Troops should work with police in Kosovo

UNITED NATIONS, Mar 1, 2000 -- (Reuters) Secretary-General Kofi Annan said on Tuesday the situation in Kosovo was "very worrying" and the task of ensuring security should be done by both U.N. police and NATO-led troops, not by the police alone.

He had been asked by a reporter whether he was concerned about recent tensions in the area near the border with the rest of Serbia, where a U.N. staff member was wounded earlier in the day, and whether he thought the NATO-led KFOR should send reinforcements to the region.

"I think the situation in Kosovo is very worrying," Annan said.

Referring to the head of the U.N. administration in the mainly ethnic Albanian Serbian province, he added: "Bernard Kouchner and his team have done an admirable job. The situation is difficult. I know there has been some criticism. But I believe that, given what we inherited, he has done quite well," the U.N. chief said.

"I would also say that the job of...bringing about a secure environment is not a job for the police alone. The police and the military should do it together," the secretary-general added.

He said he knew there had been "a tendency for people to say that, 'If only we had enough police...'" - a reference to the fact that only about half the authorized U.N. police strength of 4,178 has so far been deployed.

"The military will have to work hand in glove with the police to ensure security," Annan said. "In some of the areas in Kosovo there is no peace even for (military) peacekeepers, much less to throw the police in."

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