Albanian Daily News - Dec 06

Nato to seek more police and money for Kosovo

Albanian Economic Tribune

BRUSSELS - NATO Secretary General George Robertson will go to New York on Monday to ask his UN counterpart Kofi Annan for help beefing up Kosovo’s under-funded and under-manned police force, a NATO official said Friday.

He said the biggest problem being encountered by the NATO peacekeeping force in Kosovo, KFOR, and the UN mission UNMIK was finding trained police from around the world willing and able to take leave of absence to work in the war-torn province.

"Governments need their police to chase their own criminals," he said, adding that KFOR had nonetheless been able to deploy about 1,740 police there and that the United Nations had raised the ceiling number from 3,000 to 4,000.

"The numbers are arriving," he said, but the problem was compounded by the fact that the United Nations had now assumed responsibility for providing police for East Timor, where "thousands" would be needed.

The official said NATO defense ministers holding their quarterly meeting here Thursday and Friday felt NATO was getting "bad press on Kosovo."

"There is a genuine feeling, not just bureaucratic wingding, that the good side of the story simply is not being told. The fact is that in Kosovo we are dealing with 10 years of an apartheid system where the two communities were separated much more than in Bosnia.

"We are dealing with the inheritance of 40 years of communism and one year of an extremely violent conflict. Last June we inherited a situation of total anarchy in Kosovo.

"So this has to be judged by what went before, not by some ideal yardstick of the perfect society," said the official, who declined to be named. "We have made some progress, (but) money is the biggest problem. Money talks, and there is a severe funding shortage in Kosovo."

He said only a fraction of more than two billion dollars pledged by donor nations at two conferences in Brussels this year had arrived in Kosovo.

"You read these wonderful figures... but that doesn’t mean the money arrives right away," he said. "It can often take many months... and then arrive only in a small fraction of what was actually promised. Getting the money from the pledging conference into Kosovo is the problem."

On Thursday, the head of KFOR, General Klaus Reinhardt, told the defense ministers that of the hundreds of millions of dollars pledged by the international community to set up a locally-manned Kosovo Protection Force, "not a single dollar" had arrived.

"I asked for funds," Reinhardt said. "All we have to date are pledges, but not a single dollar."

He noted that $120 million will be needed to develop a functioning civil service in the province. Some civil servants have not been paid since June. An additional $10 million will be required for the police force, he added. Only the United States, Britain, France, and Germany have offered money or material for the police.

The Kosovo Protection Force is the civilian force KFOR is trying to form from the former Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA), the ethnic Albanian guerrillas.

The "key problem," said Reinhardt, "is to get the money to the people. It is all tied up in bureaucratic red tape."

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