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Friday, June 4, 1999 Published at 11:27 GMT 12:27 UK


World: Europe

Refugees sceptical about peace

Refugees in Kukes queue up for breakfast

By Peter Biles in Kukes

In the northern Albanian town of Kukes, there is still a cautious response to the Kosovo peace deal among refugees there.

Kosovo: Special Report
Kukes is the main staging post for those leaving Kosovo. In the camps, refugees and the aid agencies caring for them are adopting a wait and see attitude.

Nato jets could still be heard flying overhead this morning, and Nato trucks were again being used to move some of the refugees from Kukes to destinations further south, away from this unstable border region, away from a town where the infrastructure is under enormous strain.

The UN refugee agency, the UNHCR, says this programme of relocation will continue for the time being.

So too will the long term plans for providing the refugees with winter shelter.

Kosovo exodus continues

As the peace deal was being announced on Thursday, more refugees from Kosovo were still crossing the border into Albania.

Another 165 men who had been released and expelled by the Serbs after two weeks in detention arrived in Kukes.

While the refugees remain sceptical about the peace deal, the UNHCR believes it could take weeks or even months before an international peace keeping force has created a safe environment for their return.

The UNHCR says a full assessment will need to be made in Kosovo before the repatriation phase begins.

In the meantime convoys of aid will have to be sent into the province to relieve the suffering of the internally displaced.



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