YU ambassador defends Serb right to repel 'terrorists'

GENEVA, Mar 7, 2000 -- (Reuters) Yugoslavia's ambassador to the United Nations warned Monday that Serbian forces would fight against "terrorist" incursions by separatists from Kosovo province.

Branko Brankovic also called for the removal from Kosovo of the UN's administrator in the province, claiming Bernard Kouchner was "using Albanian terrorists" to further U.S. policy.

His comments followed an increase in tension in the Presovo border zone between Serbia proper and Kosovo, where Serbian police and a U.N. official came under attack in recent days.

Local press reports in Kosovo reported last week that ethnic Albanian fighters had begun launching attacks on Serbian forces from the demilitarized zone.

NATO-led peacekeepers for their part expressed concern about unnamed groups trying to "destabilize" the area.

"Whatever the police is going to do, it's going to do its duty to defend and try to fight against the terrorist incursion" into Serbia proper, Brankovic warned.

He accused Kouchner of "using Albanian terrorists" to carry out U.S. policy in the Balkans and said he must leave the province..

In the wake of the killing last week of a Serb doctor in Gjnilnane, southeast Kosovo, Brankovic said Yugoslavia would present the UN with a 41-page list of Serbs and non-Albanians who have been abducted or killed in the province.

Kouchner suggested last week that the killing in Gjnilnane of Josip Vasic might have been killed by Serbian hard-liners for supporting U.N. efforts to bring both Serbs and ethnic Albanians into a joint administration in the province.

According to figures released by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) last month, some 2,987 people are still missing in Kosovo.

ICRC estimates 1,875 were arrested by Serb security forces or kidnapped by Serb civilians, while 346 are believed to have disappeared at the hands of the separatist Kosovo Liberation Army or ethnic Albanian civilians.

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