Armenia to deploy more soldiers to Kosovo

Armenia held farewell ceremonies Tuesday for 34 peacekeepers deploying to Kosovo as part the U.N. mission there.

The troops depart Wednesday as part of the sixth rotation of Armenian peacekeepers to the Balkan region, where they have served since 2004 alongside a Greek battalion.

Lt. Gen. Artur Agabekian said Armenia planned to have a fully functioning peacekeeping brigade by 2010, and would begin forming a second battalion early next year.

Some 17,000 NATO-led peacekeepers are deployed to Kosovo, which has been administered by the U.N. and NATO since 1999, when a U.S.-led air war put an end to attacks by Serb forces against the province’s ethnic Albanian majority.

Armenia also has deployed nearly 50 troops to Iraq to serve as part of the U.S.-led coalition.

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