary General next week to explain the reasons for the withdrawal and to reach a joint decision on a timetable,” said Spain’s government spokesperson for the Reuters News Agency.

NATO’s Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer disapproved of Spain’s declaration to withdraw its troops which was made by Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero on Friday, because of the absence of discussion within the NATO Force in Kosovo, KFOR.

The United States, one of Kosovo’s key supporters, also stated that they were “deeply disappointed” with Spain’s decision. In effect, Spain’s government spokesperson stated that troops can pull out later than initially stated.

“The decision to leave has been made, but we can be flexible over the timetable, be it one year, 18 months or eight months.”

KFOR has however previously announced that the number of troops in Kosovo will decrease, since its declaration of independence had brought stability to the region.

Kosovo declared independence from Serbia on February 17 of last year, and has since been recognised by 56 countries. Spain is one of the five EU member states that have not recognised the state. The others are Cyprus, Greece, Slovakia and Romania.

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