|Author (Person)||Taylor, Simon|
|Series Title||European Voice|
|Series Details||Vol 7, No.11, 15.3.01, p1|
FOREIGN ministers are to go ahead with plans to increase the number of EU monitors in Kosovo after assurances from NATO that it will help free any observers who may be captured.
The extra monitors are being sent in to help defuse the growing conflict between ethnic Albanians and the Serbian military.
In a test of the Union's ability to work with the alliance in crisis management roles, France, the UK and Germany led calls for a NATO pledge on safeguards for the observers. "We want to ensure that security measures are sufficient," said one EU diplomat.
NATO ambassadors agreed that the existing commitment to help free any captured members of the K-FOR peacekeeping force would also apply to EU monitors.
Sweden's Anna Lindh will push hard for an agreement to increase the number of Union monitors in the buffer zone between Kosovo and Southern Serbia at next week's meeting of foreign ministers Brussels. France, the UK and Germany, with support from Belgium and Italy, insisted at this week's meeting of the Politcal and Security Committee that the alliance had to give guarantees that it would provide assistance to freeing monitors if they were seized by renegade Albanian bands in the buffer zone.
NATO had been reluctant to go beyond assurances only to help with casualty evacuation and search-and-rescue and not the more dangerous task of freeing captured personnel, known as extraction.
It had argued that each alliance member that commits troops to an operation is responsible for freeing its own nationals in the event of capture.
Union foreign ministers pledged in February to increase the number of observers on the ground from nine to more than 30.
Foreign ministers are to go ahead with plans to increase the number of EU monitors in Kosovo after assurances from NATO that it will help free any observers who may be captured.
|Countries / Regions||Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Serbia, Slovenia|