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Kosovo Albanians Still Armed After UN 'Disarmament' Operation
[Posted 7 January 2002]
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Russian Press Digest of page 6 'Nezavisimaya Gazeta' Story:
"Albanians Hold Victory March" by Ksenia Fokina
21 September 1999

Kosovo Liberation Army gets another two days to turn in all weapons.

The deadline for the Kosovo Liberation Army [KLA] to hand in all weapons expired at midnight on Sunday [September 19], but on Monday morning, KFOR Commander Michael Jackson extended the deadline for another 48 hours, 'NEZAVISIMAYA GAZETA' writes in its story.

Talks between KFOR and representatives of the KLA about its future have so far not produced results. U.N. Resolution No. 1244 envisages not only the disarming of the KLA, but also its transformation into a so-called "Kosovo Corps." However, the signing ceremony for the transformation was postponed to an indefinite date.

The head of the U.N. mission in Kosovo, Bernard Kouchner, has announced that KLA representatives had turned in 10,000 units of various types of weapons which allows the mission to speak about the completion of the disarmament process. "We are satisfied that the OAK handed in 10,000 firearms, even if we know that they still have another 100,000 guns," joked one of the members of the U.N. mission in Kosovo.

However, the author points out, Russian military circles have serious apprehensions that demilitarization of the KLA did not take place.

A demonstration of Kosovar Albanians in Pristina was dubbed "a victory march," and there are all grounds to regard it as such: if a compromise on the question of the armaments of the future "Kosovo Corps" is not found, then the question of its structure has already been resolved - it remains as it was, the author concludes.

(c) 1999 RUSSICA Information Reprinted For Fair Use Only

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