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Friday, 10 March, 2000, 16:06 GMT
Albright warns of Kosovo extremism
albright in brussels
Mrs Albright held talks with EU officials in Brussels
US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright has warned of the dangers posed by extremists in Kosovo and appealed for tempers to be calmed.

Kosovo: Special Report
Mrs Albright has been holding talks with European Union and Nato officials in Brussels which are being dominated by the continuing problems faced by the international peace-keeping mission in Kosovo.


We have been making quite clear that extremist actions are counter-productive

Madeleine Albright
After meeting the president of the European Commission, Romano Prodi, she stressed that there was growing concern about security in the Balkan region.

"The spring has not always been good for the Balkans," she said. "We have been consulting on ways to try to lower the temperature and press extremists not to pursue activities that complicate the situation."

Minority rights

She blamed what she called "extremist groups" for the tensions in places like the divided city of Mitrovica, where there have been clashes between Kosovo Albanian and Serb groups.

Mrs Albright called for minority rights to be respected.

She said there was a need for institutions that would bring a degree of autonomy to the region, and municipal elections.

K-For peacekeepers
Mrs Albright called for peacekeepers' numbers to be boosted
In a reference to the Serbian leadership under President Slobodan Milosevic, she said "there is one government that is stirring things up".

The secretary of state also asked all countries participating in the K-For peacekeeping force to honour their commitments on troop levels.

Recently, Nato's Supreme Commander, General Wesley Clark, called for K-For to be built back up to its original strength of 50,000.

Some contributing countries have allowed their force levels to drop, leaving the total numbers there currently at about 37,000.

Tension

There are signs that tension in and around Kosovo is growing.

Serbian police have blocked Montenegro's border with Serbia, while there has been a build-up of forces on President Milosevic's side of the Kosovo border.

There have also been arms finds in the area, suggesting that both Serbs and Albanians are building up arms illegally.

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See also:

06 Mar 00 | Europe
Tension grows on Kosovo border
03 Mar 00 | Europe
Mitrovica Albanians return home
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