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NATO Urged To Use Yugoslav Troops

August 13, 1999

UNITED NATIONS (AP) _ NATO-led peacekeepers in Kosovo should ask Yugoslav troops to help if they can’t control ethnic violence that has caused tens of thousands of Serbs and other minorities to flee the province, Yugoslavia’s U.N. envoy said Thursday.

Calling the mass exodus ``extremely disquieting,″ Vladislav Jovanovic warned that if Kosovo ends up being a purely ethnic Albanian province, ``it would not be the end of troubles.″

Jovanovic said the peacekeepers, known as KFOR, had allowed the ethnic Albanian guerrilla Kosovo Liberation Army to take control in the power vaccum in the Yugoslav province.

``If KFOR cannot prevent terror and murder against Serbs, Romas (Gypsies) and pro-Yugoslav Albanians ... then KFOR should ... invite Yugoslav forces to help it and to put the situation under control in a joint manner,″ he told a press conference.

However, Jovanovic didn’t elaborate on the type of role Yugoslav troops would perform. But it’s highly unlikely that NATO would even consider allowing the return of same troops that only months ago were charged with a brutal campaign to drive ethnic Albanians from the province.

Yugoslav troops withdrew from the province in June, allowing NATO-led troops to deploy there, under the peace deal that ended the 78-day NATO bombing campaign against Yugoslavia.

But since then, KFOR troops have been unable to stop ethnic violence, particularly by members of the ethnic Albanian majority taking revenge against the province’s Serb minority for the Yugoslav forces’ brutal campaign of expulsions and massacres.

Under the June 10 peace deal, Yugoslavia will be allowed to send a small number of troops to Kosovo, but only to guard Serb monasteries and other cultural and religious sites and border crossings. It gives no time frame for their arrival.

Members of the Security Council stressed the importance of maintaining a multiethnic society in discussions Thursday on a report from Secretary-General Kofi Annan on the U.N. civilian administration in Kosovo, diplomats said.

KFOR has more than 35,000 troops on the ground in Kosovo, which is a province of the Yugoslav republic of Serbia and remains under Yugoslav sovereignty.

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