Yugoslav says Kosovo Serbs suffer genocide under UN

UNITED NATIONS, Mar 8, 2000 -- (Reuters) The U.N. operation in Kosovo is the only one where the U.N. flag "has been used and abused" to commit ethnic cleansing and genocide, Yugoslavia's envoy to the United Nations charged on Tuesday.

Vladislav Jovanovic told a news conference that attacks against Serbs and others in Serbia's mainly ethnic Albanian province had escalated since it was taken over last June by a U.N. administration and a NATO-led military force.

"This is the only case in the history of peacekeeping operations of the United Nations that the U.N. flag has been used and abused for committing the heinous policy and practice of ethnic cleansing and genocide against other national groups than Albanians," he said.

Private briefings that the Security Council received on Monday by Bernard Kouchner, head of the U.N. Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK), and Gen. Klaus Reinhardt, commander of the NATO-led KFOR military presence there, failed to focus on important issues, he said.

Jovanovic, who attended the briefing, said he was not permitted to speak because of "one permanent member which has a guilty conscience," which he identified as the United States.

The council decided in advance that while representatives of nonmembers of the council could attend, only members would be allowed to address the 15-nation body after the briefings by Kouchner and Reinhardt.

Jovanovic said there had been no mention during the briefings of "ethnic cleansing, no mention of genocide, no invitation by Dr. Kouchner to visit the camps of the 350,000 exiled Serbs, Romas and others...who are now displaced persons throughout Serbia and Montenegro."

In the nine months since UNMIK and KFOR had been deployed, "more than 4,400 terrorist acts have been perpetrated by the Albanian terrorists and other Albanian groups," he said.

This was more than double the number of "terrorist acts" by the Kosovo Liberation Army in the 13 months from February 1998 until the "beginning of the NATO aggression against Yugoslavia" in March last year.

He was referring to an 11-week NATO bombing campaign designed to halt Belgrade's oppression of ethnic Albanians and permit the return of hundreds of thousands who had fled the province.

Jovanovic said more than 900 civilians had been killed, more than 820 Serbs and Romas had been abducted and more than 800 wounded, while over 1,500 houses had been burned and 84 churches and monasteries destroyed or badly damaged.

Instead of addressing these issues, he said, Kouchner and Reinhardt had discussed such matters as the need for judges, financial resources, additional police, schools and hospitals.

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