CEOL
UN chief pledges full support for probe into Kosovo plane crash

ROME, Apr 6, 2000 -- (AFP) UN Secretary General Kofi Annan said Thursday that the United Nations was fully involved in investigations to determine why a UN agency plane crashed in Kosovo last year.

The French-Italian-made ATR-42, chartered by the UN World Food Programme (WFP), crashed into a mountain north of the provincial capital of Pristina on November 12, killing all 24 people on board, nine of them Italians.

A French transport ministry report has said the accident came after a combination of mistakes by the military air traffic controller and the crew of the plane which carried UN and WFP officials.

"UN doors are open" to shed light on what caused the crash and "go to the bottom of the question," Annan said at a press conference at WFP headquarters.

He did not rule out a separate UN investigation and asked the UN administration in Kosovo and the NATO-led peacekeeping force to cooperate.

A separate British investigation is underway after the French report said that a British air traffic controller, unfamiliar with the mountainous region around the airport, forgot about the flight after asking it to head north to make way for the landing of another, faster aircraft.

The doomed flight originated in Rome.



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