Monday, March 27, 2006

US To Close Kosovo Base, Relocate Troops - NATO Official

PRISTINA, Serbia-Montenegro (AP)--The U.S. is planning to close one of its military bases in Kosovo and relocate its troops to its main base in the disputed province, a NATO official said Monday.

The plan, however, wouldn't affect overall U.S. troop numbers, the official said on condition of anonymity in exchange for discussing the issue.

The U.S. troops would be transferred from Camp Monteith to Camp Bondsteel, the main U.S. base in the province.

"That process may eventually bring a decision to close Camp Monteith later this year," the official said.

Camp Monteith is located in Gnjilane, 50 kilometers east of the capital, Pristina. Camp Bondsteel is some 45 kilometers southeast of Pristina.

A U.S. military spokesman in Kosovo, Maj. Paul Pecena, confirmed the relocation of the soldiers over the past two weeks, but declined to speculate on whether the base would be closed.

The NATO official said a small troop presence would be maintained at Camp Monteith until a final decision is made on closing it.

Some 1,700 U.S. peacekeepers are part of the 17,500-strong NATO-led peacekeeping force, down from a high of 5,000 U.S. soldiers deployed here after the war.

Kosovo has been run by the U.N. since mid-1999, when a NATO air war halted a Serb crackdown on separatist ethnic Albanians fighting for independence, and forced Belgrade to relinquish control of the province. Kosovo officially remains a province of Serbia.

U.N.-sponsored talks in Vienna are attempting to resolve the province's future status. Ethnic Albanians, who comprise about 90% of the population of 2 million, insist on full independence. But Serbia, and Kosovo's Serb minority, say Belgrade must retain some control.


Konaction said...

Very Good... As citizen of Gjilan, I'm proud of having presence of US Troops in my place (Mont.). I worked with them now 7 years, you have really kicked some ass guys :)


Sami said...

Thanks Konaction. I was one of those soldiers at Camp Monteith. Not only did I have a great time in Gjilan, I also found out that my gjyshe was Albanian, so tash une e di une jam Shqiptar. Last November I visited Shqipria and also stayed 5 days in Gjilan. Une planoj te vizitoj prape ne gusht. Falemnderit shume per respekt. Tung.

Anonymous said...

I spent 3 years as a civilian in Kosovo, all of that time at Camp Monteith. I want to personally thank all the people of Gjilan for making me feel welcome and including me into their community. Gjilan is the example of what Kosovo should strive towards. Tolerance, understanding, forward thinking and welcoming. You have set the standard; hopefully the communities surrounding Camp Bondsteel will strive to be equal. I would like to thank the following: Donati Restaurant, excellent Italian food, Lura Restaurant, outstanding service, Lala Resturaunt, for great grill, and finally Jashi (Oooo Kantunar) and the Doors Bar (formally Dibis), located behind the KPS station, American Rock and Roll and the coldest beer in Kosovo.

Falemnderit shume

thetruepatriot said...

A special thank you to all the American servicemen & servicewomen that have served and are still serving in Kosova. You are doing a great job. Your country should be proud of you and I'm sure it is.


The Ilirian

Anonymous said...

I hope that the movement of the troops will preceed the closing of the base and the movement of all US troops back home. We are no longer needed here. This is a Civil Affairs mission, nothing more. Get us the hell out of Kosovo.

Anonymous said...

Hey Guys,

Our boys should come back home. Kosovars be ready to talk to the Serbs. They will come back home as well.