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Thursday, May 27, 1999 Published at 05:19 GMT 06:19 UK


World: Europe

Kosovo leader calls for Nato troops

Most Kosovo Albanains have fled the province

By Jacky Rowland in Pristina

A senior leader of the Kosovo Albanians has called on Nato to deploy ground troops in the province.

The continuing presence of Adem Demaci in Pristina is one of the more startling surprises Kosovo has thrown up in recent days.

Kosovo: Special Report
Mr Demaci is a symbol of the struggle for independence, and was until earlier this year the political representative of the Kosovo Liberation Army.

It is remarkable that he is still in Pristina, and even more remarkable that he is speaking out about what has happened in Kosovo.

In a BBC interview, Mr Demaci described Kosovo as the biggest prison in Europe.

He gave a graphic description of how special police wearing masks had evicted many Kosovo Albanians from their homes in the first days of Nato's bombing campaign.

Mr Demaci voiced support for Nato's action, but said air strikes were not enough. He urged the alliance to finish the job it had started by sending in ground forces.

Hard words for Rugova

Mr Demaci had criticism for his rival leader, Ibrahim Rugova, and for other prominent Albanians who fled Kosovo during the conflict.

He said they had missed an important moment in history.

In particular, Mr Demaci condemned Mr Rugova for signing a number of joint statements with Yugoslav officials.

Adem Demaci resigned from his position in the KLA earlier this year in protest at the rebels' decision to attend Kosovo peace talks in France.

He said he had little information about the rebels these days, but he insisted that the KLA was still a crucial player in Kosovo.



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