Albanian Daily News
Russian general says Nato paying for error

Feb 15, 2000

MOSCOW (rtr) - A Russian general said on Monday NATO had only itself to blame for an upsurge in violence in Kosovo and should expect more trouble in Kosovo.

NATO-led peacekeepers have arrested 40 people suspected of taking part in Sunday’s unrest in the flashpoint city of Mitrovica. Two ethnic Albanians died and two French peacekeepers and several Serbs and Albanians were wounded in the fighting.

"Having made mistakes, NATO is now paying for those mistakes," Colonel-General Leonid Ivashov told Reuters.

He said the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation had consistently sided with ethnic Albanian separatists in the run-up to last year’s bombing of Yugoslavia and the aftermath.

"They did not listen to any of our arguments when we asked how it is possible to set up an armed force on a blank sheet - a force which demands the secession of the region from the Yugoslav federation," said Ivashov, who heads the Russian Defence Ministry’s international relations department.

The latest outbreak has particularly alarmed KFOR peacekeepers because it is the first time foreign troops have been targeted on such a scale.

Even more worrying, the hostile fire came from ethnic Albanians - the people NATO intervened to help. The irony of this was not lost on Ivashov, who has a reputation as a hawk and fiercely opposed NATO’s campaign against Yugoslavia.

"Today NATO is becoming a hostage of those separatists who tried to create their own independent state linked to Albania," Ivashov said in the interview.

"As soon as NATO started to resist this process - the process of separating Kosovo, the process of a setting up a mono-ethnic state, a purely Albanian state - the military structure which still existed began to resist them," he said. "We can expect more and more attempts to disrupt the peace process."

Original article