UK Armed Forces will increase their support to a NATO force in Kosovo, Defence Secretary Michael Fallon has announced today.
A team of nearly 30 UK troops will travel to Eastern Europe early next year to join the NATO Kosovo Force (KFOR). KFOR’s mission is to maintain safety, security and freedom of movement in Kosovo.
The year-long deployment will bolster the mission’s capability, following a request from NATO for further support to KFOR by allies. Its particular role will be to support KFOR’s ability to carry out intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance. The UK team will be based in the KFOR headquarters in Pristina.
KFOR began as a peacekeeping force in the late 1990s. Now it has evolved into a smaller, more flexible body of around 4,200 troops, acting as one of the main security providers in Kosovo. Troops are contributed by some 30 countries, including Germany, Italy, Turkey, Poland and the US, as well as the UK.
At the NATO Summit in Warsaw this year, Allies reaffirmed that KFOR would continue to contribute to a safe and secure environment in Kosovo. It will also continue to adapt. As the Warsaw communiqué made clear, changes to the Alliance’s troop presence reflect conditions in the country. The force’s overall goal is to enable self-sufficient security in Kosovo.
Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said:
There are significant security and stability challenges in Western Balkans.
NATO remains a cornerstone of our defence. By continuing to defend the security of Europe, Britain’s security is strengthened at home.
This latest deployment follows support the UK provided in Bosnia and Herzegovina last year to the EU Force (EUFOR). This team successfully carried out a similar role. This deployment part of a wider effort to maintain security in the Balkans area, which supports UK interests and security.
The UK has more than 3,000 military personnel deployed on operations around the world, clearly demonstrating Britain’s global Defence footprint.
In addition, the UK continues to meet NATO’s target of spending 2% of GDP on Defence, backed by a Defence budget that will rise every year for the rest of this decade.