Wednesday, May 04, 2005

German cabinet approves extension of Bundeswehr's Kosovo, Sudan missions

Berlin: The federal cabinet has given the go-ahead for the Bundeswehr's further participation in the international Kfor [Kosovo Force] mission in Kosovo. The extension of the mandate by another 12 months still requires the approval of the Bundestag, deputy government spokesman Thomas Steg explained in Berlin after the meeting.

The Bundeswehr has been present in Kosovo since June 1999. At the moment, Germany has about 2,500 soldiers on site. Extending the mission is necessary because the security situation in Kosovo requires the continuing presence of the Kfor troops, Steg said.

The Bundeswehr is also supposed to continue its support mission for the air transport of African troops to the crisis region of Darfur in western Sudan, which has been underway since December 2004. The extension of this mandate by another six months must also be approved by the Bundestag.

Steg pointed out that a "simplified approval" procedure by the parliament is possible if the parliamentary groups agree. Since the mandate is not being changed but merely extended, the government assumes this will be agreed.

Source: ddp news agency, Berlin, in German 1205 gmt 4 May 05

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