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Germany to send hundreds of troops to volatile Kosovo: report

IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency

Berlin, April 21, IRNA -- Germany will dispatch hundreds of troops to Kosovo as part of a NATO-led rapid reaction force ahead of elections in Serbia which sparked tensions in its mostly Albanian former province, the Hamburg-based news magazine Der Spiegel reported Saturday.

Some 550 German and 150 Austrian soldiers will join NATO's KFOR force in northern Kosovo ahead of the May 6 elections amid major concern that violence may engulf the Serb-dominated northern Kosovo region.

The rapid reaction force will be deployed on May 1, according to Der Spiegel.

The redeployment comes only weeks after NATO cut its military presence in Kosovo to 5,300 soldiers, 1,300 of them from Germany.

Tensions are up after Serbia announced plans to hold elections in northern Kosovo - indicating it is not ready to give up its claim over it.

Authorities in Kosovo have vowed to prevent the election.

Kosovo gained independence from Serbia in 2008 but Belgrade still insists on sovereignty, and Serbs in the north resist the authority of the government in Pristina.

Islamic Republic News Agency/IRNA NewsCode: 80089392

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