Kosovo approves sending army troops on peacekeeping missions

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PRISTINA, Kosovo — Lawmakers in Kosovo gave their approval Tuesday for sending the country’s security forces to take part in international peacekeeping missions.

The 120-seat parliament voted unanimously, with 92 present lawmakers, in favour of the move. Following a request from the U.S. Central Command, it will put Kosovo’s troops under the command of the National Guard of Iowa during peacekeeping assignments.

No specifics on the location of any missions or the number of the Kosovo peacekeepers to be deployed were made public.

The 3,400-troop Kosovo Security Force was turned into a regular army two years ago, although its name has not been changed to armed forces as planned.

Both NATO and the European Union expressed regret when Kosovo decided to go ahead with forming the army in 2018.

In about a decade, Kosovo’s lightly armed army is expected to have 5,000 troops and 3,000 reservists tasked with handling crisis response and civil protection operations.

But the country's planned 2021 budget of 63.6 million euros ($78 million) does not include much for adding military personnel or equipment without assistance from the United States.

The Associated Press