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Kosovo Report: July 14, 1999

14 July 1999, Number 6, Volume 1

G-7 PLEDGES DONORS CONFERENCE. The Finance Ministers of the G-7 countries have announced in Brussels on 13 July that they will organize the first donors' conference for the reconstruction of Kosovo and for support to other Balkan countries. Representatives of the EU, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the European Investment Bank, and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development were also present at the Brussels meeting. World Bank Director James D. Wolfensohn said that the conference will take place on 28 July. The EU earlier announced that it will invest 500 million euros in the reconstruction of the Balkans. The World Bank announced that its initial contribution will be $60 million.

Wolfensohn stated that Serbia will only receive humanitarian aid within the framework of aid to Kosovo and south-eastern Europe. He added that Serbia will not receive any reconstruction aid as long as Slobodan Milosevic is in power. He made clear, however, that Montenegro will receive international aid.

UN Special Representative for Kosovo Bernard Kouchner said in Brussels that the international community must help the Kosovo Albanians much faster than was originally envisaged, as the expellees have returned earlier than expected.

NATO Secretary-General Javier Solana said in Brussels that a summit of countries participating in the Stability Pact for the Balkans will be held at the end of the month in Sarajevo. Solana denied media reports that the meeting will be moved to Germany because of organizational difficulties. Observers noted that the Brussels donors conference and the Sarajevo summit are scheduled for the same time.

CLASHES IN VALJEVO. The current wave of anti-government protests continued in Serbia on 13 July. Five demonstrators and four policemen were injured in clashes at a demonstration involving around 5,000 people in Valjevo on 12 July. The demonstration was organized by the Civic Resistance Valjevo, which is not affiliated with any political party, and involved about 5,000 people. The clashes occurred when several hundred protesters tried to enter the building of the communal assembly.

A group managed to enter the building, but was expelled soon after by police. Several windows were broken and people were injured. The protesters dispersed after a while, but promised to return. No political party leader spoke at the Valjevo meeting. The organizer was the painter Bogoljub Arsenijevic who said that the main duty of the Civic Resistance Valjevo is to place Milosevic and his wife Mirijana Markovic behind bars so that they can be sentenced in Serbia.

The Serbian Renewal Movement of Vuk Draskovic announced that it will join the protests and hold its first demonstration on 17 July in Kragujevac. Draskovic warned that the regime is provoking a civil war. A representative of the Democratic Party said that around 10,000 people in Belgrade signed a call for the resignation of President Milosevic within one day. That campaign is organized by the Alliance for Change, who said that members of the United Yugoslav Left had tried to interrupt the gathering of the signatures.

ARBOUR ARRIVES IN KOSOVO. The chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia Louise Arbour has started a two-day visit to Kosovo. At a press conference in Prishtina on 13 July, she expressed her conviction that Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic will appear before the court one day as a war criminal. She stressed that the evidence that investigators have gathered so far supports the decision of the court to indict Milosevic.

Arbour said: "I believe that we have launched a process that is irreversible. There is now an indictment issued by an international body that has the force of law." She added that this indictment of Milosevic has been accepted by all states. She said that her visit is symbolic, stressing that last year in January she was refused a visa by the Serbian authorities to enter Kosovo to investigate the Recak massacre, while now she entered Kosovo without a visa. Arbour stressed that: "I can assure you that I am perfectly certain that, while Mr. Milosevic thought that he could keep me out of Kosovo, he will not be able to keep himself out of The Hague."

Arbour praised the help she has received from the Albanian authorities regarding the gathering of evidence on war crimes committed in Kosovo. She also said that KFOR Commander General Sir Mike Jackson has pledged the full cooperation of KFOR in the investigation of war crimes and crimes against humanity. She also met with UN Under-Secretary-General Sergio Vieira de Mello to discuss the cooperation of the Tribunal with local courts.

NATO TO REDUCE SFOR? NATO is considering reducing its forces in Bosnia from 31,000 to 16,000, according to Pentagon spokesman Ken Bacon. During A visit on 13 July to Bosnia of U.S. Secretary of Defense William Cohen and NATO Supreme Commander Europe General Wesley Clark, Bacon said that several NATO member states have made clear that they want to transfer their troops from Bosnia to Kosovo.