CEOL - Yugoslavia Says Its Sovereignty Violated In Kosovo

UNITED NATIONS, Nov 20, 1999 -- (Reuters) Yugoslavia's U.N. envoy charged on Friday that the United Nations and the NATO-led force in Kosovo were violating his country's sovereignty and that Serbs were being massacred and expelled with impunity.

Vladislav Jovanovic said a June resolution authorizing the United Nations to administer the Serb province of Kosovo reaffirmed a commitment to Yugoslavia's sovereignty and territorial integrity.

But instead of aiming for substantial autonomy and local self-administration, Jovanovic said "we are witnessing" frequent and open attempts by some countries, including the United States, to favor "separatist aspirations."

Whoever tried to revise the resolution "is playing with fire," he said.

The U.N. Interim Administration in Kosovo (UNMIK) and the NATO-led force (KFOR) were deployed after a NATO bombing campaign against Yugoslavia led to the withdrawal of Yugoslav troops from Kosovo following their oppression of the province's ethnic Albanian majority.

Jovanovic, who referred to a 25-page memorandum he had submitted to the Security Council listing his country's grievances over developments in Kosovo, said there was "total lawlessness" there.

The Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA), instead of being neutralized, was "the de facto master of the situation in most of the cities and villages." Mass arrests, killings, rapes and intimidation occurred daily, he said.

While he welcomed the return of Albanian refugees and displaced persons, Jovanovic said "we also have almost total elimination of Serbs and non-Albanians from Kosovo." Jovanovic alleged many cases of massacres and "massive" expulsions of Serbs.

He said Serb civilians had been attacked by organized mobs of "KLA people," often in the presence of KFOR and "very often without adequate response by KFOR."

Jovanovic said the U.N. special representative in Kosovo, Bernard Kouchner, had usurped authority that did not belong to him and had begun to rule "by edicts, which he calls regulations."

He also disputed claims of mass graves in Kosovo and said the U.S. State Department inflated casualty figures for "propaganda purposes." He said the 2,108 bodies the U.N. war crimes tribunal prosecutor recently said had been found included KLA members and Serbs as well as people who died of natural causes.

[URL may be different next day if article is archived]