Kostunica Calls for Action to Flush out Terrorists in Southern Serbia

Published December 20th, 2000 - 02:00 GMT

Yugoslav President Vojislav Kostunica called Wednesday for "concrete measures" to drive out ethnic Albanian guerrillas from a buffer zone near the UN-run province of Kosovo. 

"We have exhausted all diplomatic and political means at our disposal and the time has come to take concrete measures which should cleanse the security zone of terrorists," Kostunica said before talks here with Bulgarian President Petar Stoyanov. 

Kostunica said the measures should be agreed with both the NATO-led peacekeepers in Kosovo (KFOR) and the UN mission in the province. 

The five-kilometer (three-mile) wide demilitarized buffer zone along the Serbian side of the boundary between Serbia and Kosovo was set up following the end of the 1999 NATO bombing campaign against Yugoslavia. 

But guerrillas of the self-styled Liberation Army of Presevo, Medvedja and Bujanovac, who are fighting for these three town to be integrated into an "independent" Kosovo, has taken control of several villages within the zone. 

KFOR commander Carlo Cabigiosu met Wednesday with Serbian Deputy Prime Minister Nebojsa Covic in the southern town of Bujanovac, near the buffer zone. 

The meeting came after the UN Security Council adopted unanimously late Tuesday a statement condemning the Albanian guerillas for committing acts of violence in southern Serbia. 

In Belgrade, Yugoslav army spokesman Svetozar Radisic said that the move was "the most important" act for Yugoslavia, adding that the army would act on "political instructions." 

Zoran Djindjic, Kostunica's ally, said the document was "positive," but noted that he had expected it to be more "operational". 

Djindjic also said the next 10 days would be crucial as the guerrilla actions "escalate," Beta news agency reported. 

On Tuesday Kostunica accused KFOR troops of not able to cope with the situation in the border zone and said other solutions would have to be found -- NIS (AFP)  



© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)

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