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Last Updated: Monday, 22 March, 2004, 18:39 GMT
Kosovo mourns violence victims
Patriarch Pavle, the head of the Serbian Orthodox Church,  blesses the cross during a service on Sunday
Serbia held a day of mourning on Sunday
Kosovo is holding a day of mourning for the 28 victims killed in last week's violence between ethnic Albanians and Serbs in the province.

With tensions still high, Nato Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer is due in Kosovo later on Monday.

It is the first in a series of high-level visits by leaders who are deeply involved in Kosovo.

About 2,000 Nato reinforcements are being deployed to Kosovo, to join 18,500 international troops already there.


Flags are flying at half mast across Kosovo a day after the funerals of two ethnic Albanian boys whose deaths last Tuesday sparked a violent backlash against the minority Serb community.

It was the worst violence since Nato forces entered Kosovo in 1999.

A French soldier serving in Nato-led K-For
24 Sept 1998: Nato issues ultimatum to Milosevic to stop crackdown on Kosovo Albanians
24 Mar 1999: Nato begins air strikes against Yugoslavia over Kosovo
10 June 1999: Air strikes suspended after Milosevic agrees to withdraw troops. UN approves peace plan for Kosovo, establishes K-for peace force
11 June 1999: Nato troops enter Kosovo
10 Dec 2003: UN unveils road map on conditions Kosovo must meet by mid-2005 for talks on final status
17 Mar 2004: Serbs and Albanians clash in the worst violence seen since 1999

As the violence dies down, the apportioning of blame has begun, reports the BBC's Nick Thorpe in Kosovo's capital, Pristina.

International officials blame the Albanians for refusing to offer Serbs in Kosovo the enhanced rights they need to feel safe, while the Albanians blame the Serbs for not recognising their demands for independence.

Mr de Hoop Scheffer on Sunday warned against resorting to violence to achieve political aims.

"Nobody in Kosovo should think - and that goes more specifically for the majority community in Kosovo, the Albanians - that by inciting violence they will bring their political ambitions closer," he said.

Thousands of Serbs were driven from their homes in last week's clashes.

The unrest broke out after three Albanian boys drowned near the town of Mitrovica last on Tuesday.

The body of one of them is still missing.

UN police are still investigating allegations by another youngster who says the boys jumped into the river to escape a dog set on them by two Serbs from a neighbouring village.

Amid tight security, the two boys were laid to rest in the village of Cabra on Sunday.

Mourners wept as the boys' schoolmates carried photographs of the children and banners reading "No more deaths" and "Peace for everybody".

Also on Sunday, Serbia held a day of remembrance for the 28 victims during which the head of the Serbian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Pavle, appealed for calm.


The ethnic Albanian authorities are setting up a special fund to rebuild Serb homes and churches damaged in the violence, which left hundreds of people injured.

At least 15 Orthodox churches and more than 100 homes in Serb enclaves were damaged or destroyed by Albanian rioters.

About 1,100 Serbs and non-Albanians are being sheltered in camps run by the Nato peacekeeping force, K-For, while others have gone to Serb areas.

The top UN official in Kosovo, Harri Holkeri, said on Saturday he believed extremists were behind much of last week's violence.

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