Serb convoy blocked in eastern Kosovo

BELGRADE, Jul 5, 2000 -- (AFP) A convoy of buses carrying 300 Serbs was blocked Tuesday in eastern Kosovo because it lacked an escort from the international KFOR peacekeeping force, but it finally made the journey to the southern enclave of Strpce after it was stoned by ethnic Albanians, Serb sources said.

The convoy was blocked following a decision by the US contingent of KFOR, which controls the south-east of the province, not to provide an escort because of a lack of cooperation from the Serbs.

The convoy finally arrived in Strpce, after three of the five buses were stoned by ethnic Albanians in the southeastern village of Pozaranje. Two men and a woman were injured.

The convoy was carrying Serbs from the south of Kosovo, who were returning from a trip to the southern Serbian region of Vranje. It was blocked in the eastern area of Korminjane in Kosovo on Tuesday, a member of the convoy told AFP in Belgrade by telephone.

They said KFOR told the convoy members that it would not escort them "because of the sanctions imposed on Strpce".

US Brigadier General Randal Tieszen announced in July 1 that he would suspend convoy services and aid to Strpce following ongoing unrest in the enclave.

Most Serbs in the south of the Yugoslav province live in enclaves under the guard of international troops, while those in the Serb-dominated north have more freedom of movement.

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