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UNMIK/KFOR Joint Statement on Mitrovica

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UNMIK/PR/158
PRISTINA - It has been a day of confrontation and violence in Mitrovica, and a sad day in the history of Kosovo. The full story of what happened today, and the sequence in which it happened, is not yet clear. We will try to piece it together once order has been restored. What is clear, however, is that two young French soldiers, who came here as peacekeepers, are lying in hospital beds suffering from gunshot wounds inflicted on them by the very people that they came here to protect.

Dr. Kouchner, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General and General Reinhardt, Commander-KFOR, join together in condemning utterly these cowardly attacks and state unequivocally that they will not be tolerated. Those guilty will be brought to justice and will suffer the full force of the law.

And it is not only KFOR soldiers who have suffered as a result of today's events. At least one Kosovar has died, and many more are believed to be injured. Indeed, the only people who have benefited from this shameful day are those who have an interest in preventing the return of peace and order to Kosovo.

To the ordinary people of Kosovo, of whatever ethnicity, we say: do not let the extremists on both sides succeed in ruining this, your one great chance for peace and a prosperous future. Kosovo will once again be in the world's headlines tomorrow--once again for all the wrong reasons. We urge the Kosovo leadership to work with us to return calm to Mitrovica by not further inflaming this already dangerous situation. The sooner we can bring calm, the sooner we can get back to solving the real problems of Mitrovica, and the whole of Kosovo, with diplomacy--not bullets.

For information only-not an official record

Contact UNMIK Press and Information Office-(381-38) 500-223, extension 5719.