Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Kosovo Albanians did not beat up Serb couple - UNMIK chief UPDATED

UNMIK [UN Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo] chief Soeren Jessen-Petersen said today, in talks with displaced Serbs from Kosovo-Metohija, that it was not true that [ethnic] Albanians beat up the Vucic [elderly] married couple from the village of Crkolez near Istok.

While visiting Serbs housed in the collective centre near Bujanovac, Petersen said that this crime was not ethnically motivated and that it was "nearer home", although he did not want to explain what this meant.

He pointed out that whenever he met the displaced population from Kosovo accommodated in collective centres it was a shame.

"The fact that you have not been in your homes for six years is also a disgrace for Europe," Petersen said, adding that security in Kosovo was satisfactory and the only problem for Serbs was to do with property.

According to him, Albanians are aware that they have done some bad things to Serbs, as well as bad things being done to them, but now an environment for communal life has been created in Kosovo.

He called on Serbs, once they decide to return, to come back with "open hearts".

There are more than 100 Serbs housed in the Prolece Motel near Bujanovac and in talks with the UNMIK chief they pointed out the problems to do with property and security.

Source: FoNet news agency, Belgrade, in Serbian 0912 gmt 30 Mar 05

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