CEOL - No Sign Of KLA Action In Serbia, Nato Says

BRUSSELS, Nov 25, 1999 -- (Reuters) NATO has no evidence of organized incursions into Serbia from Kosovo by the Kosovo Liberation Army, an alliance official said on Wednesday.

Two Serbian police officers have been killed and eight wounded in two attacks near the Kosovo border in the past three days, which Belgrade blamed on Kosovo Albanian terrorists.

The border is patrolled by troops of the NATO-led peacekeeping force KFOR.

The official said they were monitoring the situation carefully but added that their aim was to keep the border open and to allow movement through the region to remain as near normal as possible.

"We do not want to seal off that border," the official said, explaining that NATO did not want to create any further disincentives for Serb refugees whom it wants to return to Kosovo province.

He said Serbian uniformed personnel and members of the KLA, which was formally disbanded earlier this year, were not allowed across.

Two Serbian policemen were wounded in an attack on their patrol car late on Tuesday near Bujanovac in southeastern Serbia near Kosovo, the Yugoslav state news agency Tanjug reported on Wednesday.

"Ethnic Albanian terrorists fired with automatic weapons at the patrol car carrying four policemen," police added.

The attack took place on the border between Kosovo and the rest of Serbia, between the villages of Lucane and Konculj, which are populated entirely by ethnic Albanians.

On Sunday, two policemen were killed and six wounded by a land mine near Kursumlija, southern Serbia. Police blamed the separatist Kosovo Liberation Army.

NATO-led international forces took control of Serbia's Kosovo province in June after 11 weeks of punishing NATO air strikes against Yugoslav security forces for their repression of ethnic Albanians.

The recent incidents were the first clashes reported between the Serbian police and the KLA since Yugoslav security forces withdrew from Kosovo in June.

The NATO official rejected as unbalanced recent media reports that are highly critical of the United Nations and NATO effort to reintroduce law and order to Kosovo and prepare the war-ravaged province of two million for winter.

U.N. administrator Bernard Kouchner lashed out at his critics earlier on Wednesday, but made another urgent appeal for more international police. He said he needed 6,000 rather than the 1,700 he currently has.

The NATO official conceded that there were too few police, since countries contributing to the peacekeeping mission usually found it easier to provide troops than policemen.

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