UN Calls for Albanian Extremists to Leave Southern Serbia

Published December 20th, 2000 - 02:00 GMT

The UN Security Council has demanded the dissolution and withdrawal of Albanian extremist groups from southern Serbia even as the UN hold on Serb areas in Kosovo is seen as slipping. 

"The Security Council calls for the dissolution of ethnic Albanian extremist groups," the UN said in a resolution adopted Tuesday. 

"The Council also calls for the immediate withdrawal from the area, and particular from the Ground Safety Zone, of all non-residents engaged in extremist activities." 

The Safety Zone refers to a five-kilometer (three-mile) wide demilitarized buffer area along the Serbian side of the boundary between Serbia and Kosovo which NATO imposed on Belgrade in 1999. 

Tensions have been raised in the Serb areas in recent weeks by increased ethnic Albanian rebel activity in the south of Serbia proper, raising fears of more ethnic violence with the breakaway province. 

The guerrillas, of the self-styled Liberation Army of Presevo, Medvedja and Bujanovac, are calling for the three towns in whose name they claim to fight to be integrated into an independent Kosovo. 

The UN's statements followed a call by Yugoslavia Tuesday that the Security Council curb the activities of ethnic Albanian guerrillas operating out of the buffer zone. 

"(The Council) strongly condemns the violent action by ethnic Albanian extremist groups in southern Serbia," the statement read. 

Only Serbian police are supposed to be active in the zone, and guerrilla attacks against these police in recent weeks have threatened to destabilize the fragile peace between Serbs and ethnic Albanians in Kosovo. 

In Belgrade Tuesday, Yugoslav President Vojislav Kostunica said KFOR had proved incapable of controlling the guerrillas and cutting off their supply routes from Kosovo. 

Meanwhile, a second attack on a UN police station in a Serb area of Kosovo angered Albanians from the province Wednesday who charged the UN administration was losing control of Serb-populated areas in the north. 

Kosovo is currently administered by the United Nations, and its security falls to the 40,000-strong KFOR multinational force -- UNITED NATIONS (AFP)  



© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)

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