Kosovo Liberation Army disarms to meet midnight deadline
July 21, 1999
From Correspondent Nic Robertson
PRISTINA, Kosovo (CNN) -- NATO's peacekeeping force in Kosovo said Wednesday it was satisfied that the ethnic Albanian Kosovo Liberation Army would meet a midnight deadline to hand in its heavy arms.
The KLA and NATO's Kosovo implementation force, KFOR, signed an agreement June 21 stipulating that all heavy weapons must be placed in designated storage sites by July 22.
Additionally, KLA soldiers must hand over 30 percent of their small machine guns and vacate their military positions.
KLA soldiers paraded Wednesday behind the fences of a base in Komorane, one of a handful of NATO-approved "assembly areas" where KLA members can keep their smaller weapons. Anything larger than a hand-held machine gun must be stored at weapons collection sites guarded by KFOR troops.
"We will do as our headquarters instructs," one commander told CNN. "But we will never work against the interests of the Liberation Army and the Albanian people."
Although KFOR has confiscated KLA weapons on several recent occasions, KFOR commander Lt. Gen. Michael Jackson said last week that he was "broadly satisfied" with the disarmament process.
The KLA is expected to hand over its remaining weapons and be out of uniform in two months. Under the June 21 agreement, KFOR promised to give "consideration" to the idea of a Kosovo National Guard, something the KLA insists upon.
"Kosovo cannot be imagined without a defensive force," said KLA political leader Hasim Thaci.
"We believe it will not just be a national guard, but we believe it will be an army of Kosovo whose character will not be a liberating one, but a defensive one," he said.
Kosovo peacekeepers find illegal jail, beaten prisoner
|Back to the top||
© 2001 Cable News Network. All Rights Reserved.|
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines.