UN chief Kouchner calls for reconciliation on Mitrovica bridge

KOSOVSKA MITROVICA, Yugoslavia, Jan 1, 2000 -- (AFP) Bernard Kouchner, the UN administrator for Kosovo, called for reconciliation Friday during New Year celebrations on the Kosovska Mitrovica bridge which separates the Serb and Albanian communities in the town.

"Believe me, Mitrovica will be a unified town," Kouchner said, speaking alongside leaders of the two communities.

"Give us time. We are only at the beginning of a new millennium, a new century," he said, calling on the two communities to pardon and be open to each other.

A group of 50 people from each community, braving heavy snowfalls and guarded by armed soldiers, were brought together from either side of bridge, the scene of frequent clashes between Serbs and Kosovar Albanians.

When Kouchner arrived at the bridge from the southern Albanian side he was cheered, while Serbs on the northern side shouted "Serbia, Serbia".

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