Spain: Troops To Leave Kosovo

Spain: Troops To Leave Kosovo
March 20th, 2009  
Team Infidel

Topic: Spain: Troops To Leave Kosovo

Spain: Troops To Leave Kosovo
New York Times
March 20, 2009
Pg. 8
By Victoria Burnett
Spain said Thursday that it would withdraw its 600 peacekeeping troops from Kosovo by the fall, easing the way for a possible increase in the number of soldiers it has deployed in Afghanistan. The Spanish government, which is trying to rein in secessionist movements in the Basque region and Catalonia, does not recognize Kosovo as a sovereign nation. Defense Minister Carme Chacón,who was visiting Spain’s force there on Thursday, said the withdrawal would take place gradually over the coming months. “Your mission has been accomplished,” she told the troops in comments broadcast on the Web site of the newspaper El País. “Now it is time to go home.”
Rafael Calduch, a professor of international relations at Complutense University in Madrid, said in a telephone interview that it did “not make sense to have troops in an independent country that Spain does not recognize.” He added that there was also “a lot of pressure to send more troops to Afghanistan.” Spanish officials have high expectations of a closer relationship with the United States after the inauguration of Barack Obama, but diplomats and foreign policy experts in Madrid say an early test of the relationship will be Spain’s willingness to enlarge its force of nearly 800 troops in Afghanistan.

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