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IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Release No: 540-97
October 09, 1997

TASK FORCE ABLE SENTRY DRAWDOWN

Secretary of Defense William S. Cohen has authorized the redeployment of some of the U.S. forces supporting the U.N.'s task force in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia beginning in early October 1997. These forces, along with personnel from 26 other countries, are part of the U.N.'s preventative deployment force (UNPREDEP) committed to the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. The UNPREDEP has played a significant role in contributing to the maintenance of peace and stability in the region.

United Nations Security Council Resolution 1110 and a subsequent U.N. secretary general report directed a phased drawdown in UNPREDEP force levels from 1,050 personnel to 750, during a two-month period beginning in early October. The U.S. portion of this drawdown is a reduction of 150 personnel.

Force protection remains one of the highest priorities while accomplishing this mission. This reduction in force does not compromise the safety of the soldiers serving in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.

The UNPREDEP force, to which the U.S. has been a major contributor, has successfully deterred the spread of armed conflict into the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia since July 12, 1993.