NATO bolsters Kosovo force before Serb elections

April 25, 2012 19:36

PRISTINA - NATO began reinforcing its peacekeeping force in Kosovo on Wednesday, faced with the threat of unrest over Serbian plans to conduct elections in its Balkan neighbor four years after it broke away.

The first 250 German soldiers of a 700-strong reinforcement flew into Pristina airport, with the rest due to arrive by Monday before the vote on May 6.

Tensions have been rising over Serbian plans to conduct parliamentary and presidential elections among Serbs in its former southern province, where 90 percent of its 1.7 million people are Albanians.

Kosovo declared independence in 2008, but Serbia refuses to recognize the secession and is controlling a small slice of northern Kosovo where some 50,000 Serbs live.

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