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NEWSDESK

PALMA
A CONTINGENT of Spanish troops is to leave the Balearics for Kosovo next month as part of the ongoing UN peacekeeping mission.
A group of 470 troops will fly to Kosovo on April 5 to relieve troops from the Ceuta General Command. The Balearic group will be in Kosovo until the middle of August when they will be relieved by troops from the Melilla General Command.

The Balearic General Command will provide 50 percent of the 470 soldiers. The rest of the soldiers will be from artillery, cavalry and signal units, all based in Palma.

The unit will be called Baleares II. It is the second time that the Balearic General Command will lead a peacekeeping operation. The first was in 2006 in Bosnia-Herzegovina. The unit will be serving in the north of Kosovo on the border with Serbia where there are currently 15'000 UN troops deployed and will be supported by 110 light vehicles, 40 heavy vehicles and 61 armoured vehicles. Their duties will include protecting Serb enclaves in Kosovo, supporting the Kosovan police and acting as bodyguards to high-ranking Serb public officials and religious figures. According to Colonel-in-Chief Miguel Angel Conde, one of the gravest problems facing Kosovo was that of infrastructure. Many villages have no electricity and there are frequent power cuts. Conde said that there were no guerillas operating in the areas but there were mafias involved in smuggling across the border between Serbia and Kosovo.

The Commandant General José Emilio Roldán said that one of his biggest preoccupations was the amount of road traffic accidents that take place in Kosovo because of the deteriorating roads.