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Spain announces Kosovo pullout

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Spain announces Kosovo pullout

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Spain has announced it is withdrawing its troops from Kosovo. The Defence Minister detailed the pull-out on a visit to inspect the 632-man contingent in the province.

Carme Chacon laid a wreath for the nine Spanish soldiers killed since the Kosovo Force (KFor) was deployed in 1999. The Minister said there would be a staged pull-out, in consultation with other NATO members. But the last soldiers were expected to leave by the end of summer. “Congratulations to the Spanish soldiers for years of good work in a difficult job, “ the Spanish Chacon said. “Your mission is complete and you are going home.” Spain has refused to recognise Kosovo’s unilateral declaration of independence from Serbia, fearing the reaction of separatist Basques. On the Serbian President’s visit to Madrid last week, Prime Minister Zapatero said Spain would support Belgrade’s bid for EU membership. It holds the EU’s rotating presidency next year. Britain is also pulling its troops out of Kosovo by September. But NATO’s Secretary General has denied KFOR will be scaled down.