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Swiss troops to stay in Kosovo

The government has extended the mandate of its Kosovo peacekeeping force, Swisscoy, to 2011.

In a statement released on Friday, the cabinet said an end to the presence of international peacekeepers in the breakaway Serbian province was nowhere in sight.

Up to 220 Swiss soldiers are deployed as part of the multinational Kosovo Force (Kfor). An additional 50 peacekeepers can be sent to the province for stints lasting up to two months in the case of a deteriorating situation.

The Swiss deployment will cost taxpayers SFr39.4 million ($34 million) a year – SFr2 million more than up to now. Swisscoy has been active in Kosovo since 1999.

Swisscoy is responsible for internal structures, personnel and disciplinary issues at the Austrian-Swiss Camp 'Casablanca' located near Suva Reka in the south of the province.

The cabinet said a Kosovo free of violence and with prospects for the future were in Switzerland's national interests.

Around ten per cent or 110,000 of ethnic Albanians from Kosovo currently reside in Switzerland.


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