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Yugoslavia Rejects U.N. Mission Plan on Separate Census in Kosovo

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BELGRADE (Feb. 1) XINHUA - The Joint Interim Administrative Council, established by Yugoslavia to govern Kosovo together with the U.N. special mission, issued a statement Tuesday slamming the U.N. mission's plan for a separate census in the ethnically troubled province.

Earlier, U.N. administrator Bernard Kouchner proclaimed that the mission will conduct a census in Kosovo next month, one year ahead of the date of a nationwide census announced by the National Statistics Bureau of Yugoslavia.

In the statement, the council said the U.N. mission's plan violates the U.N. Resolution 1244, which requires the safe and free return of all refugees and displaced persons of Kosovo to their homes, and constitutes an infringement upon Yugoslavia's sovereignty.

The statement charged that by announcing a separate census in Kosovo, Kouchner attempts to show that Belgrade, capital of Yugoslavia, has nothing to do with Pristina, capital of the Kosovo province, in order to pave way for its breakaway from the country.

The statement also noted that by the time of the national census next year, about 350,000 non-Albanian Kosovo refugees would have likely returned home and 200,000 illegal immigrants from neighboring Albania and Macedonia would have been forced out, a situation which surely would not favor the separatists.

Copyright (c) 2000 Comtex Scientific Corporation
Received by NewsEdge Insight: 02/01/2000 22:23:09