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UN Chief Says Ethnic Divide Widening In Kosovo

16 February 2005 -- United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan says in a new report that Serbs in Kosovo are living in fear and that this is widening the already deep divide between Serbs and the province's ethnic Albanian majority.

The assessment comes in a report to the Security Council that serious crimes against Kosovo Serbs in the UN-administered province have declined since the ethnically motivated riots in March 2004.

But Annan says isolated incidents of violence and intimidation are still feeding the fears of Serbs.

Annan's report says Kosovo authorities have not done enough to punish ethnically motivated crimes.

And he said concerns about safety -- both real and perceived -- were discouraging Serbs who have fled Kosovo from returning.

About 100,000 Serbs are estimated to remain in the province -- about one-third of the total before the 1999 Kosovo war.

Kosovo is under UN administration but remains formally a part of Serbia and Montgenegro.