NATO - North Atlantic Treaty Organization

11 Jun. 2009

NATO Defence Ministers announce gradual reduction of troops in Kosovo

Taking into account the steady improvement of the security situation in Kosovo, NATO Defence Ministers agreed today in Brussels to begin a gradual adjustment KFOR’s force presence. Ministers recognised a positive evolution over a sustained period of time. The decision to gradually reduce troop numbers will reflect this development.

Ministers agreed that the transition of KFOR to a so-called “deterrent presence” will be implemented in a gradual and phased manner.  Ministers made clear that the pace of  reductions in the KFOR troop levels will be decided by the North Atlantic Council as the situation evolves, taking into account security conditions.  While stressing that a gradual reduction in the number of troops  is part of the normal evolution of a successful military operation, Ministers noted that there will be no automaticity in this process.

Enhanced flexiblity and situational awareness will be important components of the new KFOR force posture. While downsizing troops on the ground, KFOR will continue relying on quick, capable over the horizon reserves.

Finally, NATO Defence Ministers reaffirmed that KFOR will remain responsible for a safe and secure environment in Kosovo and will stay in Kosovo under United Nations Security Council Resolution 1244 as long as necessary and as long as the UN Security Council does not decide otherwise.  They reiterated that the Alliance’s commitment to Kosovo and the maintenance of a safe and secure environment remains firm.