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Monday, 3 May, 1999, 17:59 GMT 18:59 UK
Gere in refugee plea
Richard Gere in a camp at Stenkovic, near Skopje, last week
Hollywood actor Richard Gere has called on the US and UK governments to do more to help refugees caught up in the Kosovo crisis.

Kosovo: Special Report
Speaking in the Macedonian capital of Skopje, the Pretty Woman star said thousands of the refugees he met during his six-day visit to the Balkans wanted to go to safe haven countries.

He added all the countries involved in Nato's bombing raids had a responsibility to take a leading role in helping refugees.

He said: "Considering the bombing is being led by the US and British, their commitment to take refugees must be much, much higher.

"It is certainly up to the developed countries of the world, especially Nato countries, to take much more responsibility more than they have."

Gere said the Yugoslav government's claims that many refugees were fleeing to escape Nato attacks were untrue.

Refugees 'tortured, abused and frightened'

"Every one of them had a story of being tortured, abused, and frightened out of their minds because of the regular forces of the Serb army, police and paramilitaries," he said.

"This situation is very clear where the force, the terror is coming from."

He added he had asked to be allowed to stay overnight in one of the camps, but he had been refused permission on security grounds.

Gere is best known for his support of Tibetan independence, but arrived in the Balkans last week to tour refugee camps and talk to relief workers.

Upon arrival in Macedonia last week he said: "I support many humanitarian causes. I'm just trying to find out what's happening for myself. If there's any way to help then I'll do it."

See also:

28 Apr 99 | Entertainment
Gere visits refugee camp
30 Apr 99 | Entertainment
Concerts for Kosovo
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