NATO considers sending 2nd relief force to Kosovo

NATO Peacekeepers from Germany arrive at the airport in Pristina, August 4, 2011

From Slobodan Lekic, the AP:  NATO may activate a second unit to bolster its forces in northern Kosovo to quell tensions between authorities and the Serb minority, officials said Thursday.

If approved, the second unit would reinforce a German-Austrian infantry battalion reserve force. The unit, made up of about 550 German soldiers and 150 Austrians, started arriving Wednesday. . . .

A diplomat and another official with knowledge of the situation said NATO might deploy a second reserve battalion because of the simmering tensions. Both officials said the new unit would be Italian-based. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media.

NATO spokeswoman Carmen Romero said the alliance had made no decision to deploy additional forces to Kosovo beyond the German-Austrian reserves. NATO has said that contingent isn’t intended to permanently increase the alliance force, but only to provide temporary relief during the crisis. . . .

In Kosovo, NATO spokesman Capt. Hans Wichter said the two crossing points were partly closed again Thursday, and the military alliance was assessing the situation. Wichter said only cars and humanitarian goods were allowed to cross into Kosovo’s Serb-run north.  (photo: Reuters)

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