Balkans: December 1, 2003


: Bosnia's national parliament on Monday passed a law to radically reform the defense system, requiring constitutional changes in the two-entity Balkan country to fulfill a key condition for closer ties with NATO. The adoption of the law was only the beginning of the restructuring process, since regional armies and separate defense ministries were to remain in place. NATO would like to see the total number of Bosnian troops under arms reduced from the current 20,000 to 7,500 by 2005.

Meanwhile, at the NATO meeting in Brussels they expected to agree to cut the SFOR peacekeeping force in Bosnia-Herzegovina by at least one-third, from some 12,000 to some 8,000 by the middle of 2004. That's largely a result of the United States wanting to cut its troop levels in the Balkans in order to meet its pressing military commitments in Iraq and Afghanistan. - Adam Geibel

NATO's SFOR, online at:


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