Tuesday, April 20, 1999 Published at 19:29 GMT 20:29 UK
Kosovo refugees to arrive in UK
A total of 600,000 refugees have left Kosovo in the past month, Nato say
The first refugees from Kosovo are to arrive in the UK this week, Home Secretary Jack Straw has announced.
The Home Office said 120 people, mainly women and children, were expected this week.
They were also expecting a request from the UN to take another 18 medical cases with 121 dependants later.
Mr Straw said: "We will defeat the policy of ethnic cleansing.
"Then these people can go back home. That is what they want. That is what Nato will achieve."
The existing criteria calls for applicants to be able to show they have family in the UK.
A UNHCR spokeswoman said that they have 26 families - about 180 individuals - in Macedonia who say they have links in Britain, and whom they would like to place here.
However, Prime Minister Tony Blair has repeatedly insisted that the UK is ready and willing to help the international situation.
Cash is till flooding in to the UK appeal to help the Kosovo refugees and now totals £18m.
The Disasters Emergency Committee, made up of 12 leading charities, said the amount the appeal had raised as it entered its third week was "unprecedented".
The situation for the displaced people of Kosovo remains grim. Nato spokesman Jamie Shea said on Tuesday that a total of 600,000 refugees have left Kosovo in the past month and another 100,000 are expected to do so in the next few days.
Mr Shea said Yugoslav army units in Montenegro appeared to have begun ethnic cleansing on the Montenegran side of the border with Kosovo in a "new and distressing" development.
UK Politics Contents
A-Z of Parliament