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Wednesday, May 12, 1999 Published at 22:07 GMT 23:07 UK

World: Europe

UN struggles to move refugees

Many refugees do not want to move far from the border

By Duncan Kennedy in Kukes

Attempts to persuade large numbers of refugees to move from the potentially dangerous border area between northern Albania and Kosovo have met with little enthusiasm.

Kosovo: Special Report
At one camp, only one in ten refugees agreed to go - but the authorities say they hope those they have convinced to move will lead to others following suit.

Refugee camps in northern Albania are within easy shelling distance of Serbian guns, according to UN officials.

And although Nato jets have again been seen bombing Serb targets just inside Kosovo, refugee agencies believe the danger of artillery shells landing on the camps is real.

The BBC's Ben Brown: Camps are starting to look permanent
The United Nations refugee agency, the UNHCR, has just started a campaign of persuasion inside the camps.

It believes it has succeeded in some cases, but accepts that the response has been disappointing.

Camps 'more comfortable'

[ image: More and more refugees are arriving from Kosovo]
More and more refugees are arriving from Kosovo
Refugees give a number of reasons for staying - they include the fact that camps are getting more comfortable and that there's pressure from the Kosovo Liberation Army for them to stay in order to provide recruits.

One refugee said he simply does not believe his tractor could make another long journey after his trek out of Kosovo.

The UNHCR says it will provide mechanics and fuel to help such people to make the move, and some convoys of tractors are due to leave later this week.

But new refugees continue to arrive. Many want to stay near the border to meet families and to stay near home.

The authorities are confronting strong resistance from the refugees in the face of what they say are equally powerful dangers from the armed forces across the border in Kosovo.

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