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World - Europe

NATO to drop food into Kosovo

truck of refugees
NATO officials hope they can convince refugees to wait before venturing back to their homes, so that any land mines or unexploded munitions can be removed

CNN's Mike Boettcher looks at what is needed to make the refugees' return happen (June 9)
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Displaced Kosovars are ready to return home, but is Kosovo ready for them? CNN's David Ensor looks at the difficulties ahead. (June 9)
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June 9, 1999
Web posted at: 10:40 p.m. EDT (0240 GMT)

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Yugoslavia's signed agreement with NATO on Wednesday paves the way for the return of more than 860,000 Kosovo refugees to the war-torn province.

But one of NATO's first priorities -- once the Serb troop withdrawal is verified -- will be to organize air drops of food to hundreds of thousands of displaced ethnic Albanians inside Kosovo.

"The immediate concern and focus has to be on saving the lives of those people who are displaced. It will be a cruel irony for people to die of starvation once a peace agreement is signed," said Mark Bartolini of the International Rescue Committee.

U.S. Secretary of Defense William Cohen said Wednesday that there was no immediate timetable on the refugees' return.

Before any refugees return to the province, NATO peacekeepers must remove unexploded ordnance, as well as Serb land mines and booby traps.

The agreement signed Wednesday gives the Yugoslav government 48 hours to hand over all records indicating the placement of explosive devices.

But NATO is likely to face a tough task in convincing refugees not to head home for a couple of weeks.

"As much as we hate it, I'm afraid we're going to see some accidents with civilians stepping on a mine," said Panos Moumtzis of the office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees.

NATO: Serb looting continues

In major towns like Pristina, key issues will be getting the water supply and electricity back up and running and helping ethnic Albanians repair and rebuild their homes in time for winter.

damaged building
There are reports of looting in Pristina, including the destruction of windows and doors  

NATO says the Serbs continue to make the situation in Kosovo more difficult.

"We have more reasoned and credible reports that looting in Pristina and the area is still ongoing," including the destruction of windows and doors in homes, said NATO military spokesman Gen. Walter Jertz.

To help repair the damage, NATO has included $10 million worth of door and window frames in its humanitarian stockpile.

As word of the peace agreement reached Pristina on Wednesday, CNN's Jim Clancy reported that Serb troops reacted to the announcement by firing wildly into the air.

"We have a situation here where the news just rippled across the city and now anti-aircraft artillery, AK-47s, heavy machine guns and just about everything else is opening up here," Clancy said.

"It is a somewhat dangerous situation."

Correspondents David Ensor and Jim Clancy contributed to this report.

Yugoslavia agrees to withdraw Serb forces from Kosovo
June 9, 1999
Pentagon: Greece OKs landing of future peacekeeping U.S. Marines
June 7, 1999
Talks between NATO, Yugoslavia fall apart
June 6, 1999
Yugoslavs balk at signing Kosovo withdrawal agreement
June 6, 1999
NATO, Yugoslav generals take a break; no resolution in sight
June 6, 1999

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

  • Kosova Crisis Center
  • 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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