Looming European Union crisis over Kosovo
by Vic Williams The European Union (EU) is facing a crisis in Kosovo. Metrovica, an industrial city in Kosovo, is de facto partitioned with Albanians to the south and Serbs to the north. Armed Albanian militia are crossing into Serbia to cause trouble among the 60,000 to 70,000 Albanians in the Presevo Valley. The Observer newspaper in London quotes from a confidential report to UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan that Kosovo Protection Corps (KPC) members have been arrested for the murder of an ethnic Gorini. KPC is running protection rackets on shopkeepers, business men and contractors in at least five cities. A high ranking KPC official is supervising a forced prostitution racket close to a KPC training camp. The Corps is led by General Agim Ceku, formerly a senior commander of the KLA. UNICEF estimates that poverty has doubled in Yugoslavia and Kosovo, with two thirds of the people below the poverty line. The leading Belgrade newspaper Politika exposed the trade in drugs and prostitution into Fort Bondskill in Kosovo, the largest US base built since Vietnam. US army morale is so low that a whole platoon of marines refused to board a plane to the fort. The tip of the drug iceberg emerged when seven British paratroopers were sacked as confirmed junkies on heroin, LSD and cocaine. According to a report in the West Australian NATO peacekeepers are facing major security challenges from both sides. NATO Secretary-General Robertson accused European governments of failing to keep their promises of providing 40,000 troops for the peacekeeping force. NATO and the EU are scrambling for a solution. They are against giving Kosovo its independence or returning it to Yugoslavia. In relation to Yugoslavia, the EU has lifted the ban on air links, but tightened financial and oil sanctions, freezing financial assets overseas and imposing bans on pro-Milosovic officials. Resorting to gunboat diplomacy, NATO now has a large fleet of naval vessels with at least ten NATO submarines in the Barents Sea north of Scandinavia and Russia.