Updated: 20-Nov-2001 Week of 14-20 July 1999

14 July 1999

KFOR engineers continue to work on vital infrastructure improvements. Work has started on new bridges to facilitate the movement of humanitarian supplies around the Region, and the water supply system continues to improve. More than half of Kosovo's water supplies are now of acceptable quality and quantity to support local communities.

KFOR engineers have also been working to restore power to a number of communities and, together with local workers, has carried out repairs to power stations and supply lines.

Large amounts of munitions have already been recovered, and work continues to locate and remove Unexploded Ordnance. A World Health Organisation (WHO) survey has found that around 150 Kosovars have been killed or maimed by mine or ordnance explosions. The rate of mine accidents is expected to remain high, as the population returns to work in the fields and begins to collect firewood for the winter. KFOR has now received records of mines laid in Kosovo during the conflict, and is collating these ready to hand over to the UN Mine Action Service.

KFOR is assisting the UN and the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) in the setting-up of a new civil police force in Kosovo. Work has started on a new police training academy, which is due to be open in the next few weeks. KFOR is also helping with the collection of applications to join the new police force. The first intake is due to start training on 16 August.

14 July 1999
Albanian border contaminated

The Albanian MOD has tasked its newly formed Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) Organisation to assess the extent of Unexploded Ordnance (UXO) and mine contamination in northern Albania. During the Kosovo crisis, Serb military and para-military forces had laid minefields, particularly in areas near the Albanian border to try and stop UCK smuggling of arms and personnel. Additional threats from UXO and abandoned munition stockpiles also exist.

Due to the remoteness of the area and poor communications, the full scale of the problem has only recently become apparent. However, as a consequence of the recent assessment performed by NATO-trained Albanian specialists, several objectives have been set out: a UN-organised survey of the area, marking of mine contaminated areas, raising international community awareness of the problem, Mine Awareness Training for the civil population, refugees and Non-Governmental and International Organisations; and in the near future, the training of local manpower to assist in the clearance operation. Additional manpower and equipment have been requested for this operation which should help reduce the risk of further casualties.

15 July 1999
Solana meets with Joschka Fischer

On 15 July, NATO Secretary General, Dr Javier Solana, went to Bonn to meet the German Minister of Foreign Affairs, Joschka Fischer (photo). They discussed the future development of the European Security and Defence Identity within the Alliance which aims to enable European-led operations with NATO assets and to rebalance roles and responsibilities between Europe and North America. During his visit, the Secretary General also praised Germany for its support during the Kosovo crisis.

15 July 1999
ATA conference in Madrid

A 2-day conference was held by the Spanish Atlantic Treaty Association (ATA) in Madrid, 15-16 July, on the theme of "NATO at 50: a Spanish Vision". High-level Spanish government officials, parliamentarians and representatives from different political parties, and high-level representatives from NATO, the Western European Union and the United Nations discussed the main issues on NATO's past and present agenda, Spain's relations with the Alliance and the Alliance's future. NATO Secretary General, Dr Javier Solana, gave the closing address on "NATO in the 21st Century".

19 July 1999
Security in the Balkans

On 19 July, a consultative forum on security matters in South eastern Europe took place at NATO HQ. NATO Allies and Kosovo's 7 neighbouring countries (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Romania, Slovenia and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia 1) met to discuss 2 main items: the situation in and around Kosovo and Bosnia and Herzegovina and security in South eastern Europe. This is the second meeting of its kind since NATO launched its South eastern Europe initiative at the Washington Summit last April.

1. Turkey recognises the Republic of Macedonia with its constitutional name