CEOL - Belgrade Tells UN It Wants To Send Troops, Police, Back To Kosovo

BELGRADE, Nov 5, 1999 -- (Agence France Presse) The Yugoslav government told the U.N. Security Council Thursday it wants to send troops and police back to Kosovo, saying minorities in the U.N.-administered province are living under a reign of terror, the official Tanjug news agency reported.

On Wednesday, the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe said in a joint report that "there is a climate of violence and impunity, as well as widespread discrimination, harassment and intimidation directed against non-Albanians" in Kosovo, and on Thursday the European Union's Finnish presidency said EU support for Kosovo's reconstruction would suffer if ethnic Albanians persisted in attacking Serbs.

The Belgrade government's message asked the Security Council to ensure security in Kosovo, where U.N.-mandated international peacekeepers have been deployed since the end of a NATO bombing campaign last spring which was sparked by Belgrade's repression of ethnic Albanians in Kosovo who then made up 90 percent of its population.

A U.N. resolution and a technical and military agreement between Belgrade and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization provided for the return of a limited number of Yugoslav soldiers and police following the total withdrawal of Belgrade's forces.

Their number and the date of their return remains to be negotiated.

"The federal government asks, once again ... that the forces of the Yugoslav army and ministry of the interior be allowed to return to Kosovo in the interests of the security of the province and with the aim of preventing the exodus of the remaining Serbs and other non-Albanians," the government's message said.

It accused the U.N. administration in Kosovo and the peacekeeping forces of tolerating "mass terror directed against Serbs and other non-Albanians."

It said 447 Serbs and other non-Albanians had been assassinated, 648 kidnapped, and more than 330,000 expelled -- a "direct consequence of the irresponsibility and indifference" of the U.N. administration and the peacekeepers.

The message attributed "particular responsibility" to Frenchman Bernard Kouchner, the U.N. administrator, and demanded the "immediate annullation" of his decrees.

They violated Yugoslavia's territorial integrity and sovereignty, particularly on currency, customs, the appointment of magistrates and the opening of Pristina airport to civilian traffic, it said.

It also demanded the cancellation of the transformation of the ethnic Albanians' Kosovo Liberation Army into a civilian corps, and the immediate and unconditional disarmament of ethnic Albanians seeking Kosovo's independence.