The Observer - 'A very long way to go'

Richard Norton-Taylor
Wednesday November 24, 1999

General Sir Mike Jackson, former commander of the K-For peacekeeping forces in Kosovo, warned yesterday that there was "a very long way to go" before the Serbian province became a democratic, multi-ethnic entity.

The number of murders had diminished to proportionately the level committed in western societies, he said, but most of the people killed were Serbs. The Serbian civilian population had fallen to about 100,000, well under half the total in early June when Nato's war in defence of Kosovo's Albanian majority ended.

K-For soldiers were living in Serb apartments, guarding Serb churches, and "escorting little old ladies to the bread shops", he said; there was a limit to what outsiders could do. "Watch Montenegro," he added. "If Montenegro becomes independent, Kosovo independence will be inevitable".

Gen Jackson left Kosovo last month and now commands Nato's European rapid reaction corps based in Germany. He was speaking to the Royal United Services Institute in London.

He described Nato's high-level bombing tactics in Kosovo as a "debatable issue", but said the number of K-For troops assembled in Macedonia and Albania at the time could not have fought their way into the province.

As for Nato's decision-making procedures, they were "cold war machinery, frankly not up to the job".,2763,107113,00.html

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