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EU gendarmerie force operational in 2005
Updated: 2004-09-17 09:29

Dutch Defense Minister Henk Kamp told reporters in Noordwijk of the Netherlands Thursday that the gendarmerie force of the European Union (EU) is to be set up very soon and be operational in 2005.

At a press conference following the opening of a two-day informal defense ministers of the EU, Kamp said:" It will be set up this year and will be active and operational in 2005."

The force, to be headquartered in Italy, will be made up of 900 military policemen from France, Italy, Spain, Portugal and the Netherlands and be financed by the contributing countries.

The specific numbers of personnel will be discussed at the informal meeting and will be finally agreed upon at the formal meeting of defense ministers in November.

As for when and how the force is to be used, Kamp said that the force will mainly be used as a deterrent to be swiftly deployed for crisis prevention or crisis management. It can also be used to ensure security of humanitarian missions.

Kamp did not rule out the possibility of deploying the force in missions of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).

To ensure transparency of EU's military capability building, he said, defense ministers attending the meeting will brief NATO chief Jaap de Hoop Scheffer about its results.

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