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Friday, October 22, 1999 Published at 23:27 GMT 00:27 UK


World: Europe

Nato chief: No single ethnic Kosovo

George Robertson: "Not another single ethnic Kosovo."

By BBC Balkans reporter Paul Wood in Pristina

The new Nato chief, George Robertson, has told the majority Albanian community in Kosovo that the world will not tolerate violence against Serbs and other minorities.

Kosovo: Special Report
Making his first visit to the province as Nato Secretary General, Lord Robertson told a news conference that K-For peacekeepers were reducing violence but it was still not enough.

Lord Robertson said he had a message for the Kosovo Albanians and their leaders, something he felt personally very strongly about.

It was, he said, a warning that the international community's patience would wear very thin if violence against Serbs and other minorities continued. "Nato intervened in March of this year to stop Milosevic from creating a single ethnic Kosovo," he said.

"Nato will not stand by and see the creation of another single ethnic Kosovo."

Instability

Lord Robertson said that Nato troops would stay until the job of rebuilding a stable and safe Kosovo had been completed.

His officials say that the presence of Yugoslav forces on the border, President Milosevic's endurance in power and the threat of instability elsewhere especially in Montenegro, mean that a level of more than 45,000 Nato troops will have to be maintained for the foreseeable future.

An eventual scaling down of the peacekeeping mission will depend in part on how successful the United Nations is in rebuilding civil society in Kosovo.

But the UN representative here, Bernard Koucher, told the news conference that Unmik, as his administration is known, simply did not have enough money to do its job.



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