Browne announces deployment of British troops to Kosovo

Defence secretary Des Browne has today announced that a battalion of 600 British troops will be sent into Kosovo.

The announcement follows a request from Nato for more troops to be sent into the country to maintain order following Kosovo’s declaration of independence from Serbia on February 17th.

The British troops from 2nd Battalion, The Rifles, will be deployed from the end of May.

Mr Browne said in a written parliamentary statement today: “The UK has received a request from Nato for the deployment of a UK battalion to Kosovo by the end of May as part of our existing commitment to the Nato/EU shared pan-Balkans Operational Reserve Force (ORF).

“This is a long-standing commitment that the UK meets in rotation with Italy and Germany.

“We are, therefore, well-prepared to meet Nato’s request and I have agreed to deploy our ORF Battalion until June 30th 2008. The task will be undertaken by 2nd Battalion, The Rifles, who have been trained specifically for this requirement,” Mr Browne declared.

“This deployment will demonstrate our commitment to the security of the region and will provide NATO with extra flexibility in maintaining peace and stability for all communities within Kosovo.”

A new constitution is due to come into force in Kosovo in June.