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Thursday, June 3, 1999 Published at 21:39 GMT 22:39 UK


Refugees still wary of Serbia

Thousands of Kosovan refugees are in the UK

Kosovan refugees in the UK have welcomed the news that Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic has accepted the Nato peace plan, but say they do not trust him.

Kosovo: Special Report
A group of refugees in Glasgow said the bombing campaign should continue until all Serb forces have withdrawn from Kosovo.

"We appreciate the positive things in the deal," said Shpeno Shala, 46, who was forced from his home in Pristina.

"But each time Slobodan Milosevic has signed a treaty before, he has had his back to the wall.

'Bombing must go on'

"The bombardment must continue until he meets his promise. Albanians will not feel safe until all the Serb troops and police have withdrawn and Nato troops are in."

[ image: Home Secretary Jack Straw has said the UK is now taking 1,000 refugees a week]
Home Secretary Jack Straw has said the UK is now taking 1,000 refugees a week
Some refugees said they were unhappy that Kosovar Albanians were not consulted on the structure of the peace plan. Isuf Ahmeti, 50, said: "It is only Albanians who have to live in the country."

Mr Shala joined him in calling for a referendum on Kosovo's future. "The Albanians have a right to a referendum to decide what they want," he said.

"We do not have any confidence we will be safe under Slobodan Milosevic."

There are thousands of Kosovo refugees now in the UK - 57 are in a former home for people with disabilities in Renfrew, outside Glasgow.

"People have done so much for us," said refugee Bajram Mehmetaj, a 41-year-old theatre producer from Pristina.

'Our hearts are in Kosovo'

"We have come from somewhere where people were always taking from us and now in Scotland people are always giving us things. We have been scared but here people are just offering us help all the time."

His wife Kadruje, 41, three of their teenage children and their seven-year-old daughter are in the centre, waiting for the time they can return to Kosovo.

His mother Hynishah, 65, who is blind, is the most eager to return home.

"She keeps saying I don't want to die now. I don't want to die in a foreign country. She keeps asking when we can go back.

"Our bodies are here and we are grateful but our minds and hearts are in Kosovo."

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