Multi-ethnicity key for futureFeb 17, 2000
SARAJEVO - UN Balkans envoy Carl Bildt said on Wednesday the United Nations mission needed more support from NATO-led troops to preserve multi-ethnicity in Kosovo.
"If we are not able to preserve a multi-ethnic element of Kosovo, that will endanger the future of Kosovo and the stability of the region," Bildt told Reuters in an interview.
"Weve seen a tendency towards ethnic divisions and ethnic separation inside Kosovo and weve seen a reversed ethnic cleansing. This is not acceptable," he said.
Bildt said Bernard Kouchner, head of the UNs civilian mission in Kosovo (UNMIK), required more help in establishing a functioning judicial system and police and stronger support from the NATO-led Kosovo force KFOR.
Earlier Bildt told a meeting on security issues at an EU-sponsored Balkans Stability Pact conference that Western countries needed to send 2,000 policemen in addition to 2,000 already been deployed to Kosovo.
"It is urgently necessary that this gap be met as soon as possible. The UN cannot deploy what the UN does not have," said Bildt, a former Swedish prime minister and envoy of the international community in Bosnia after the 1992-95 conflict.
Kouchner on Tuesday accused French left-wing Interior Minister Jean-Pierre Chevenement of holding back French police for Kosovo because he had opposed NATOs air campaign last year.
On Monday, KFOR arrested some 40 ethnic Albanians after a wave of violence last week hit the provinces northern Serb-dominated town of Mitrovica. It left 10 people dead and about 20 wounded, including two French soldiers.
But Bildt said he ruled out any possible division of Kosovo along ethnic lines if the violence continued.
"Bernard Kouchner is doing his utmost both to secure the rights of all of the minorities and to include them in the administration of Kosovo," he told Reuters.