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Deiss joins NATO ministers to discuss European security

Swiss Foreign Minister Joseph Deiss will on Thursday attend talks in Brussels to discuss international military cooperation in Kosovo, particularly the KFOR operations to stabilise and re-build the war-ravaged region.

This content was published on December 16, 1999 - 09:33

Swiss Foreign Minister Joseph Deiss will on Thursday attend talks in Brussels to discuss international military cooperation in Kosovo, particularly the KFOR operations to stabilise and re-build the war-ravaged region.

Deiss will join ministers of the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council, which groups 19 NATO members and 26 states -- including Switzerland – that participate in NATO’s Partnership For Peace Programme.

The Brussels meeting of the EAPC will address a plan of action for the next two years and Switzerland will promote programmes which are aimed at improving international humanitarian law in the Balkans.

Switzerland has a military unit that serves alongside KFOR troops in Kosovo, and the Swiss government is actively involved in helping to introduce pro-democracy reforms in the Serb province.

The Brussels talks are also likely to focus on NATO’s Washington summit declaration in April, which stressed that non-European Union allies must be able to participate in European security and defence.

Switzerland is not a member of the EU.

Last week, the EU approved plans that would allow the 15-nation body to lead military operations in response to international crises where NATO is involved.

The main element of the plan is to create a new rapid reaction corps of 50,000 to 60,000 troops by 2003, backed by hundreds of aircraft and naval units, capable of deploying within 60 days and sustaining itself for a year.

The idea is to use the force in humanitarian crises, rescue operations and peacekeeping.

From staff and wire reports.

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