The Nando times - Nato, partners meet to take stock of Kosovo situation

By CONSTANT BRAND

BRUSSELS, Belgium (December 16, 1999) - Bernard Kouchner, head of civilian operations in Kosovo, on Thursday appealed to foreign ministers from NATO and its partner countries for money to preserve the peace in the Yugoslav province.

"We need money!" an emotional Kouchner told reporters after briefing foreign ministers from NATO and the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council.

"Without money, no success," he said. "This is a tremendous need. Without money, no confidence. Without money, no restarting of daily life."

NATO Secretary-General Lord Robertson opened the second day of the foreign ministers meeting by praising the partner countries for their contributions in Kosovo, which is occupied by nearly 50,000 NATO-led troops.

"It demonstrated that a common security culture is emerging, a culture of commitment to the cause of peace and human dignity," he said.

Kosovo desperately needs money to pay civil servants, teachers and police, Kouchner said.

He said he had asked the international community for 6,000 police for Kosovo, but he has received only 1,800.

"I don't want to receive any comment or criticism on law and order without police officers," he said.

In the six months since the peacekeeping force entered Kosovo, great progress has been made, Robertson said.

Hundreds of thousands of refugees have returned to their homes. About 5,000 land mines have been cleared. Seventy percent of the work on winterization projects from house reconstruction to heating installations are complete.

Crime remains rampant in the province, where more than 400 killings have been committed in the last four months.

Despite a continuing lack of law and order, Kouchner has said the situation has improved since NATO forces arrived in June. Then, villages had been reduced to ruins and "not even a loaf of bread" was available, he said.

Robertson has urged the international community to invest in Kosovo to build an effective civil administration or risk a far more costly crisis in the future.

At the NATO defense ministers meeting two weeks ago, the commander of NATO forces in Kosovo, Gen. Klaus Reinhardt, said the United Nations needed $120 million to pay civil servants and $10 million for the Kosovo Protection Corps.

Meanwhile a new power-sharing agreement for Kosovo in which the United Nations and ethnic Albanian leaders will jointly administer the province was warmly welcomed by NATO foreign ministers Wednesday.

The new administration, in which Kouchner will serve as a governor, is to absorb all existing administrative structures in place.

The agreement provided one position for a Kosovo Serb along with three ethnic Albanians. However, no Kosovo Serb leader showed up for the signing ceremony and Serb community leaders denounced the agreement.

U.N. officials said the new administration will be in operation by Jan. 31 and will govern the province until new elections, possibly to be held in September.

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