Mitrovica/Pristina, 20 February 2000 - 7:00 AM
At 7 a.m. this morning, KFOR launched a major cordon and search operation in Kosovo's northern city of Mitrovica. Hundreds of troops have fanned out across the city to conduct house to house searches for weapons and criminal elements.
Peacekeepers from many KFOR nations, including French, Belgian, Danish, Austrian, American, British, Canadian, Dutch, German, Norwegian and Turkish are taking part.
The citizens have been advised by radio, loudspeakers and leaflets that peacekeepers will come to their doors and will search the premises. Occupants are requested not to obstruct the operation in any way. It is in everyone's best interest to rid the city of illegal and dangerous weapons and to detain troublemakers.
The operation is being conducted in cooperation with UNMIK police who will take over criminal investigations. The nighttime curfew, street patrols and vehicle checkpoints, as well as helicopter patrols will remain in force.
The operation will continue until the Commander of KFOR, General Dr. Klaus Reinhardt, is satisfied that the threats to law and order have been crushed. Any individual or group that is set on perpetuating violence or spreading hatred in Mitrovica, or elsewhere in Kosovo, will be apprehended and tried under the law.
KFOR, the United Nations, and the majority of Kosovo citizens are determined that Mitrovica will be a united city and that Kosovo will be a place where people of different ethnic backgrounds live in peace and mutual respect.