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Friday, July 2, 1999 Published at 06:17 GMT 07:17 UK


World: Europe

Nato 'neglecting refugees'

The refugees return, but the funds to help them are still awaited

Nato countries are under fire for not providing enough money to help refugees returning to Kosovo - despite having been willing to spend billions of dollars on the bombing campaign against Yugoslavia.

Kosovo: Special Report
Soren Jessen-Petersen, the United Nations Assistant High Commissioner for Refugees, said only about one-third of the $400m needed for refugees had been donated.

He said the UN agency was operating on a hand-to-mouth basis as it dealt with more than 500,000 Kosovo refugees who had already returned to the province.

As the Kosovo Albanian refugees return home, the tide of Serbs leaving the province continues.

The Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic is meanwhile under increasing pressure after a leading opposition figure refused to join his government.

Demonstrations are reported to be planned in at least three Serbian towns calling for Mr Milosevic's resignation.

In Kosovo itself, war crimes investigators are examining the site of suspected mass graves uncovered by German troops.

Billions of dollars


UN Correspondent Mark Devenport: "Appeal to donor countries"
Mr Jessen-Petersen's criticism of Nato followed a meeting with a number of foreign ministers and ambassadors of countries operating in Kosovo.

He said the UN refugee agency was spending $10m a week in Kosovo, but that most of the money promised by donor nations had not yet materialised.

"The international community spent billions of dollars on a military campaign that was intended to pave the way for the return of refugees, and we got there," he said.

"It is a pity they are not prepared to spend what we have asked for, to see the refugees make it all the way into their villages and reintegrate themselves.

"I find it unacceptable that the international community is not in a position to give us the necessary funds."

(Click here to see a map showing refugee movements)

Mr Jessen-Petersen also confirmed that up to 70,000 Serbs fearing reprisals had so far fled from Kosovo.

"The bottom line is that there is no way to protect [the Serbs] and we will indeed have a new refugee exodus, which is very sad when what we wanted was a multi-ethnic society," he said.

Pressure on Belgrade

In Belgrade, a leading opposition figure has turned down an invitation by Mr Milosevic to join the federal government, adding to the pressure on the Yugoslav leader.


The UN's Soren Jessen-Peterson: "International community spent billions on military campaign"
Vuk Draskovic, a former deputy prime minister, has instead sided with the pro-Western Montenegrin President, Milo Djukanovic, who has proposed loosening the Yugoslav Federation linking Montenegro and Serbia.

Mr Draskovic said he would not join a federal government without the Montenegrin president.

On Montenegrin TV, Mr Djukanovic warned Belgrade that a refusal to redefine relations between Serbia and Montenegro would result in the break-up of the Yugoslav Federation.

The strongly nationalist leader of the Radical Party in Serbia, Vojislav Seselj, who is backing President Milosevic against the Montenegrin president, has agreed to join the Yugoslav Government.

He has also withdrawn his resignation from the government of Serbia.

Opposition groups are reported to be planning further protests in Novi Sad on Friday and in the towns of Uzice and Prokuplje next week.

A rally earlier this week in Cacak attracted thousands of protesters, and pensioners have marched in Belgrade calling for the resignation of Mr Milosevic and the payment of their pensions.

Mass graves


The BBC's Jon Leyne: "What was once a little rural village, has been all but destoyed"
Inside Kosovo, peacekeeping troops have discovered new mass graves, thought to contain up to 140 bodies, in south-west Kosovo.

International war crimes investigators are examining the mass graves found by German troops around the villages of Celine and Nogovac, near the town of Velika Krusa.

All the victims are said to be Kosovo Albanians, allegedly murdered by Serb forces during the bombing campaign.

At Velika Krusa itself, more than 100 civilians are believed to have been murdered by Serbs, in an incident which forms part of the war crimes indictment against President Milosevic.



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