Belgrade demands UN and peacekeepers quit Kosovo

BELGRADE, Jun 8, 2000 -- (Reuters) Yugoslavia demanded on Wednesday that the NATO-led peacekeeping force and UN mission pull out of Kosovo, saying they had failed to protect Serbs and other non-Albanians.

Yugoslav Prime Minister Momir Bulatovic read the document listing demands to the UN Security Council during a session of the Yugoslav government aired on state television, as the June 12 anniversary of the international occupation of Kosovo nears.

He said the KFOR peacekeeping force and the UN Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) were "directly responsible for systematic violation" of UN Security Council Resolution 1244, which authorizes the international control of the Serbian province and calls for the restoration of a multi-ethnic society.

The resolution was adopted a year ago as NATO troops prepared to occupy Kosovo following bombing by the alliance to halt Belgrade's repression of Kosovo's ethnic Albanians.

Western diplomats regard the resolution's annual renewal in the next few days as a formality, but a senior Yugoslav diplomat told Reuters in Brussels on Wednesday his government would challenge it at the UN

"The mandate should not be automatically prolonged. There should be a special session of the Security Council, the result of which should be a recommendation to seek a new resolution," Yugoslav charge d'affaires Nikola Lukic said.

Prime Minister Bulatovic said attacks by Kosovo Albanian "terrorists" had caused deaths and suffering among Kosovo's Serb population and that this had been carried out in the presence of tens of thousands of peacekeeping troops and U.N. staff.

He accused them of being accomplices in ethnic cleansing. "They have fully betrayed the confidence given to them," Bulatovic said.


The government demanded that the Security Council "withdraw from the territory of Kosovo the forces of KFOR and UNMIK", and called on the Council to condemn and end the mandate of the head of UNMIK, Frenchman Bernard Kouchner.

Bulatovic, a key ally of Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic, also called for the return of Yugoslav army and police to Kosovo.

Deputy Foreign Minister Nebojsa Vujovic, speaking at a news conference, described the international presence in Kosovo as a complete fiasco. "They are most directly responsible for the current disastrous situation there," he said.

Hundreds of Kosovo's Serbs have been killed in the past year by Kosovo Albanians avenging years of repression and wartime atrocities. Many Serbs see the attacks as an organized campaign of terror to get all Serbs to flee Kosovo for good.

The UN refugee agency says more than 150,000 Serbs have left Kosovo for Serbia proper since June last year. Belgrade authorities say around 340,000 Serbs and other non-Albanians have been expelled from their homes.

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