NATO to extend FYROM force

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – NATO has agreed in principle to extend its peacekeeping mission in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia but is waiting for the Netherlands to confirm that it will continue to lead the force, an alliance official said on Friday. «NATO agreed to extend its mission, subject to the Dutch agreeing to extend,» said the official. Diplomats said there was some irritation with the Netherlands for announcing that it needed Parliament’s approval to extend until mid-December its command of Operation Amber Fox, which had been due to end on October 26. FYROM President Boris Trajkovski formally asked NATO last week to keep the operation alive until December 15. The European Union had hoped to take over Amber Fox from NATO at the end of October, with its fledgling Rapid Reaction Force. But its plans were scuppered by a standoff between Greece and Turkey. Officials say a NATO-EU deal may be announced at an alliance summit in Prague next month, opening the way for the EU to take over in FYROM after December 15.