Agence France Presse

NATO head 'disappointed' with Kosovo leadership in face of March violence

NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer said Thursday he was "disappointed" with the reaction of Kosovo's ethnic Albanian leaders to last month's violence that left 19 dead. "I am disappointed, because it is simply not good enough to condemn the violence after it has happened," Scheffer told journalists at NATO's mission headquarters in Kosovo's capital Pristina.

PRISTINA, Serbia-Montenegro (AFP) Apr 22, 2004

(photo: Jaap de Hoop Scheffer speaking at the press conference in  Pristina today  )

NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer said Thursday he was "disappointed" with the reaction of Kosovo's ethnic Albanian leaders to last month's violence that left 19 dead.

"I am disappointed, because it is simply not good enough to condemn the violence after it has happened," Scheffer told journalists at NATO's mission headquarters in Kosovo's capital Pristina.

"It is not good enough to show a wait-and-see approach ... We simply cannot accept that," said Scheffer, who will hold talks with local and international officials in Kosovo.

"Being a political leader means you have to lead, you have to take decisions, you have to take responsibilities and I don't see that unfortunately. And I think the only way for Kosovo to go forward, to progress politically, economically is taking that responsibility,"
Scheffer said.

Last month's violence was condemned by the province's ethnic Albanian leaders, but they were then criticised by international officials for failing to identify the province's Serb minority as victims in the rampage by ethnic Albanians.

During two days of rioting, mobs of Albanians targeted Serbs and 19 people, including eight Kosovo Serbs, were left dead and more than 900 injured in clashes.

Some 800 houses and 29 Serb Orthodox churches and monasteries were torched during the unrest, according to the UN mission here, known as UNMIK. The violence subsided after NATO rushed some 2,000 extra troops to the province.

The NATO mission in Kosovo, known as KFOR has some 17,000 troops who are responsible for securing the UN-administered province.

The province's government has set aside some five million euros for the reconstruction of the destroyed houses, churches and monasteries.


Scheffer disappointed by situation in Kosovo

"My message to Kosovo is the same as last month - the political leadership of the Albanians must accept responsibility. The burned houses must be repaired and the Serbs must return. That's what I should have seen today but I did not," Scheffer told reporters after meeting with Kosovo authorities.

Beta News Agency, Belgrade
April 22, 2004

PRISTINA - NATO secretary-general Jaap de Hoop Scheffer said today in Pristina that he is disappointed that confidence between communities has not been established and the restoration of objects torched during the March violence has not even begun.

"My message to Kosovo is the same as last month - the political leadership of the Albanians must accept responsibility. The burned houses must be repaired and the Serbs must return. That's what I should have seen today but I did not," Scheffer told reporters after meeting with Kosovo authorities.

Scheffer visited Kosovo in the company of NATO general James Johns and Admiral Gregory Johnson, as well as 26 ambassadors of the member countries of the Alliance.

He said that "it is not enough to step in front of the camera, visit the burned ruins of an object and condemn violence" and that the behavior of the majority of Kosovo political leaders is not acceptable because it is necessary to establish responsible for this terrible violence.

"I am disappointed with the Kosovo president and premier because they have failed to do what they could have done. It is an illusion that the international community will abandon the policy of 'standards before status' and that violence will contribute to a faster resolution of status," said Scheffer.

He also emphasized that Serb political representatives must participate in the work of Kosovo institutions because it is not enough to say "we will wait and see what is going to happen".

Scheffer finally also said that KFOR will remain in Kosovo in sufficient number to protect people.

Scheffer concluded his visit to Kosovo and will be visiting Ljubljana tomorrow where he is scheduled to meet with Slovene officials.


NATO chief says "totally disappointed" with Kosovo leaders

Scheffer said ethnic Albanian leaders should understand that the international community will not give up on its policy of "standards before status" - the catchphrase in Brussels and Washington for meeting benchmarks of democracy and human rights before resolving the final status of the province. He also urged representatives of Kosovo's Serb community to take part in the process, warning there could be "no waiting".

B92, April 22, 2004

PRISTINA -- Thursday - NATO's secretary-general has expressed his "total disappointment" with the response of Kosovo Albanian leaders one month after the UN-governed erupted in a wave of violence against its Serb minority.

Emerging from talks in Pristina, Jaap de Hoop Scheffer said he had not seen any improvement in the situation since his visit immediately after the March riots, B92's correspondent reports.

"I have to say I'm totally disappointed," he told a news conference. The NATO chief said it was not enough just to condemn the violence after the event. "We can't wait any longer for the leaders to understand that," he added.

Scheffer, who was accompanied by the ambassadors of the alliance's 26-member North Atlantic Council, said he had not seen any readiness on the part of Kosovo's politicians to take responsibility.

"Unfortunately, I didn't see that responsibility among politicians. I didn't see that readiness and ambition to take full responsibility, and taking responsibility is the only way Kosovo will move forward.

Politicians must do something concrete," he said.

Scheffer said ethnic Albanian leaders should understand that the international community will not give up on its policy of "standards before status" - the catchphrase in Brussels and Washington for meeting benchmarks of democracy and human rights before resolving the final status of the province. He also urged representatives of Kosovo's Serb community to take part in the process, warning there could be "no waiting".

Scheffer denied media reports that the alliance had appointed its own special representative to Kosovo, but said the possibility was being considered.


Scheffer: March violence will not be repeated in in Kosovo

"The leaders of Kosovo have the political responsibility to help internal dialogue for talks between Pristina and Belgrade and to respect minorities, said Scheffer, who arrived in Pristina in the company of NATO general James Johns and Admiral Gregory Johnson, as well as 26 ambassadors of the member countries of the Alliance.

Beta News Agency, Belgrade
April 22, 2004

PRISTINA - NATO secretary-general Jaap de Hoop Scheffer said today upon landing at Pristina airport that the violence that the March violence in Kosovo will not be repeated.

"The leaders of Kosovo have the political responsibility to help internal dialogue for talks between Pristina and Belgrade and to respect minorities, said Scheffer, who arrived in Pristina in the company of NATO general James Johns and Admiral Gregory Johnson, as well as 26 ambassadors of the member countries of the Alliance.

In an interview for the Pristina Albanian language daily "Koha Ditore"

Scheffer said that "there will be no reward but punishment for extremist forces in Kosovo".

The commander in chief of NATO forces in Europe, U.S. general James Johns, told KosovaLive news agency that in Kosovo today there are many potential threats but that KFOR here is here to prevent their realization.

"There are many potential threats in Kosovo but I won't name them individually. We are here to executre our task and carry out a very important assignment. We will do everything we can to prevent this danger," said Johns.

The NATO delegation led by secretary-general Jaap de Hoop Scheffer will meet during the day with the highest officials of UNMIK, representatives of provisional institutions in Kosovo and party heads.

Prior to arriving in Pristina, Scheffer and 26 ambassadros of the member countries of the NATO Permanent Council visited the hospital and St.

Sava Elementary School in Kosovo Polje, which were torched by Albanian extremists during the violence on March 17-18.

Swedish general Anders Brandstrom spoke to NATO officials in great detail about last month's violence in the central part of Kosovo.

He said that on March 17-18 "a mob of 13 thousand Albanians attacked"

the village of Caglavica and other settlements near Pristina, setting fire to everything Serb.

"Great hate was demonstrated and with the forces KFOR had in central Kosovo, it could not be prevented," said the Swedish general, adding that more troops were needed in that part of Kosovo.


Alarmed at Kosovo riots, NATO reviews mission

NATO wants to see a Kosovo which protected minorities and upheld the rule of law, de Hoop Scheffer said during a visit to a Serb school in Kosovo Polje burnt out during the mid-March unrest. The West has warned Kosovo Albanians who seek independence that violence is no shortcut to a final status for the U.N. protectorate, which is legally part of Serbia.

PRISTINA, Serbia and Montenegro, April 22 (Reuters)

Alarmed by an outbreak of riots, NATO members gathered in Kosovo on Thursday to review their five-year-old peace mission in the U.N.-administered province.

NATO is considering appointing its own political representative in Kosovo following last month's ethnic violence, as the European Union has done.

Some 2,600 NATO reserves rushed to Kosovo to reinforce NATO's 18,000-strong force as Albanian violence against Kosovo's Serb minority spread out of control, resulting in 19 deaths and hundreds of injured.

A NATO headquarters official said NATO was ``very focused on the political process in Kosovo and one of the issues that has been raised, at least unofficially, is whether or not it would be appropriate...to provide a senior representative.''

NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer and ambassadors of the alliance's 26-member North Atlantic Council were due to meet commanders of the NATO-lef KFOR peacekeeping force and talk to local leaders. A news conference was scheduled for 1400 GMT.

Serbia has urged sacking U.N. Kosovo governor Harri Holkeri. Veteran U.S. Balkans troubleshooter Richard Holbrooke said the 67-year-old former prime minister of Finland ``did not understand the situation.''

The unrest refocused attention on a region which had been pushed to the back burner since the United Nations and NATO took it over from Serbia in 1999 after a bombing campaign to stop Serbian oppression of the Albanian majority.

European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana appointed a Balkans diplomacy veteran, Fernando Gentilini, as his personal representative in Pristina three weeks ago.

NATO wants to see a Kosovo which protected minorities and upheld the rule of law, de Hoop Scheffer said during a visit to a Serb school in Kosovo Polje burnt out during the mid-March unrest.

The West has warned Kosovo Albanians who seek independence that violence is no shortcut to a final status for the U.N. protectorate, which is legally part of Serbia.