CEOL - Milosevic Blasts U.N. Over Conduct In Kosovo

BELGRADE, Nov 10, 1999 -- (Reuters) Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic said on Tuesday "mass crimes and ethnic cleansing were conducted under U.N. auspices" in Kosovo and that some U.N. officials were "accomplices of ethnic Albanian criminals".

The charges were included in a statement issued by Milosevic's office after he met Russia's ambassador to the United Nations Sergei Lavrov, who arrived in Belgrade after a two-day visit to Kosovo.

"This is a unique example since the founding of the United Nations, that mass crimes and ethnic cleansing are being conducted under the auspices of the United Nations," Tanjug news agency quoted Milosevic as saying.

Milosevic said there were "gross violations" of the U.N. Security Council Resolution 1244 which governs the work of the U.N Mission to Kosovo and the NATO-led Kosovo force, KFOR, set up in the province after Yugoslav forces left.

Attacks on Serbs by ethnic Albanians, angry at years of Serb repression, have plagued the province since KFOR and the United Nations arrived in mid-June, after NATO bombing drove out Serb forces. Around 200,000 Serbs and other non-Albanians have fled.

Before meeting Milosevic, Lavrov met Yugoslav Foreign Minister Zivadin Jovanovic and agreed that all parts of Resolution 1244 had to be respected unconditionally.

Conditions not ready

Asked afterwards when he expected Yugoslav forces to return to Kosovo, something Yugoslavia insists was included in a technical military agreement, Lavrov said he had been told by the KFOR commander that conditions were not yet ready for that.

"KFOR commander Klaus Reinhardt agreed on the need to secure their return, but it was his assessment that conditions were not yet met and that he needed more time," the official Yugoslav news agency Tanjug quoted Lavrov as saying.

"To Lavrov's question how long that would be, Reinhardt responded: 'Two to three months'," Tanjug said, quoting Lavrov.

Western officials say the agreement allowed only for the return of Yugoslav "personnel", not forces, and have so far declined to name a time frame for their deployment, saying under current circumstances they would only attract more attacks.

In Pristina, before leaving for Belgrade, Lavrov said some measures taken by the U.N. Mission in Kosovo and KFOR had not helped to preserve a multi-ethnic society, but he recognized that the international officials in Kosovo had a tough task and did not accuse them of deliberately ignoring Resolution 1244.

Milosevic, however, did not hesitate to attribute blame.

"Many representatives of the international community in Kosovo and Metohija, in the first place chief of the U.N. Mission Bernard Kouchner, are not passive observers of the crimes committed before their eyes as the media report."

Accomplices Of Criminals, Says Milosevic

"They are accomplices of ethnic Albanian criminals," he said.

The statement said the two sides had agreed that the U.N. Security Council was "obliged" to take measures to secure the strict implementation of its resolution, which guarantees Yugoslavia's sovereignty and integrity in the entire territory.

Implementation of the resolution should ensure a safe environment for the entire population in Kosovo and return of all displaced people to renew its multi-ethnic character.

Yugoslavia had fulfilled all its obligations under the resolution and a military-technical Agreement and asked the U.N. to do the same, the statement said.

"Russia extends firm support to this demand and its stand is that implementation of the resolution cannot be conditioned in any way, and especially by interference in internal affairs," it added.

Russia, with its traditionally close ties with its fellow Slavs, had been one of the leading critics of the U.N. administration and the KFOR peacekeeping force since they moved into Kosovo, accusing them of not doing enough to protect the Serbs and of granting too much autonomy to the province.

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