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Kosovo is to create its first national army, with 5,000 soldiers and 3,000 reservists.

It will be built on the current lightly-armed civic response force, and the Kosovo Security Force that replaced the armed rebels that fought against the Serbs at the end of the 1990s when Kosovo gained a degree of international recognition as independent in 2007.

NATO remains the main armed force in Kosovo, with 5,000 troops still stationed there as peacekeepers, but relations with Serbia have warmed of late. This resulted from Serbia accepting to give up administrative control of the majority Serb enclave in northern Kosovo in exchange for opening EU membership negotiations.

The new Kosovan army will have to work closely with NATO forces.

Tensions remain in the north where most of Kosovo’s more than 100,000 Serbs live. The Kosovan Serb’s leader, Ivica Dacic, opposes the recent compromise reached between Pristina and Belgrade, and brokered by the EU.

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