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World - Europe

U.N.'s Annan tours refugee camps, as appeal made for more aid

little boy
Annan heard the stories of the refugees, like the one of this little boy who traveled 23 hours on foot with his family to escape Kosovo

related videoRELATED VIDEO
While refugees continue to cross into Macedonia, Serb soldiers are moving into at least one empty village in Kosovo. CNN's Tom Mintier shows the pictures. (May 20)
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CNN's Rusty Dornin provides details of Annan's visit (May 20)
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A cracked window to a war

To the corners of the world: The flight of Kosovo's refugees
NATO pounds Belgrade for second straight day

Where are they going?
China tomorrow

Crisis in Kosovo
NATO officials describe the air campaign
NATO at 50

Strike on Yugoslavia

May 20, 1999
Web posted at: 10:37 p.m. EDT (0237 GMT)

In this story:

U.N. relief effort strapped for cash

Repatriation plan unveiled

Land mines among risks outlined


KUKES, Albania (CNN) -- U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan received a warm welcome Thursday when he toured two refugee camps near Kukes, Albania, where nearly 100,000 Kosovo refugees have streamed across the border.

"I have heard heartbreaking stories about Kosovars who have been uprooted from their homes and who are anxious to go back again," he said.

Annan said despite the difficult situation, he found conditions in the camps reasonably good.

"It shows the tenacity of the human spirit," he said. "Given what they have gone through, they are not broken."

U.N. relief effort strapped for cash

Meanwhile, U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees Sadako Ogata said Thursday that her organization was still strapped for cash to deal with the Kosovo refugee crisis, despite raising $50 million in donations through an appeal last week. At least $140 million is needed.

"There will be a new appeal and a new plan to cover (expenses for) the rest of the year, which will be quite large ... especially if the refugees stay in Albania and Macedonia," Ogata said.

"And we need to plan for winter, which is very costly in money terms and also in terms of engineering and logistics because Balkan winters are very cold," she said.

Repatriation plan unveiled

While acknowledging that the prospect looks remote at the moment, the UNHCR also published a plan on Thursday for the post-conflict return of Kosovo refugees and displaced persons to their homes.

Annan & crowd
Annan receives a warm welcome as he arrives at this refugee camp   

The document sets out a four-stage strategy to be implemented after the end of the conflict.

"We are very far away from returning refugees to Kosovo or returning displaced people within the province to their original homes because, as we speak, people are still being expelled from Kosovo," said UNHCR spokesman Kris Janowski.

"Nonetheless, in case there is some sort of a security arrangement, some sort of a political solution to the Kosovo crisis, we have to be ready," he said.

Land mines among risks outlined

Janowski said several key conditions would have to be met before the plan could go into effect.

"The main conditions would be the complete pullout of Serb military, police and paramilitary forces to create some sort of secure situation on the ground and the presence of international troops," he said.

Annan signing cast
Annan leaves a personal message with this injured refugee   

The plan lists numerous difficulties which will have to be overcome, ranging from land mines to the risks posed if a large number of refugees spontaneously try to return at once.

Also on Thursday, the Montenegrin news agency Montena-fax reported that Yugoslav soldiers have blocked Montenegro's border with Croatia, confiscating Italian humanitarian aid and turning back trucks because the drivers had no visas. Some of that aid was destined for Kosovo refugees.

Montenegro, which together with Serbia makes up the Yugoslav federation, had waved visa requirements for international visitors to encourage tourism. But since NATO's bombing campaign, Yugoslav federal troops have been stopping visitors without visas issued by the central government in Belgrade.

Correspondent Rusty Dornin and Reuters contributed to this report.

Serb officials say Yugoslavia 'ready to cut a deal'
May 18, 1999
NATO says 'human shields' account for bombing deaths
May 17, 1999
U.N. delegation heading to Yugoslavia
May 15, 1999
'Free-lance' diplomacy by House group comes under fire
April 13, 1999
Milosevic opens door to new peace talks on Kosovo
April 22, 1999

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

  • F-117s arrive at Aviano to support possible NATO operations
  • 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 Without Borders
  • U.S. Agency for International Development (Kosovo aid)
  • Doctors of the World
  • The IOM Migration Web
  • InterAction
  • International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies
  • International Committee of the Red Cross
  • Kosovo Humanitarian Disaster Forces Hundreds of Thousands from their Homes
  • Catholic Relief Services
  • Kosovo Relief
  • ReliefWeb: Home page
  • The Jewish Agency for Israel
  • Mercy International

  • Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty
  • Independent Yugoslav radio stations B92
  • Institute for War and Peace Reporting
  • United States Information Agency - Kosovo Crisis

  • Expanded list of related sites on Kosovo
  • The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation Tribune
  • Ministry of Foreign Affairs of P.R.China
  • 1997 view of Kosovo from space - Eurimage
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