KFOR to disarm Kosovo AlbaniansBy Jacky Rowland
Monday, 31 January, 2000
New measures are being introduced this week to help restore normal life in Kosovo.
The ethnic Albanian population have been told they must dismantle a number of security organisations which they had run in parallel with the United Nations and the international peacekeeping force.
The move means that local commanders will have to give up their weapons and positions of authority.
A new interim council is also being created, allowing local Albanians to take over certain powers from the UN administration.
A number of parallel institutions have sprung up in Kosovo since the end of the conflict, presenting a challenge to the UN administration and the peacekeeping force.
The international community wants to bring these parallel structures to an end.
The interim council will involve local Albanians in running the province, while leaving major decisions to international officials.
But the Kosovo Serb community has refused to participate in the council, accusing the international community of favouring Albanians.
The biggest problem will be dismantling parallel security organisations, such as the so-called Ministry of the Interior.
Former commanders of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) have been carving out new positions of authority for themselves since the KLA was officially disbanded last year.
The international community has set up a Kosovo protection corps as a successor to the KLA.
But there are fewer positions than would-be members of the force, so many former KLA fighters have been disappointed.
International officials and peacekeepers are having a difficult time persuading parallel security organisations to give up their weapons and adopt a civilian function.
The international community itself is partly to blame - it has been slow to establish a proper police force, leaving a security vacuum in Kosovo.
Local Albanians have a long tradition of shunning authority as embodied by the Serbs, and the international community is learning that old habits die hard.
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