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World - Europe

U.N. endorses peacekeeping force for Kosovo

Kofi Annan
U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, second from left, listens as the Security Council discusses the peace resolution  
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June 10, 1999
Web posted at: 1:36 p.m. EDT (1736 GMT)

In this story:

Yugoslav soldiers flash victory sign

Peacekeepers ready for Kosovo mission

Yugoslavia must meet many conditions

Russian troops still an issue


UNITED NATIONS (CNN) -- With a NATO cease-fire in place, the U.N. Security Council gave its backing Thursday to a NATO-led force that will enter Yugoslavia as peacekeepers while Yugoslav troops withdraw from Kosovo.

The vote on a resolution came just four hours after the Western alliance announced it would suspend its 11-week-old air war against Yugoslavia. The council approved the plan 14- 0, with China -- one of the most implacable critics of the NATO airstrikes -- abstaining.

NATO Secretary-General Javier Solana said NATO's top commander, Gen. Wesley Clark, confirmed the Yugoslav withdrawal was genuine and that Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic had complied with the international community's demands.

"Therefore ... I instructed Gen. Clark to suspend NATO's air operations against Yugoslavia," Solana said. (Audio 461 K/44 sec. AIFF or WAV sound)

Solana warned that NATO would resume its bombardments if Yugoslavia reneged on its agreement to withdraw. And he added that separatist rebels of the Kosovo Liberation Army must also stand down during the withdrawal.

"Violence or noncompliance by any party will not be tolerated," he said.

In Belgrade, Milosevic said Yugoslavia had preserved its territorial integrity in the conflict and that the question of independence for Kosovo -- which prompted more than a year of ethnic strife in the Serbian province -- was no longer an issue.

"Dear citizens, I wish you a happy peace," he said.

Yugoslav soldiers flash victory sign

Yugoslav armored vehicles began heading northward from Kosovo's provincial capital, Pristina, about 1 p.m. Thursday (1100 GMT/7 a.m. EDT) as part of the troop withdrawal.

Soldiers laughed and flashed a Yugoslav victory sign as they left. Hundreds of troops were on the move, along with ammunition trucks, communications gear and other equipment.

Milosevic said the Yugoslav army and special police forces in Kosovo lost fewer than 600 men during the fighting, which began March 24. That number is about a tenth of the estimates that NATO released last week.

He said Thursday he was proud of the army for its defense of Kosovo.

On what appeared to be the last day of the air war, NATO pilots flew 443 sorties, including 60 strike flights and 22 anti-air defense missions. And as late as 10 a.m. (0800 GMT/4 a.m. EDT) Thursday, Clark said there were signs of Yugoslav forces shelling areas in western Kosovo.

All NATO aircraft returned safely from Thursday's missions. The alliance lost only two fliers during the war -- both U.S. Army helicopter pilots who died on a training mission in Albania when their Apache helicopter gunship crashed.

U.S. Marines step onto the beach Thursday at Litohoro, Greece  

Peacekeepers ready for Kosovo mission

As the cease-fire was announced, the vanguard of a 50,000- strong peacekeeping force -- dubbed KFOR -- prepared to move into Kosovo. Solana said the first KFOR troops could set foot on Yugoslav soil by Friday.

Leading the way will be the 18,500 troops in Macedonia under the command of British Lt. Gen. Michael Jackson. It was Jackson who announced Wednesday that Yugoslavia had agreed to a "phased, verifiable and orderly withdrawal from Kosovo."

When Jackson's force crosses the Yugoslav frontier, "They'll find horrors which nobody should have to face," British Defense Secretary George Robertson said Thursday.

"They'll have to work their way through minefields and booby traps. They'll have to face the risk of attacks by way of individuals who disregard their orders to leave," he said.

"They'll have to cope with human misery and starvation that has been left behind by the Serbs, and I fear that they will find evidence of atrocities, which will shock and sicken even them."

A United Nations war crimes tribunal at The Hague has indicted Milosevic and several government officials, accusing them of being responsible for a campaign of mass murder and the forced resettlement of ethnic Albanians from Kosovo.

In addition to Jackson's troops, a contingent of 1,900 U.S. Marines landed in Greece on Thursday to join the peacekeeping force. The Marines went ashore shortly after dawn from ships anchored off the Greek coast.

 G-8 roadmap to peace in Kosovo:
 • Yugoslav and NATO officials sign military/technical agreement for withdrawal of Yugoslav forces

 • Yugoslav forces begin withdrawal with NATO verification

 • NATO suspends airstrikes

 • U.N. Security Council passes resolution endorsing G-8 peace plan

 • As Yugoslav forces leave, KFOR peacekeeping force enters Kosovo

Yugoslavs must meet many conditions

Among other requirements outlined by the agreement, Yugoslav forces must:

• End all military flights over Kosovo and end all use of air defenses, radar and surface-to-air missile systems within 24 hours.

• Remove all anti-aircraft artillery, surface-to-air missiles and military aircraft from Kosovo within three days.

• Hand over all records indicating the placement of land mines, explosive devices, unexploded ordnance and other booby traps in Kosovo within 48 hours.

Once the Yugoslav pullout is complete, "several hundred" troops will be allowed to return to Kosovo to protect religious shrines and border locations.

Russian troops still an issue

Talks between U.S. and Russian special envoys on Russia's participation in KFOR continued in Moscow on Thursday as Russia's parliament condemned President Boris Yeltsin's point man on the Balkans.

The State Duma, the lower house of the Russian parliament, asked Yeltsin to fire Viktor Chernomyrdin, his special envoy on the Balkans. The vote has no legal force, but reflects the anger toward Chernomyrdin from communists and others on the political left, who accuse him of selling out to NATO.

Chernomyrdin and U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott were trying Thursday to settle the peacekeeping issue. Talbott said it would not be possible for Russia to have a separate sector in Kosovo when peacekeeping forces move in. Russia is not a member of NATO.

Asked whether a Russian zone was possible in Kosovo, as Moscow had proposed, Talbott said: "The short answer is no. We feel very strongly and I think our Russian colleagues agree unity of command is very important, and unity of command means all of Kosovo will be under one command arrangement."

Correspondents Jim Clancy, Jill Dougherty, Steve Harrigan, Patricia Kelly and John King contributed to this report.

Yugoslavia agrees to withdraw forces from Kosovo
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U.N. Security Council standing by for Kosovo vote
June 9, 1999
Yugoslavia agrees to withdraw forces from Kosovo
June 9, 1999
Text of Kosovo military technical agreement
June 9, 1999
Timetable for Kosovo transition
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Clinton to Belgrade: We will be watching
June 9, 1999
Cautious optimism heard around the world
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Pristina residents weary of war, wary of peace
June 9, 1999

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

  • Kosova Crisis Center
  • Kosova Liberation Peace Movement
  • 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

Resettlement Agencies Helping Kosovars in U.S.:
  • Church World Service
  • Episcopal Migration Ministries
  • Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society
  • Iowa Department of Human Services
  • International Rescue Committee
  • Immigration and Refugee Services of America
  • Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service
  • United States Catholic Conference

  • World Relief
  • Doctors without borders
  • U.S. Agency for International Development (Kosovo aid)
  • Doctors of the World
  • 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
  • 1997 view of Kosovo from space - Eurimage
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