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NATO increases number of alliance troops

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<p>The head of French forces said on Friday that NATO have doubled the strength of its force in Macedonia .</p><p>However the Macedonian Defence Minister, Nikola Kljusev, told a news conference that NATO would not be allowed to use the country as a staging post for a ground offensive.</p><p>As NATO continues to increase the number of alliance ground troops in the neighbouring countries to Yugoslavia, there has been increased speculation that a ground attack may be imminent.</p><p>However, Macedonia, who have agreed to let more NATO forces onto its borders with Yugoslavia, gave a word of caution to the Allies that the purpose of their presence should only be in the interest of peace.</p><p>SOUNDBITE: (Macedonian)</p><p>"I connection with the different forecasts being made on whether a peaceful settlement will be reached or whether ground troops are necessarily have to be deployed, I can tell you that a peaceful resolution will be reached and we believe the NATO troops currently staying in Macedonia can be used for fulfilling their peacekeeping mission. Regarding whether or not ground troops will be used (in combat), I can tell you that you must be aware that our position is that the territory of Macedonia may not be used for offensive activities against any of the neighbouring countries. Let me go back to the issue of peacekeeping. Troops in Macedonia can of course perform their peacekeeping mission from here after the Yugoslav government consents."</p><p>SUPER CAPTION: Nikola Kljusev, Macedonian Defence Minister</p><p>French troops in Macedonia have been taking part in exercises that will prepare them for the possibility of a real clash with Serb troops.</p><p>The thirty men who make up the platoon of the 21st Regiment of the Infantry of Mines are normally based in a town near the Cote d'Azur called Frejus.</p><p>But since the Kosovo conflict began they have joined the 14-thousand NATO troops currently serving in the Balkans.</p><p>At a press conference in Skopje on Friday, Major General Marcel Valentin, Commander of the French Framework Brigade assured his audience that the army won't move into Kosovo until after a peace deal was signed</p><p>SOUNDBITE: (English)</p><p>"You know and I repeat that we have only one option which is planned which is to go to Kosovo after the signature of any peace agreement."</p><p>SUPER CAPTION: Major General Marcel Valentin, Commander of the French Framework Brigade</p><p>He added that despite an increased NATO presence, no military decisions will be taken without consulting the Macedonian authorities first.</p><p>SOUNDBITE: (English)</p><p>"The number of troops is up almost double or twice of now. That is to be discussed between Mr Solana and the Macedonian authorities. And why it's up to the Macedonian authorities is because we have to get authorisation and also it's depending from the difficult matter of the situation."</p><p>SUPER CAPTION: Major General Marcel Valentin, Commander of the French Framework Brigade</p><p>Valentin is being replaced by General Bruno Cuche who joins the 2-thousand-700 French troops participating in the NATO effort.</p>

dc:identifier
018-00130155
dc:source
AP Archive
dc:title
NATO increases number of alliance troops
dc:type
MovingImage
mhub:credit
AP Archive
dc:description
<p>The head of French forces said on Friday that NATO have doubled the strength of its force in Macedonia .</p><p>However the Macedonian Defence Minister, Nikola Kljusev, told a news conference that NATO would not be allowed to use the country as a staging post for a ground offensive.</p><p>As NATO continues to increase the number of alliance ground troops in the neighbouring countries to Yugoslavia, there has been increased speculation that a ground attack may be imminent.</p><p>However, Macedonia, who have agreed to let more NATO forces onto its borders with Yugoslavia, gave a word of caution to the Allies that the purpose of their presence should only be in the interest of peace.</p><p>SOUNDBITE: (Macedonian)</p><p>"I connection with the different forecasts being made on whether a peaceful settlement will be reached or whether ground troops are necessarily have to be deployed, I can tell you that a peaceful resolution will be reached and we believe the NATO troops currently staying in Macedonia can be used for fulfilling their peacekeeping mission. Regarding whether or not ground troops will be used (in combat), I can tell you that you must be aware that our position is that the territory of Macedonia may not be used for offensive activities against any of the neighbouring countries. Let me go back to the issue of peacekeeping. Troops in Macedonia can of course perform their peacekeeping mission from here after the Yugoslav government consents."</p><p>SUPER CAPTION: Nikola Kljusev, Macedonian Defence Minister</p><p>French troops in Macedonia have been taking part in exercises that will prepare them for the possibility of a real clash with Serb troops.</p><p>The thirty men who make up the platoon of the 21st Regiment of the Infantry of Mines are normally based in a town near the Cote d'Azur called Frejus.</p><p>But since the Kosovo conflict began they have joined the 14-thousand NATO troops currently serving in the Balkans.</p><p>At a press conference in Skopje on Friday, Major General Marcel Valentin, Commander of the French Framework Brigade assured his audience that the army won't move into Kosovo until after a peace deal was signed</p><p>SOUNDBITE: (English)</p><p>"You know and I repeat that we have only one option which is planned which is to go to Kosovo after the signature of any peace agreement."</p><p>SUPER CAPTION: Major General Marcel Valentin, Commander of the French Framework Brigade</p><p>He added that despite an increased NATO presence, no military decisions will be taken without consulting the Macedonian authorities first.</p><p>SOUNDBITE: (English)</p><p>"The number of troops is up almost double or twice of now. That is to be discussed between Mr Solana and the Macedonian authorities. And why it's up to the Macedonian authorities is because we have to get authorisation and also it's depending from the difficult matter of the situation."</p><p>SUPER CAPTION: Major General Marcel Valentin, Commander of the French Framework Brigade</p><p>Valentin is being replaced by General Bruno Cuche who joins the 2-thousand-700 French troops participating in the NATO effort.</p>
dc:subject
unrest, conflicts and war
crisis
mhub:temporal-coverage
1999-05-281999-05-28