28 Mar 11

US 'Winding Down' Bondsteel Base in Kosovo

The large military base in southern Kosovo faces reduction or closure as strategic attention shifts from the Balkans, US ambassador Christopher Dell tells Jane's.

Lawrence Marzouk

In an interview with Jane's Intelligence Review, ambassador Dell said it was a “myth” that Bondsteel was developed to project US power in the region. It was, in fact, a financial millstone, he said. 

As part of the shift in strategic emphasis, US military assets stationed in the region will be drawn down, according to the interview. 

Dell is quoted as saying said: “It [Bondsteel] is a huge liability, a very expensive property, and we have no desire to maintain it any longer than is absolutely necessary for the support of our presence here... we can even talk about continuing the US role here without Camp Bondsteel.”

Kosovo is moving down the US agenda, Dell told Jane's, as other problem regions take priority. 

“You can anticipate that the pressure of events elsewhere, whether it is the continuing situation with Afghanistan or the growing wave of democratic uprisings across the Middle East, simply calls policy-makers' attention towards the more pressing issues of the day,” he said.

“It is never good to be on the front page of The Washington Post because that usually means that you are a country in trouble. The fact that Kosovo has moved off the front pages is a sign of its continuing progress and the real stability here,” he continued.

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