Ethnic Albanian leaders denounce UN deal with Serbs

PRISTINA, Jul 3, 2000 -- (AFP) Two parties representing ethnic Albanian Kosovars have denounced a deal struck between the province's UN administration and moderate Serb leaders, Kosovo's Albanian language press reported Sunday.

Bernard Kouchner, Kosovo's chief UN administrator, signed an accord Thursday with Bishop Artemije Radosavljevic, leader of the Serb National Council (SNV), which offered the remaining Serbs in Kosovo security guarantees in exchange for taking part in the province's interim administration.

On Sunday all the major Albanian Kosovar dailies reported that the Democratic Party of Kosovo (PDK) of Hashim Thaci, the political leader of the officially-disbanded Kosovo Liberation Army, and the Unified Democratic Movement (LBD), were opposed to the deal.

"We will not accept the cantonization of Kosovo," Thaci told the daily Koha Ditore.

The same report said that the LBD believed the deal signed by Artemije would lead to the fragmentation of Kosovo into Serbian and Albanian enclaves.

The agreement "foresees the establishment of up to 20 Local Community Offices in Serb areas," and an increased effort to recruit Serbs into the Kosovo Police Service, a new local force which works alongside the UN's international force.

Kouchner's spokeswoman flatly denied that the accord represented a step on the road to "cantonization."

"It's exactly the opposite of cantonization," Nadia Younes told AFP.

"The idea behind the agreement was to strengthen security and the protection of the Serbs," she said.

Jakup Krasniqi, secretary general of the PDK, told Koha Ditore that the accord was an attempt to "sow discord in the Albanian political class."

For his part, Thaci did not turn up at Friday's scheduled meeting of the Interim Administrative Council (IAC), the executive body of the province's mixed government, Younes said.

The following day he met with Kouchner and discussed, among other matters, the accord signed with the SNV, she added.

Krasniqi told Koha Ditore that the accord had bypassed the IAC and the provisions of UN Security Council resolution 1244 of June 10, 1999, under which the UN administration was set up.

Rexhep Qosja, the LBD's leader, also told the paper the agreement contradicted the resolution.

Under resolution 1244, Kosovo is to enjoy "substantial autonomy within the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and ... the conditions for a peaceful and normal life for all inhabitants of Kosovo."

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