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The Ministry of Defence has no plans to unilaterally downsize its contribution to KFOR

In the context of appearance by the Czech Minister of Defence Vlasta Parkanová in ”Otázky Václava Moravce” TV program (Czech Television, March 8th, 2009), some media, especially those with international coverage, reported that there were plans to reduce the number of Czech military personnel deployed for KFOR mission in Kosovo.

That is a misinterpretation of the Minister’s statement; there are no preparations for such a step to be made. Only after NATO military bodies provide their recommendations, Allies would enter into a discussion on future shape of KFOR. Any possible reduction of individual national contingents would only be considered based on the outcome of deliberations on future strategy in NATO’s bodies.

On the future of KFOR mission, the Minister said in the Czech Television, quote: ”At the regular Defence Ministerial meeting in June this year, General Craddock (General John Craddock, Supreme Allied Commander Europe) is to provide recommendations to us as to what should be the scope of NATO’s engagement in its Kosovo mission, whether the number of soldiers present should not be reduced.

There is a huge difference between demands and necessity of military presence in Kosovo and of that in Afghanistan and much as it is good to have soldiers in Kosovo, while we are sharing all burdens with our partners, we should know that soldiers are needed in Afghanistan even more. Should General Craddock recommend that personnel reduction be appropriate, …, then I would perhaps recommend that the number of Czech soldiers in Kosovo be downsized.“