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Kosovo Report: September 14, 1999

14 September 1999, Number 37, Volume 1

CLARK REJECTS RETURN OF SERBIAN FORCES TO KOSOVO NATO's Supreme Commander Europe General Wesley Clark told an RFE/RL South Slavic Service correspondent in Prishtina on 13 September: "There is an obligation [on Belgrade's part] that Serbian forces are out [of Kosovo and] are going to stay out." He indicated that at a later date, KFOR will discuss the possible return of some unspecified Serbian "personnel" to clear minefields, protect monuments, or monitor border crossings, but made clear that these will not be armed forces.

Clark added that he is "increasingly concerned by the evidence that we see of organized Serbian efforts to cause a little bit of disruption here and there and to bring increasing pressure on this fragile community." He said that "one of the Serbian assailants...who was killed by the Russian forces [near Gjilan on 6 September] was carrying a [Serbian Interior Ministry] ID card" (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 7 September 1999). Clark added that another of the dead was wearing a "paramilitary uniform." He said that "we cannot permit this."

Clark also said that he met with Kosovo Liberation Army (UCK) Commander Agim Ceku during his visit, with whom he reached an agreement about the character of the Kosovo Corps. The planned corps will be an exclusively civilian body that will undertake humanitarian and emergency tasks and reconstruction efforts. He stressed that the Kosovo Liberation Army (UCK) has accepted that arrangement (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 13 September 1999). Following a visit to the UCK's general staff, Clark said he expects the UCK to meet its demilitarization deadline on 19 September. The NATO commander visited Russian troops in Malisheva and praised their role in KFOR. Clark met briefly with Britain's Prince Charles, who visited British troops and spoke with UN Special Representative Bernard Kouchner.

EU FOREIGN MINISTERS CALL FOR END OF VIOLENCE IN KOSOVO. The EU foreign ministers, meeting in Brussels on 13 September, denounced any form of violence in Kosovo and expressed concern that many Serbs and other minorities have recently left the region, an RFE/RL South Slavic Service correspondent reported from the Belgian capital. The ministers stressed that all refugees must be able to return to their homes, regardless of their ethnic or religious origin. They said that the UN civilian administration must develop a complete institutional framework as soon as possible, and they pledged to assist in the reconstruction of the region through the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. The ministers also said they expect the demilitarization of the UCK to be completed by 19 September. And they expressed their concern about several thousand people who disappeared during the war and whose fate remains unknown.

The EU foreign ministers also expressed their willingness to support democratic forces in Serbia, particularly in cities governed by parties that oppose the regime of Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic. The ministers issued a statement saying that "the time has come to establish formal contacts with the representatives of democratic forces in Serbia and Montenegro." They agreed to invite opposition representatives to Brussels to discuss how to provide energy to towns with anti-Milosevic mayors and pledged to "make sure that the regime will not benefit from EU action in favor of the population," Reuters reported. Meanwhile, Bodo Hombach, who is coordinator of the EU's stability pact for Southeastern Europe, submitted his first report to the foreign ministers.