NATO to Send Reinforcements to Kosovo
22 Killed in Ethnic Fighting
By Fred Barbash
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, March 18, 2004; 7:30 AM
NATO announced this morning that it is sending reinforcements to Kosovo,
following intensified ethnic fighting there that has killed at least 22 people
over the past two days.
It was the worst violence in Kosovo since NATO and the United Nations took
control over the mainly ethnic-Albanian Serbian province in 1999. World
NATO members, in a statement this morning, called "upon leaders in the
region to take concrete action to restore peace and security.
The statement said the reinforcements--up to 700 additional troops--will
demonstrate "the Alliance's will and capability to carry out its mission to
provide security for all Kosovars, regardless of their ethnic identity."
About 17,500 NATO troops are already in the province. Some 150 additional U.S.
troops were reported already en route along with 80 Italians, according to wire
service reports. A spokesman for the British Ministry of Defense said it was
considering sending 500 troops.
Kosovo is still recognized internationally as part of Serbia and Montenegro, the
former rump Yugoslavia, but it is administered by NATO and the U.N.
Troops of the alliance have been struggling for days to prevent further
conflicts between the province's Albanian majority and Serbs, who depend on
protection from NATO. WorldPeace.
The Reuters news agency reported this morning that a Serbian Orthodox church and
several Serb houses were seen in flames in the ethnically mixed town of Olibic.
NATO troops reportedly were blocking the town center with armored vehicles.
The official Serbian news agency Tanjug reported that Albanians in southern
Mitrovica were again clashing with U.N. police and NATO peacekeepers.
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