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Last Updated: Saturday, 14 May, 2005, 14:38 GMT 15:38 UK
Experts examine Kosovo mass grave
Forensic experts at work in Kosovo
The bodies of 22 Serbs were found in a cave in late April
UN forensic experts are examining bodies found in a mass grave in Kosovo, believed to be Serbs killed by ethnic Albanian guerrillas in 1998.

The grave was found in the town of Malisevo, 45 km (30 miles) south-west of the capital Pristina.

If confirmed, this would be the second such find in a month after 24 bodies were found in a cave last month.

Nearly 3,000 people are still missing since the Kosovo war, including several hundred Serbs.

"There are multiple remains of bodies and at least two complete bodies," Marcia Poole, a UN spokeswoman, said.

"They are presumed to be Serbs missing since 1998," she added.

Obstacle to reconciliation

Guerrillas from the Kosovo Liberation Army kidnapped a number of Serbian villagers from the Orahovac area in Southern Kosovo in July 1998 to try and obtain the release of ethnic Albanian prisoners held by Serbian security forces.

But the exchange of prisoners never took place.

Serbs and Kosovo Albanians held a meeting in Belgrade in March to discuss the issue of missing persons, which remains a key obstacle along the path to reconciliation.

Six former rebel leaders, including former Kosovo Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj, are on trial in The Hague, charged with abducting and killing Serb civilians.

The Kosovo conflict ended when Serb forces, who had killed thousands of Albanian civilians, were driven out by a Nato bombing campaign in 1999.

Kosovo is still part of Serbia, but the UN administers the province and almost 20,000 Nato troops provide security there.

Talks on whether Kosovo will become independent or remain part of Serbia are due to begin later this year, subject to a UN review of democracy and human rights standards in the country.



SEE ALSO:
Timeline: Kosovo
23 Mar 05 |  Country profiles
Timeline: After Milosevic
18 Nov 03 |  Country profiles


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