Belgrade blasts UN for failing to protect Serbs

BELGRADE, Jul 2, 2000 -- (AFP) Yugoslavia has accused the UN Security Council of failing to address an "escalation of terrorism" by "Albanian extremists" against Serbs and other non-Albanians in Kosovo, the main pro-government daily Politika reported Sunday.

A letter to the UN Security Council and Secretary General Kofi Annan, sent by Yugoslavia's UN representative Vladimir Jovanovic, also accused the UN mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) of deceit by presenting its activities in the province as a "success."

Belgrade indicated to the UN Security Council "its responsibility and its fault" for failing to prevent a "wave of terrorist crimes" in Kosovo, Politika quoted the letter as saying.

"Despite the extremely difficult situation in Kosovo, the Security Council has not taken any measure to prevent and halt this tragic and disastrous situation," Jovanovic's letter said, condemning an "escalation of terrorism and violence."

Since the NATO-led peacekeeping force KFOR entered Kosovo in June last year, many Serbs have fallen victim to revenge attacks carried out by ethnic Albanians keen to capitalize on the departure of Yugoslav forces.

Hundreds of Serbs and non-Albanians were killed since last summer, while more than 210,000 have fled the province, according to international aid agencies.

Belgrade however, insisted that more than 350,000 Serbs and non-Albanians have left the province in a year.

Those remaining in the province are largely confined to small enclaves afforded heavy KFOR protection.

But Jovanovic's letter said KFOR and UNMIK had "failed to create conditions for a minimum security for the Serbs and non-Albanians."

"Despite indisputable proof of terrorist crimes, the UN Security Council reports cite only successes of the UN mission," Jovanovic said, accusing UNMIK of "lying."

He also condemned reports over the progress of the demilitarization of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA), citing the recent discovery of large cache of hidden arms in former rebel stronghold Drenica.

Jovanovic charged that, as the UN "affirms that the situation is improving, the facts are showing that the Albanian extremists have been strengthening their terrorist activities in a bit to achieve the ethnic cleansing of the Serbs and non-Albanians."

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