CEOL - Kouchner demands money, police to set Kosovo right

PRISTINA, Serbia, Dec 17, 1999 -- (Reuters) United Nations Kosovo administrator Bernard Kouchner said on Thursday he was sick of having to beg for international funds and police officers to carry out his mission.

"We need money. Without money, no success...without money, no confidence, without money, no restarting of daily life," he said emphatically.

"I asked for 6,000 police officers. I just received 1,800. This is ridiculous and a scandal," Kouchner told a news conference at NATO headquarters with alliance secretary-general Lord George Robertson.

"If all the nations of the world fighting to protect minorities altogether cannot send me 6,000 police officers, what kind of peacekeeping operation is it?" he demanded.

Kouchner said he felt like a repetitious "beggar".

But he seized the opportunity to present an urgent appeal to foreign ministers or their deputies from 45 countries of the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council (EAPC).

"I called on the foreign ministers to put pressure on their governments," he told reporters.

NATO is dismayed at the slow pace of the international follow-up to its successful Kosovo campaign, which accomplished its first phase in June after bombing Serb forces into retreat from the province and deploying a peace force to escort the expelled ethnic Albanian majority back to their homes.

"We used all the energies of NATO...to stop the killing," alliance secretary-general Lord George Robertson said. "We must now make that peace successful and that requires extra efforts," Robertson said. "The international community must do more."

Peace Can Stagnate

Robertson said Kouchner had made "a huge impact" with his impassioned call to NATO's ministerial conference and Partnership for Peace (PfP) representatives "all the way from San Francisco right over to the Chinese border".

He said consideration would be given to a Kosovo coordination role for the EAPC, which comprises NATO's 19 member countries and their 26 PfP states, perhaps enabling it to provide some of the resources Kouchner needs.

With over 400 murders since June but only four murder trials, Kosovo's ragged peace is threatened by Albanian revenge violence, political infighting and chronic lack of money to pay public servants, teachers and medical personnel.

Unlike NATO, whose rapid reaction forces deployed smoothly into Kosovo after sheltering hundreds of thousands of Kosovo refugees for three months, the United Nations has no rapid reaction crisis-administration or police force, and no ready funds in its budget for missions such as Kosovo.

As NATO and the U.N. learned in Bosnia once it was pacified in early 1996, the numbers of neutral police needed to restore law and order are much harder to find than troops.

Kouchner said European Union countries had been generous with project funds they could attach their names to but he needed cash for salaries. Teachers could not even be sure of their modest Dm 200 a month, he said.

Kouchner said a return to normality in Kosovo was also hampered by the mystery surrounding the fate of 4,000 to 7,000 missing people. He said "a hundred letters to Belgrade" had failed to elicit any response.

"Where are they?" he demanded.

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