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Kosovo Report: September 9, 1999

9 September 1999, Number 35, Volume 1

PLANS SHAPE UP FOR KOSOVO CORPS. NATO ambassadors in Brussels on 9 September discussed the plan for the transformation of at least part of the Kosovo Liberation Army (UCK) into a Kosovo Corps (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 3 September 1999). A high-ranking NATO official told an RFE/RL South Slavic Service correspondent that the plan provides for a 3,000-strong force that will be organized into a "military structure" in six regions of Kosovo and will have 2,000 reservists. Members of the force will wear uniforms but not carry arms, with the exception of guards or others exercising functions explicitly assigned to them by KFOR. The corps will include transport units, rapid reaction forces, medical units, and units for protection against chemical and bacteriological weapons. It will be subordinated to UN Special Representative Bernard Kouchner and maintain permanent contact with KFOR through liaison officers. Kouchner will present the plan to UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan on 9 September.

The NATO official also said that many UCK soldiers who are not included in the Kosovo Corps will be able to apply for jobs with the civilian police. In addition, international organizations clearing mines in Kosovo have reserved 190 jobs for former UCK members. Kouchner's UN Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) has also received pledges of 300 university stipends from several different countries for those UCK soldiers who interrupted their studies when war broke out.

Kouchner told the Kosovo Transitional Council in Prishtina on 9 September that he will hold a large meeting of all Kosovor political parties at the end of September, after the demilitarization of the UCK is complete. He said that the meeting will be the first step toward organizing elections next year. The Transitional Council also set up a commission to seek the release of more than 2,000 ethnic Albanians from Serbian prisons. Kouchner later promised about 200 ethnic Albanian protesters who had gathered outside the UN headquarters that KFOR will ensure the return of ethnic Albanians to the Serbian-dominated northern part of Mitrovica in the near future. Kouchner said that he is optimistic about the successful demilitarization of the UCK, the reconstruction of Kosovo, and the holding of new elections: "I hope�inshallah--to organize the whole thing."

EBU APPOINTS DIRECTOR OF PRISHTINA RADIO AND TELEVISION. The European Broadcasting Union (EBU), meeting in Geneva on 8 September, appointed Erik Lehmann as the new head of Prishtina Radio and Television. Lehmann is currently president of Swiss Public Radio and Television.