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World - Europe

Greek relief efforts under way in Kosovo

First international aid to enter province

April 16, 1999
Web posted at: 1:58 p.m. EDT (1758 GMT)

From Senior White House Correspondent Wolf Blitzer

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Four Greek trucks loaded with medical supplies crossed into Kosovo from Macedonia Friday to reach the growing number of displaced Kosovars in need, CNN has learned.

It is the first such international assistance to enter Kosovo since the start of NATO airstrikes.

Yugoslav authorities in Belgrade have given permission for additional Greek trucks to follow, said diplomats familiar with the Greek relief operation.

One official involved in the program said he is "quite encouraged" that the Greek branch of the international relief organization Doctors of the World can start bringing medical and food supplies to the hundreds of thousands of displaced ethnic Albanians in Kosovo.

U.S. and NATO officials said they support the Greek initiative but want to make sure the supplies actually reach the ethnic Albanians, many of whom have been hiding in the hills and forests. Some are believed to be suffering from starvation.

Greek diplomat Alex Rondos has been in Belgrade for several days meeting with high-ranking Yugoslav officials to work out the details of the relief operation.

Rondos, an adviser to Greek Foreign Minister George Papandreou, planned to go into Kosovo Friday to inspect the situation.

Greece, a member of NATO, has kept its embassy in Belgrade open since the start of the NATO airstrikes.

NATO has so far ruled out air drops of supplies to Kosovo as too dangerous to planes and crew members. NATO has also rejected introducing ground troops to force their way into Kosovo with supplies.

The Greek initiative could lead to other third-party humanitarian groups entering Kosovo to help the displaced persons, U.S. officials said.

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Hellenic Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Extensive list of Kosovo-related sites
  • Kosovo

  • Federal Republic of Yugoslavia official site
      • Kesovo and Metohija facts
  • Serbia Ministry of Information
  • Serbia Now! News

  • Kosova Crisis Center
  • Kosovo - from

  • NATO official site
  • BosniaLINK - U.S. Dept. of Defense
  • U.S. Navy images from Operation Allied Force
  • U.K. Ministry of Defence - Kosovo news
  • U.K. Royal Air Force - Kosovo news
  • Jane's Defence - Kosovo Crisis

  • Doctors of the World
  • Mercy International USA
  • Donations for Kosovo Refugees
  • International Rescue Committee
  • Unicef USA
  • Doctors Without Borders
  • World Vision
  • CARE: The Kosovo Crisis
  • InterAction
  • International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies
  • International Committee of the Red Cross
  • Disaster Relief from
  • Catholic Relief Services
  • Kosovo Relief
  • ReliefWeb: Home page

  • Independent Yugoslav radio stations B92
  • Institute for War and Peace Reporting
  • United States Information Agency - Kosovo Crisis

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