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World - Europe

British paratrooper vanguard bids Pristina farewell

British soldier
More than 800 British paratroopers are expected to leave Kosovo

icon  MESSAGE BOARD:
Rebuilding Kosovo
 IN-DEPTH SPECIAL:
Focus on Kosovo
 

July 30, 1999
Web posted at: 2:21 p.m. EDT (1821 GMT)

PRISTINA, Kosovo (CNN) -- Having dealt with everything from gun attacks to missing pets, the vanguard of NATO's advance into Kosovo began to pull out of the Serb province on Friday.

After policing the provincial capital for seven weeks, more than 800 British paratroopers are expected to leave Pristina in the coming days, as Britain reduces the number of its troops in the NATO-led KFOR force to about 5,000 soldiers

"We came in with large numbers because we weren't sure what we were going to find," said Gen. Charles Guthrie, British Defense chief of staff.

British, Canadian and Norwegian troops will take over from the paratroopers, who in the absence of a U.N. police force served as the city's crime fighters.

"Just expect anything and be prepared to deal with it," offered paratrooper Maj. Julian Davies. "We deal with everything from shootings to stabbings or helping someone who has lost their dog."

Experience in another region troubled by urban violence has proved invaluable for some of the British forces in Pristina.

"It's really hard. You are almost police here, so Northern Ireland training has helped quite a bit," Cpl. Greame Greaves said.

Cpl. Greame Greaves
"It's really hard" - Cpl. Greame Greaves  

Sporadic violence has plagued Kosovo since KFOR forces began occupying the province after NATO's 78-day bombing of Yugoslavia.

The alliance conducted the air campaign to compel Belgrade to accept a peace plan to stop persistent ethnic bloodshed in Kosovo.

In other Friday developments:

  • Ibrahim Rugova, the president of Kosovo's Democratic League, returned to Pristina after weeks of self-imposed exile. U.N. and U.S. officials hope the presence of the moderate Kosovar Albanian leader will speed up the establishment of a local administration to make the province more stable.
  • Denmark's High Court ordered a Danish mercenary suspected of killing ethnic Albanian civilians in Kosovo for the Serb army to remain in police custody until mid-August.
  • British Prime Minister Tony Blair was expected to arrive in Kosovo later Friday after attending the international Balkans summit in Sarajevo.
  • Remaining Kosovar Albanian refugees will be able to fly directly to Pristina from abroad starting Monday, said a spokesman for the International Organization of Migration. Most of the 860,00 ethnic Albanians forced to flee Kosovo have returned.

Correspondent Nic Robertson and Reuters contributed to this report.



RELATED STORIES:
Albright warns Kosovar Albanians against revenge
July 29, 1999
U.S. soldier dies from gunshot in Kosovo
July 29, 1999
Kosovo village mourns 14 slain Serbs
July 28, 1999
First Kosovo refugees happily arrive home from U.S.
July 27, 1999
Slain Kosovo farmers autopsied as Serb villagers question massacre investigation
July 26, 1999
Serb-Albanian meetings postponed after Serb farmers' slayings
July 25, 1999

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

Kosovo:
  • Kosova Crisis Center
  • Kosova Liberation Peace Movement
  • Kosovo - from Albanian.com

Military:
  • 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.:
  • The International Organization for Migration (IOM)
  • 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

Relief:
  • UNICEF: Kosovo
  • 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
  • UNHCR


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

Other:
  • Expanded list of related sites on Kosovo
  • 1997 view of Kosovo from space - Eurimage
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