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27 November, 1998
National Defense Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos told Parliament yesterday that Greece would participate with a contingent of 40-45 soldiers in a NATO force to be stationed in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM).
The contingent will be set up to protect more than 2,000 OSCE observers in the Yugoslav province of Kosovo.
Mr. Tsohatzopoulos said the NATO force under French command would comprise a total of 250 troops and had nothing to do with "NATO's supposed intervention in Kosovo" as borne out by the fact that it will be based in FYROM.
Reminding the House that Greece had insisted right to the end that a peaceful solution and the avoidance of military intervention was possible in Kosovo, Mr. Tsohatzopoulos said this was eventually attained by virtue of the agreement reached between Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic and US special envoy Richard Holbrooke. As a force for peace, security and stability in the region, Greece is assuming an active role within the framework of OSCE resolutions, because peace is an issue which is of primary concern to Greece and not only the countries directly involved," Mr. Tsohatzopoulos said.
He was replying to a question tabled by Communist Party of Greece (KKE) deputy Babis Agourakis, who claimed that the NATO force to be stationed in FYROM would be ready to intervene at any time in Kosovo "and on any pretext".
Source: Athens News Agency