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World - Europe

KLA leader fails to show for Kosovo advisers meeting


August 21, 1999
Web posted at: 12:56 p.m. EDT (1656 GMT)

PRISTINA, Kosovo -- A hoped-for meeting between all the major political figures in postwar Kosovo failed to materialize Saturday when a top Kosovo Liberation Army leader did not attend.

The second meeting of the Kosovo Transitional Council went on without the ethnic Albanian separatists' political chief, Hashim Thaci.

The first meeting of the council, held early last month, was also missing a key player. Thaci's rival, Ibrahim Rugova, refused to attend the first meeting, saying he wanted his Democratic League of Kosovo to have more representation. But Rugova had promised to attend Saturday's meeting.

Thaci had been out of the country for several days leading up to the meeting in Pristina. but the United Nations, which organized the council, gave no indication Thaci was not expected to attend.

With Thaci absent this month, following Rugova's absence last month, the U.N. administration faced a stiff challenge to persuade rival Albanians to work together -- as well as with Kosovo's minorities.

The Kosovo Transitional Council was formed to advise the international officials running the Yugoslav province until elections can be held. U.N. officials hoped that the 13-member council, made up of majority ethnic Albanians, Serbs and other minorities, could help ease tensions between Kosovo's ethnic populations.

Albanians in Kosovo endured years of oppression under Yugoslav rule. But after NATO's 11-week air war drove the Yugoslavs out of the province, Albanians began exacting retribution against Kosovo's Serbs.

Saturday's meeting was originally rescheduled for July 26, but was postponed when 14 Serb farmers were slaughtered in a wheat field near Gracko. That massacre was the worst single incident since the Yugoslav conflict ended earlier in the month.

NATO peacekeepers said the most recent attack came in the town of Crkvena Vodica, where gunmen carried out a drive-by shooting and grenade attack on a Serb cafe and threw a grenade into a children's playground.

Four people were wounded at the cafe, none at the playground. Serbs blame the KLA for the attacks.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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

  • Kosova Crisis Center
  • Kosova Liberation Peace Movement
  • 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.:
  • 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

  • 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

  • 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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