Updated: 15 December 1999 KFOR Press Updates


15 Dec. 1999

KFOR Press Update

by Major Roland Lavoie, KFOR Spokesman

The Most Important Step for the People of Kosovo

Today, the Special Representative of the UN Secretary General, Dr. Bernard Kouchner, the Commander KFOR, General Dr. Klaus Reinhardt and the presidents of the three major political parties in Kosovo announced the establishment of a Joint Interim Administrative Structure for the people of Kosovo. The agreement marks the beginning of a process in which all parties will participate in the provisional administrative management of the province until the first free and democratic elections take place.

"This agreement is the most important step in the UNMIK-KFOR mission so far," said General Dr. Reinhardt. "Our common goal to establish a secure and democratic Kosovo will greatly benefit from the active involvement and co-operation of Kosovo leaders in the decision-making process."

German President Visits Kosovo

The President of the Federal Republic of Germany, Mr. Johannes Rau, visited Kosovo yesterday. He was accompanied by the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs and the Chief of the German Armed Forces. President Rau met with Dr. Kouchner and Commander KFOR. During a meeting with Gen. Dr. Reinhardt, he was briefed on the security situation in Kosovo and on KFOR's main achievements and challenges.

Among other issues, Commander KFOR addressed the issue of funding for Kosovo, including for the Kosovo Protection Corps, and stressed that the international community must continue to invest in the rebuilding of the province. President Rau also visited German troops in Prizren, where he met with soldiers and was given first-hand information on the situation in the field.

In other news, at 15:00 hrs today, Brigadier-General Roland Kather takes over command of Multinational Brigade South. He succeeds Brigadier-General Sauer, who is returning to Germany. Brigadier-General Kather is currently commanding the 42nd Armoured Brigade in Postdam, near Berlin.

Events and incidents in Kosovo during the last 24 hours:

The security situation was stable in all brigades during the past 24 hours. Only a few incidents were reported and KFOR troops have been very busy in security operations, including patrols, checkpoints and searches.

In Vitina last night, an explosion damaged a building but caused no injuries. KFOR dispatched troops including an explosive ordnance disposal team to secure the area and initiate an investigation.

A KFOR Multinational Specialized Unit conducted another search yesterday, this time in a bar in Mitrovica. They confiscated one AK-47 and two magazines, and found no other evidence of illegal activity.

A drive-by-shooting was reported at 01:50 hrs last night near a bar in Slatina, in Multinational Brigade Centre. Fortunately nobody was injured. KFOR and UNMIK Police are conducting a joint investigation into this incident.

One Kosovo Albanian man was detained for conducting illegal police activity in Urosevac last night, in Multinational Brigade East. He was seen wearing a military uniform and a search revealed that he was carrying documents related to police activity. He is currently detained at Camp Bondsteel for questioning.

KFOR dispatched an explosive ordnance disposal team to the Orthodox Cemetery in Mitrovica yesterday, following a report that an individual had left a suspicious package at the site. They found a M80 rocket launcher, which was immediately removed. An investigation has been launched in an attempt to find the origin of the device.

A house search was conducted yesterday in Cernica in Multinational Brigade East, which resulted in the confiscation of two rifles, one hand grenade, rounds of ammunition and one protective mask.

KFOR Russian contingent approaches the milestone of 10,000 vehicle searches Over the last three months, KFOR Russian troops stationed in Multinational Brigade North have searched 9,824 vehicles. Contrary to what might be expected, the huge majority of these searches revealed no possession of illegal weapons. This indicates that tough controls are a good incentive for the respect of law and order.

The Civil and military co-operation program continues to be very active throughout the province:

In the Multinational Brigade areas, humanitarian assistance is characterized by equitable support to all ethnic groups. KFOR is assisting in the delivery of winter clothes, pure water, building materials, food and blankets. Military engineers are testing the water quality of wells, repairing power lines and reconstructing railroads. Military field hospitals are actively attending to significant numbers of citizens.

Power grid is being restored:
The KFOR French Engineering Battalion, Electrokosovo and Electricite de France have now completed the restoration of the power lines between Valac and the power station Mitrovica 1, in Multinational Brigade North. This project has been financed by the French government and a humanitarian fund of Electricity de France. KFOR French troops built the two pylons necessary to restore the network in co-operation with two teams of Electrokosovo involving Serb and Albanian workers.

Today, Pristina will receive a clean sweep. With the assistance of KFOR, 170 new street sweeper vehicles and rubbish collection trucks will be put into service throughout the city. The non-governmental organisation, GTZ, has donated 800,000DM to fund the project.

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