Some Kosovo refugees return while others continue to flee
June 12, 1999
SKOPJE, Macedonia (CNN) -- More than 200 ethnic Albanians left refugee camps in Macedonia on Saturday and traveled on their own back to Kosovo, according to a spokesman for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.
Ron Redmond, an UNHCR spokesman in Macedonia, said the convoy took a route through southern Serbia into southeastern Kosovo.
Meanwhile, some 400 other ethnic Albanians arrived in Macedonia from Kosovo, many of whom had been trapped in the mountains near the border and did not know that the war had ended.
The UNHCR also said that the first large group of Serb refugees arrived in Montenegro, despite reassurances from the international community that they would be safe inside Kosovo.
Redmond plans to leave for Kosovo on Sunday with a multi- agency mission, to provide relief for the hundreds of thousands of people displaced from their homes within the province.
According to the UNHCR, as many as 500,000 to 600,000 people are believed to be in desperate condition inside Kosovo. The mission would also pave the way for the safe return of refugees.
In other U.N. developments, Secretary-General Kofi Annan announced Saturday that he appointed Sergio Vieira de Mello, a Brazilian diplomat, to lead an international civilian mission in Kosovo.
Vieira de Mello is currently under secretary-general for humanitarian affairs and relief coordinator for the United Nations.
Annan said the appointment is on an "interim basis until I reach a decision on whom to nominate to undertake this function on a continuing basis."
No timetable has been set for the Vieira de Mello mission -- which is separate from the Redmond one -- to enter Kosovo.
NATO peacekeeping commander arrives in Pristina
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