LONDON: Britain to decrease Sierra Leone contingent
About a third of the British troops serving in Sierra Leone will go home in the next week, the British government said Saturday.
Defense Secretary Geoff Hoon said about 200 soldiers would complete their work training Sierra Leone troops on Friday. Their withdrawal will reduce the British military complement in the west African nation from between 550 and 600 to 360.
In the last 14 months, British troops have trained 8,500 local soldiers in Sierra Leone, where a United Nations force is disarming rebel groups in the wake of a 10-year civil war.
The remaining British personnel will act as military observers and staff officers for the U.N. mission in the country, participate in training and offer "operational advice" to the government of Sierra Leone.
Macedonia: Envoy warns parliament to abide by peace plan
NATO's ambassador to Macedonia, Hansjorg Eiff, warned Saturday that the alliance's role in Macedonia's peace process could be in jeopardy after parliament suspended debate on reforms to grant greater rights to ethnic Albanians.
Eiff told Macedonian officials that parliament cannot put up new conditions that would stall a step-by-step deal to end the six-month insurgency.
Friday, parliament speaker Stojan Andov adjourned debate and said discussions of proposed constitutional changes could not be held while barricades remained on roads and protesters pressured parliament. There was no indication when the debate would resume.
Under a Western-backed peace plan, parliament must back the package before NATO resumes collecting weapons from ethnic Albanian rebels.