January 3, 2012
The United States, by the end of the year, will withdraw troops from Kosovo, as part of general saving measures in the U.S. armed forces.
This was reported on Monday, by one Albanian agency (NOA), quoting sources from the US administration, warning that “the withdrawal of US troops from Camp Bondsteel in Kosovo could lead to instability in Kosovo.”
Washington, USA – Tuesday, January 3, 2012 / The independent NewsweeK
President of the Albanian American Civic League Joe Dioguardi and several Albanian lobbyists discussed the matter with the President of the Armed Services Committee in the House of Representatives, Back Maccain. League officials insisted that the withdrawal of US troops must be postponed until the situation in northern Kosovo is solved.
The departure of Americans from Kosovo also means the departure from “Camp Bondsteel” near Ferizaj a Kosovo southern city, which has become a “financial burden” on America.
Accordingly the new military budget and strategy for the region provides for its closure. US diplomats have stated that the US does not want to “keep more than is necessary”, especially in the regions “which are not so high on the list of American priorities.” The Albanian lobbyists from the United States want that Americans to hand over the base to the Turks, who were “loyal allies” of Kosovo.
However, the United States and its partners in NATO have pledged to keep the number of soldiers present in Kosovo at around six thousand as long as is needed, in order to maintain security and freedom of movement throughout the territory, including the north, said Washington.
This issue was discussed and decided at the end of October, during the meetings of the foreign and defence ministers of NATO member states. It was said more than once by US officials that members of the NATO force in Kosovo “entered together and will leave together, and that withdrawal will not happen individually.”
However, prior to the outburst of violence in the north of Kosovo, NATO had planned to reduce KFOR to 2,500 soldiers. This plan has been halted for an undetermined amount of time.
The American military presence in Kosovo is seen as part of the larger context of its long term strategic pledge for European security. As part of this strategy, the US is determined for Balkan countries to integrate into the Euro-Atlantic institutions, and to make it part of the core of European security.
Within the reductions at Pentagon, the US considered the possibility of withdrawal of American army from Kosovo. This announcement caused reactions of Albanian – Americans.
The base “Bondsteel” was built in June 1999, immediately after the arrival of US Marines in Kosovo. Tents set by the vanguard of US forces were eventually replaced by prefabricated houses.