Open-ended mission?

US SECRETARY of Defence Donald Rumsfeld said, during his recent visit to Croatia, that Washington wanted Nato forces to remain in Bosnia sine die.

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Published: Wed 11 Feb 2004, 12:31 PM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 1:14 AM

He said the presence of these troops was important because they had successfully accomplished their mission in settling peace and order and achieved stability. Which is a fact, so their numbers have been reduced. The size of the Nato force was 60,000 soldiers in 1996 but has now come down to 15,000, most of them being Americans. There was a commitment that the commander of this contingent would be American. This would have made the American presence strongly felt in the region and given the issue a very special importance, especially after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Moreover, the military presence in the former Yugoslavia is geographically regarded as an optimal presence in South Europe and close from Central Asia as well as the Arabian region and the Middle East. Although US President George W. Bush said at the beginning of his presidential election campaign that there was no need for a military presence in the region, he reconsidered it in light of the new developments. This, however, has made the American presence in more than a region, whether in East or South Europe, a must.

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