Belgrade says Kosovo report belies UN claims

UNITED NATIONS, Jan 12, 2000 -- (Reuters) Yugoslavia has told the Security Council that a recent U.N. report belied claims that the U.N. Interim Administration in Kosovo (UNMIK) had made progress in carrying out its mandate.

"The report gives cause for one overarching concern," Yugoslav U.N. envoy Vladislav Jovanovic said in a letter to the council president circulated on Tuesday.

He said this was over "the apparent contradiction between the claim that UNMIK has made progress and the facts presented almost throughout the report testifying that the Serbs and other non-Albanians are threatened and that their human rights are being violated."

Of particular concern, he said, was that the provisions of a June Security Council resolution setting up UNMIK and authorizing the entry of a NATO-led force called KFOR into the largely ethnic-Albanian Serb province "continue to be violated."

UNMIK and KFOR entered Kosovo in June after an 11-week NATO bombing campaign to force Yugoslavia to halt the oppression and expulsion of the province's ethnic Albanians and secure the withdrawal of Belgrade's troops and police, who had been battling KLA separatist fighters.

Jovanovic said the June resolution's commitment to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Yugoslavia was not being respected; conditions were not being created for peaceful and normal life; violence continued unabated, particularly against no-Albanians; public law and order were nonexistent; provisions for the return of an agreed number of Yugoslav troops and Serbian police had not been implemented; and no secure environment had been created for the return of refugees and internally displaced persons.

"The facts presented throughout the report disprove the claim that UNMIK and the Kosovo Force (KFOR) have carried out their mandate successfully," Jovanovic said.

Secretary-General Kofi Annan, in a report late last month, said the components of UNMIK "have made good progress in implementing their mandate" in the previous six months.

But he also said that, during a visit he paid to Kosovo in October, "one of the most frequently raised concerns was the precarious situation for Kosovo Serbs, Roma and other minority groups" in the province.

"Despite the concerted efforts of KFOR and UNMIK police, the level and nature of the violence in Kosovo, especially against vulnerable minorities, remains unacceptable," Annan said.

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