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UN Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK): 07 Feb 2000

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New strategies for security in Mitrovica being implemented: Head of the UN Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) Bernard Kouchner said today that new strategies for security in the city of Mitrovica, where ethnic violence erupted last week, are being implemented. In a press briefing in Pristina, he said one Danish battalion has been deployed in the northern part of the city and one French battalion in the southern part. Two German platoons and one Military Special Unit riot platoon have also been deployed in the divided city. The violence flared up in the northern Kosovo city after a UN bus carrying 49 passengers was hit by an anti-tank missile, killing two Serbs. A crowd subsequently went on a rampage breaking into Albanian homes, leaving eight Albanians dead.

KFOR, UNHCR and UNMIK police including the Kosovo Police service, are working together to restart the bus service "in a more secure environment" over the next few days, with the goal of restoring freedom of movement for all communities. UNMIK strategy is to offer more security and employment and to build confidence. Dr Kouchner, who cut short a trip to Japan, visited Mitrovica yesterday and met with local Serb leader, Mr. Oliver Ivanovic, and Albanian leader, Dr. Bajram Rexhepi. The situation in Mitrovica was reported quiet last night. An 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew is in effect. KFOR mechanized infantry and Military Police will maintain a very visible 24-hour presence on the streets of the city to ensure that peace and law and order are maintained, according to KFOR spokesman Lieutenant commander Philip Anido.

For further information, contact the Spokesman's Office: tel (212) 963-7161/2; fax (212) 963-7055.