Europe South Asia Asia Pacific Americas Middle East Africa BBC Homepage World Service Education

Front Page



UK Politics







Talking Point

In Depth

On Air

Low Graphics

Tuesday, September 7, 1999 Published at 15:09 GMT 16:09 UK

World: Europe

KLA future in the balance

The KLA is due to disband by 19 September

Nato officials have agreed with leaders of the Kosovo Liberation Army on broad outlines to replace the force with an armed civilian body.

Kosovo: Special Report
Nato sources said the force, to be called the Kosovo Corps, would be about 3,000 strong and allowed to carry weapons.

It would include a helicopter unit as well as an honour guard, security force and a small rapid reaction unit.

Nick Thorpe: "K-For and the UN mission have insisted that this must be a civil, not a military, body"
But the plan has been criticsed by Russia and others, who fear for the safety of the non-Albanian minorities in Kosovo.

The UN Security Council needs to approve the plan before the force can be set up.

Nato Secretary General Xavier Solana described the Corps as a civilian organisation of a humanitarian nature.

[ image: KLA marches into an uncertain future]
KLA marches into an uncertain future
He said KLA members would be recruited for it and a separate police force.

He said: "It is essential that the KLA is transformed from an army into a civilian organisation which will play its part in building a free and democratic Kosovo."

The 9,000-strong KLA, which fought a 16-month guerrilla campaign against Serb rule, is due to disband in two weeks time.

KLA leaders wanted it to be turned into an armed defence force, but K-For and the UN mission have insisted that it must be a civil, not a military, body.

Under negotiation

According to Nato sources, details of the future ethnic Albanian force are still under negotiation, but the major elements have been agreed upon by Lt Gen Mike Jackson and the KLA military chief, Agim Ceku.

Washington has tried to allay Russia's concerns that the force will be a continuation of the KLA under a different name.

Republican Senator Mitch McConnell said the solution should eliminate KLA fears about having to completely disband and "about what happens to them down the road when Nato is gone."

He said: "They need to have some kind of security force. We can help train that force and should do that."

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister, Aleksandr Avdeyev, said Moscow was against any proposal that could preserve the KLA as an organised structure because it would go against the demilitarisation agreement signed by Nato and the political leader of the KLA, Hashim Thaci, in June.

He said: "We understand the demilitarisation in the full sense of that word.

"That is not only the confiscation of armaments but also the disbandment of KLA structures."

Police Academy

In a separate development, cadets have begun training at a new police academy in the province.

The BBC's Nick Thorpe says that in six months time, the first officers of Kosovo's new multi-ethnic police service will be allowed to patrol.

The opening day of the Academy was spoilt however by a boycott by Serbs who had been selected for the force.

Our correspondent says that more than half the Serbs stayed away, and others left in protest.

Advanced options | Search tips

Back to top | BBC News Home | BBC Homepage | ©

Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East | South Asia

Relevant Stories

07 Sep 99 | Europe
Kosovo parades new police

06 Sep 99 | Europe
Russia praised over Kosovo shootings

03 Sep 99 | Europe
KLA fighters 'could join paramilitary force'

26 Aug 99 | Europe
US accused over Serb deaths

23 Aug 99 | Europe
Kosovo protesters keep Russians out

Internet Links

UN in Kosovo

Yugoslav Ministry of Foreign Affairs


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.

In this section

Violence greets Clinton visit

Russian forces pound Grozny

EU fraud: a billion dollar bill

Next steps for peace

Cardinal may face loan-shark charges

From Business
Vodafone takeover battle heats up

Trans-Turkish pipeline deal signed

French party seeks new leader

Jube tube debut

Athens riots for Clinton visit

UN envoy discusses Chechnya in Moscow

Solana new Western European Union chief

Moldova's PM-designate withdraws

Chechen government welcomes summit

In pictures: Clinton's violent welcome

Georgia protests over Russian 'attack'

UN chief: No Chechen 'catastrophe'

New arms control treaty for Europe

From Business
Mannesmann fights back

EU fraud -- a billion-dollar bill

New moves in Spain's terror scandal

EU allows labelling of British beef

UN seeks more security in Chechnya

Athens riots for Clinton visit

Russia's media war over Chechnya

Homeless suffer as quake toll rises

Analysis: East-West relations must shift