- Title: KOSOVO: U.S. troops hand over control to German KFOR troops in North Kosovo
- Date: 30th March 2008
- Summary: (EU) NOTHING HILL MILITARY BASE IN LEPOSAVIC, KOSOVO (MARCH 30, 2008) (REUTERS) NATO HELICOPTER FLYING ABOVE TROOPS U.S. KFOR SOLDIERS LINED UP GERMAN KFOR SOLDIERS LINED UP WIDE OF KOSOVO, U.S. AND FRENCH FLAGS ON MASTS U.S. SOLDIER WITH U.S. FLAG WAVING BEHIND U.S. FLAG BEING TAKEN DOWN / AUDIO OF NATIONAL ANTHEM" U.S. SOLDIERS HOLDING U.S. FLAG U.S. SOLDIERS WATCHING WIDE OF GERMAN FLAG BEING RAISED GERMAN FLAG U.S. SOLDIERS LINED UP (SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. KFOR OFFICER, CAPTAIN JEFF BLOWERS, SAYING, "I believe the German soldiers will do an excellent job they will fill right in n when the Americans left off, and I don't think you will be able to notice a change at all at the gate one." GERMAN SOLDIERS WALKING GERMAN KFOR ARMOURED CONVOY WIDE OF ENTRANCE TO BASE
- Embargoed: 14th April 2008 13:00
- Topics: International Relations,Defence / Military
- Reuters ID: LVA8W2SUFOBRUWR7YN13HSDBDTNP
- Story Text: U.S. troops hand over control of the of the 16,000-strong NATO-led peace force in Kosovo to German troops.
U.S. troops handed over control of Nothing Hill military base in Leposavic, some 60 kilometres north-west of Pristina, to German troops on Sunday (March 30).
Notting Hill is the only base of the 16,000-strong NATO-led peace force located in the northern, Serb-dominated part of Kosovo.
Last month, riots in northern Kosovo by a Serb population hostile to Kosovo independence killed one U.N. policeman and forced the pullout of U.N.
personnel. Serbian protesters torched customs and police posts in Jarinje manned by UN and Kosovo police. A Ukrainian police officer serving with the United Nations died overnight of injuries sustained in the riots. Polish, French and Ukrainian officers were among 42 U.N. police and 22 KFOR soldiers injured.
The violence was sparked by a U.N. police operation to retake a U.N.
court in the town of Mitrovica seized three days earlier by protesting Serbs.
The unrest has cast further doubt on the deployment in the north of a European Union rule-of-law mission in the coming two months.
It left NATO holding the line. But the 16,000-strong peace force has ruled out policing the new state, a job the United Nations is supposed to hand over to the EU.
About 120,000 Serbs remain in Kosovo among 2 million ethnic Albanians.
Almost half live in the north, adjacent to Serbia and in complete isolation from the capital Pristina. They reject the incoming EU mission as "occupiers".
Backed by powerful ally Russia, Serbia has rejected Kosovo's secession and its recognition by the United States and a majority of the EU's 27 members.
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