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BBC's Jackie Rowland in Belgrade
"A new attempt to win the confidence of local people"
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BBC's Oana Lungescu in Brussels
Frustration at Nato headquarters
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Wednesday, 15 December, 1999, 18:26 GMT
Power-sharing council for Kosovo

Kosovo Serbs under escort Kosovo still has much to do if it is to return to normal life

The international authorities in Kosovo have signed an agreement with local political leaders establishing a power-sharing council that will bring Kosovans into the administration of the province.

Kosovo: Special Report
The new interim administrative council is to be made up of three Kosovo Albanians, one Serb and four members of the UN mission in Kosovo.

The accord was signed by the political chief of the former Kosovo Liberation Army, Hashim Thaci, the leader of the Democratic League for Kosovo Ibrahim Rugova, and the head of the Unified Democratic Movement, Rexhep Qosja.

The council
Four UN representatives, three Kosovo Albanians, one Kosovo Serb
Executive chairman: Bernard Kouchner
Two co-presidents: To rotate among the Kosovo members
Will be consultative
Will supervise 14 administrative departments
However, no representative of Kosovo's Serb community was present at the ceremony.

And a senior Kosovo Serb official has accused UN administrator Bernard Kouchner of "completely handing over power" to the Kosovo Albanians.

In an interview with the Belgrade daily `Blic', Zoran Andjelkovic said Mr Kouchner's policy was bringing about a Serb exodus from Kosovo.

A BBC correspondent in the capital, Pristina, says the plan amounts to an acknowledgement by the UN that the province cannot be governed without the cooperation of local people.

The new interim council replaces a UN administration that has been boycotted by the Serb minority, and has been suffering an acute shortage of resources.

Appeal for more police

Mr Kouchner is to be its chairman, and he is expected to appeal for more police officers to be sent to the province when he briefs Nato foreign ministers, and their counterparts from more than 20 neutral and former communist countries on Thursday.

Mr Kouchner, who will have a right of veto over all council decisions, hailed the agreement as "a very important breakthrough."

Let those who criticise the accomplishments in Kosovo today remember the situation we inherited just six months ago.
George Robertson
Nato Secretary-General
Under to the plan, Mr Kouchner will continue to govern the province, but will be supported a rotating system of four deputies.

The local leaders will work with the UN and other international bodies charged with rebuilding Kosovo.

There has been widespread concern at the inability of the UN's K-For troops in Kosovo to protect Serbs from revenge attacks by Kosovo Albanians.

Despite the Nato and UN presence, Serbs and other ethnic minorities continue to suffer attacks aimed at taking revenge for the deaths of an estimated 10,000 ethnic Albanians during the Yugoslav army campaign against separatist forces.

Most Kosovo Albanians demand full independence from Belgrade, while the Security Council resolution envisages only that the province should have autonomy within Yugoslavia.

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See also:
10 Dec 99 |  Europe
Serbs feel the heat in Kosovo
06 Dec 99 |  Europe
Horrors of Kosovo revealed
09 Dec 99 |  Europe
Serbs convict Kosovo Albanian doctor
06 Dec 99 |  Talking Point
Kosovo: Can there be forgiveness?
06 Dec 99 |  Europe
Protection demanded for Kosovo Serbs
06 Dec 99 |  Europe
Kosovo catalogue of horrors
06 Dec 99 |  Europe
Analysis: Kosovo's elusive peace

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