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Yugoslavia: German Chancellor Praises Kosovo Troops

Prizren, 23 July 1999 (RFE/RL) -- German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder traveled to Kosovo today and praised his country's troops for presenting "a picture of a peaceful Germany" to the world. Serbian politician Momcilo Trajkovic told local television that in his meeting with Schroeder he will complain about the lack of protection for Serbs in Kosovo. He said around 130,000 Serbs have fled the province since NATO-led troops arrived last month.

During his short visit to Prizren, Schroeder is expected to meet with Patriarch Pavle of the Serbian Orthodox Church and with the political leader of the Kosovo Liberation Army, Hashim Thaci.

In Geneva, Sergio Vieira de Mello, who headed the U.N.'s civilian administration in Kosovo until last week, said criticism that the United Nations was slow to take charge in the province is "unfair." He was responding to complaints from the U.S. that the NATO-led Kosovo peacekeeping force is being forced to fill too many roles.

"Contrary to the military, we do not have regiments or battallions of civilian policemen or civil administrators or lawyers on standby that can actually be deployed overnight," De Mello said.

Meanwhile, Yugoslav General Nebojsa Pavkovic said today that Belgrade reserves the right to send its troops back into Kosovo if it decides the U.N. is not fulfilling its security obligations. Pavkovic also said the Yugoslav army will support President Slobodan Milosevic "without reservation."