Lithuania will reduce the number of troops it has in Kosovo because of the improved security situation, the country’s Defence Ministry Spokesman Danguole Bickauskiene said on Tuesday.
Speaking to French news agency Agence France Presse, AFP, Bickauskiene noted that the withdrawal of troops from Kosovo is affected by the economic crisis, which has decreased the national budget but can be justified because of the progress Kosovo has made to enhance security.
“First of all the security situation in Kosovo has improved. With the economic crisis, our budget has been reduced’, he said, also citing other “important commitments in Afghanistan” a state currently hosting around 8,000 NATO troops from 36 countries.
Lithiania’s announcement follows Spain’s declaration on Sunday that they would be withdrawing their NATO troops from Kosovo.
Lithuania currently has about 30 soldiers serving in KFOR and intends to keep five troops in the force to serve on a training team, Bickauskiene said.
NATO’s mission in Kosovo, KFOR, is a force made up of 15,000 soldiers from 34 alliance countries. Earlier this year, NATO officials did announce that some reduction in troop size would be occurring because stability in the region.