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The BBC's Mark Devenport
"Annan described continuing attacks by Albanians against minorities as the overriding human rights issue"
 real 28k

Wednesday, 29 December, 1999, 03:54 GMT
Annan condemns Kosovo violence

convoy Many Serbs have left Kosovo fearing revenge attacks


United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan has strongly condemned continuing ethnic violence in Kosovo.



The level and nature of the violence in Kosovo ... remains unacceptable
Kofi Annan
Mr Annan said the majority Albanian community should put an end to attacks on the minority Serb and gypsy populations.

More than 100,000 Serbs are said to have fled the province fearing revenge attacks by Kosovo Albanians.

Six months after Nato forces drove Serb troops out of the province, Mr Annan said violence against the minority groups continued to be "the overriding human rights issue in Kosovo".

"The level and nature of the violence in Kosovo, especially against vulnerable minorities, remains unacceptable," Mr Annan said in a report to the UN Security Council.

The war in Kosovo
On Monday, a number of people were injured in a bomb blast at a Serb-run cafe in the eastern Kosovo town of Vitina - the latest in a string of such attacks.

The UN chief also called for the rapid deployment of international police in the province.

Only 1,000 of the 4,700 international police promised to the territory have actually arrived there.

'Strong response'

In his report to the Security Council, Mr Annan also recommends strengthening Kosovo's judiciary and penal system.

"A strong response is needed in order to address the problem of unofficial law enforcement actors that have been reported to operate within the area," he said.

However, aside from the law and order situation, Mr Annan said the UN's much criticised administrative mission in Kosovo had been making good progress.

The UN estimates that at least 800,000 refugees have now returned to their homes in the province. The occupants of 50,000 houses considered beyond repair are staying with host families over the winter.

Mr Annan's report is expected to be discussed by council members on Wednesday.

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See also:
28 Dec 99 |  Europe
Bomb blast suspects released
06 Dec 99 |  Europe
Protection demanded for Kosovo Serbs
06 Dec 99 |  Europe
Horrors of Kosovo revealed
10 Sep 99 |  Europe
Call to protect Kosovo minorities
03 Aug 99 |  Europe
Kosovo's minorities 'under attack'

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