Nato plans Kosovo violence responseFebruary 18, 2000
NEW YORK (AP) -- NATO's supreme allied commander, Gen. Wesley Clark, has promised to dedicate more manpower to prevent partition of an ethnically divided Kosovo town after a recent spate of violence.
Nine people have been killed and dozens injured in Kosovska Mitrovica since a Feb. 2 rocket attack on a U.N. bus that killed two elderly Serbs.
"I know there are those who wants to achieve a partition at the expense of their own citizens," Clark said Thursday night. "But we're going to put the forces in, put the U.N. resources in there, to assure that those plans for partition, whatever they may be in their specifics, will not succeed."
Already, NATO has sent in reinforcements from Britain, Greece and other countries to back up French troops who have come under fire from snipers in the divided town.
While Clark refused to say what exactly NATO had planned for Kosovska Mitrovica, which is divided between Serbs and ethnic Albanians, NATO officials said an expanded response was expected within days.
Clark, a U.S. Army general who oversaw NATO's 78-day air campaign on Yugoslavia last year, said the security moves in Kosovo aim to promote "the emergence of multienthnicity."
"We're going to prevent the partition or cantonization of particular regions there," he told journalists after a dinner hosted by the National Committee on American Foreign Policy.
He came to New York after a briefing with the U.S. House Armed Services Committee on Thursday during which he cautioned lawmakers that they should brace for keeping U.S. troops in Bosnia and Kosovo indefinitely as long as President Slobodan Milosevic holds power in Yugoslavia.
Clark is leaving his European post May 3, earlier than planned, to accommodate his successor, Air Force Gen. Joseph Ralston, who would have had to retire had he not taken the promotion by May.