The Guardian April 5, 2000


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.

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