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[ALBSA-Info] Djindjic threatens Serbian intervention in buffer zone

Iris Pilika ipilika at hotmail.com
Fri Dec 29 12:32:45 EST 2000



"If Kosovo does break away from Serbia as Kosovo Albanian leaders are
demanding, "the Serb part of Mitrovica and northern Kosovo would not remain 
in such a state," Djindjic added."



Serbs 'set deadline over Kosovo border'

KFOR troops have no power within the buffer zone

December 29, 2000
Web posted at: 1204 GMT


BERLIN, Germany (CNN) -- Force will be used against ethnic Albanian rebels
in 20 days if a buffer zone between Kosovo and the rest of Serbia is not
brought under control, Serbia's prime minister-designate is said to have
warned.

The German news magazine Spiegel quoted Zoran Djindjic as saying that
Serbian police would "immediately intervene" if the NATO-led KFOR force has
not stabilised the situation in that time.

Djindjic accused the Albanian rebels of seeking to isolate Serbia from
Macedonia and Greece, the German news weekly said.

The fighting in the Presevo area of southern Serbia threatens to cut off a
key highway to the two countries.

Tensions in the region have increased since last month, when ethnic Albanian
rebels of the "Liberation Army of Presevo, Medvedja and Bujanovac" killed
four Serb policemen and took several police positions in the buffer zone.

NATO-led peacekeepers have no authority in the zone, which is located on
territory under Yugoslav government jurisdiction.

But only lightly armed Yugoslav police are permitted in the zone, under an
agreement signed between NATO and the Belgrade government.

On Thursday, rebels shot at Serb police and fired six mortar shells from the
buffer zone village of Djurdjevac, police said. No one was injured in the
attacks.

Djindjic predicted NATO would switch sides in the conflict, now that there
is a democratically elected government in Yugoslavia.

He was quoted as saying: "We hope for that. It would be logical and
reasonable. Joint border patrols between our soldiers and the Red Cross are
already being discussed."

Support for action
If Kosovo does break away from Serbia as Kosovo Albanian leaders are
demanding, "the Serb part of Mitrovica and northern Kosovo would not remain
in such a state," Djindjic added.

The comments by Djindjic, a moderate, sharpen the stand taken by nationalist
Yugoslav President Vojislav Kostunica, and appears to widen support within
the governing coalition for taking action against the rebels.

A top Serb official and a NATO emissary met with ethnic Albanians on
Thursday in an attempt to negotiate a solution to the tensions in the buffer
zone.

Serbia's deputy prime minister, Nebojsa Covic, and Shawn Sullivan, a
political adviser to the top NATO official in Kosovo, met with ethnic
Albanian representatives from the three-mile-wide area.

"We made significant steps forward in our efforts for a peaceful solution
... but there still is fear of uncontrollable acts by parties or groups who
seek to profit from conflicts and bloodshed," Covic said.

He said Serbia was open to discussing the situation in the zone, but
insisted "it is and will remain part of Serbia and no paramilitaries,
killing or bloodshed would be tolerated."

CNN's Berlin bureau chief Chris Burns
& the Associated Press contributed to this report.



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