US MILITARY PRESENCE IN BALKANS

The Washington-based Atlantic Council is calling for a permanent American military presence in the Balkans to stabilize southeastern Europe amid increased Russian efforts to exert political influence across the region.

In a report published Tuesday, the nonprofit international affairs group said that announcing the arrival of U.S. troops, ideally at Camp Bondsteel in Kosovo, “would demonstrate an enduring U.S. commitment to security in the region and anchor the United States’ long-term ability to influence developments.”

The Atlantic Council, which functions independently of the U.S. government, will host Balkan officials for a November 29 conference to discuss policy proposals aimed keeping the region “firmly embedded within the trans-Atlantic community.”

Tuesday’s report also called for improved economic prospects for the region’s predominantly Muslim youth — specifically via large-scale infrastructure projects designed to interlink Balkan nations and improve access to the European mainland — and a historic U.S.-Serbian rapprochement.

The upcoming Balkans conference will be followed by meetings between high-level Balkan and U.S. officials in the State Department and White House.

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