UN rights envoy brands Kosovo mission 'total failure'

PRISTINA, Mar 20, 2000 -- (Reuters) The UN human rights special envoy for the former Yugoslavia said Sunday that the failure of the international community to decide on a clear future for Kosovo meant the mission to the province was thus far a "total failure."

"The present situation in Kosovo just confirms the total failure to achieve the goals of the operation," Jiri Dienstbier told AFP in Belgrade during a tour of Yugoslavia in which he has held many meetings on the Kosovo problem.

He said that the main problem for the UN administration to the disputed province and the NATO-led KFOR peace keeping force was that their mission had no clearly defined aims, adding that no-one on the international scene seemed ready to provide one.

"We have UN resolution 1244 saying that Kosovo is a part of Yugoslavia, but nobody wants to confirm it and say that it is a solution and that nobody will dispute it and that Kosovo remains a part of Yugoslavia," he said.

"On the other hand, nobody wants to say that Kosovo will be independent," he added.

The goal of NATO and the United Nations to ensure a multi-ethnic, democratic Kosovo had been destroyed by the violent confrontations between Serbs and the ethnic Albanian population which forced KFOR troops to divide the town of Kosovska Mitrovica in two, Dienstbier said.

The envoy also lamented the continuing influence of the supposedly defunct ethnic Albanian guerilla group the Kosovo Liberation Army, the presence of Albanian mafia gangs in the province, the lack of sufficient international police to control the situation, the absence of a legal system and the UN mission's lack of money.

The UN mission and KFOR were working in "impossible conditions" he said.

"It is very important for the people that they have a perspective. If they dont know the perspective, anything may happen," he added.

Original article