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Updated: 03-Jan-2000 KFOR Press Updates

Pristina,
Kosovo

26 Dec. 1999

KFOR Press Update

by Lieutenant-Commander Philip Anido, KFOR Spokesman

Christmas Parade in Pristina

Tens of thousands of citizens attended Christmas Day activities on Mother Theresa Street despite sub-zero temperatures. Children and their parents enjoyed a peaceful day wandering up and down the avenue, buying balloons and gifts and listening to musicians playing festive music.

KFOR troops and UNMIK police were present on side streets and no incidents were reported. The peacefulness of the day, is a sign that normality is returning to daily life in Pristina.

Pristina-Skopje Highway reopened

The main highway between Pristina and Skopje opened again last night to traffic in both directions. KFOR crews have worked hard to clear away the snow and ice, and to sand and salt the road. The heavy trucks which had been abandoned by their drivers have now been removed.

KFOR advises drivers to use chains in the vicinity of the tunnels near the Blace border crossing. General Dr. Reinhardt, the Commander KFOR, will drive to the border area today to see the improved driving conditions for himself.

Railway Reopens Tomorrow

The passenger train along the Kosovo Polje to Zvecan route will reopen tomorrow under the control of UNMIK. The train will call at Kosovo Polje, Obilic, Priluzje, Vucitrn, Pantina, Mitrovica and Zvecan. More stations will be added to the schedule within the next few months.

KFOR Troops will provide robust security along the route to ensure that the train operates successfully. Their presence will be visible at the stations and platforms and on the trains. UNMIK Police will add to the security measures.

Russian Defence Minister Supports KFOR Achievements

The Russian Defence Minister, General Igor Sergeyev expressed his satisfaction with the achievements of KFOR in Kosovo during his meeting on 24 December with General Dr. Klaus Reinhardt, Commander KFOR. The commander emphasized KFOR's determination to protect the rights and freedom of all Kosovo people, regardless of their ethnicity.

General Sergeyev said that Russian troops would stay and work alongside the soldiers from NATO and those from all the other nations.

KFOR Determined to Restore Confidence in Orahovac

The two grenades that were thrown at the house of a Serbian family in Orahovac in Multinational Brigade South after dark on Christmas Eve have not caused any damage. Shortly after the incident a number of Serbian citizens gathered in protest.

The Commander of Multinational Brigade South, Brigadier General Kather, rushed to the scene to calm the crowd and informed them that the strongest KFOR security measures were in place to protect them. He stressed that KFOR cares very much for the safety of the Serb community.

Freedom of movement is a corner stone for the return to normal life in Kosovo and everyone who wants to leave Orahovac or any other place may do so and will be provided with KFOR protection. However KFOR encourages everyone to stay at home and to trust KFOR's ability and determination to protect them.

Events and incidents in Kosovo during the last 24 hours:

Weapons confiscated and arrests made

Late on Christmas Eve, three individuals were stopped at a KFOR checkpoint in Pristina. Two illegal handguns were confiscated and UNMIK Police made arrests.

On Christmas morning, in Mitrovica, two men were stopped by KFOR troops and one was found to be carrying a hand grenade. UNMIK Police are investigating. Later in the day, an AK-47 was confiscated from a Mitrovica man, who was arrested by UNMIK Police.

Early this morning in Pristina, a search at the home of an Albanian man resulted in the confiscation of one AK-47, a rifle, two hand grenades and ammunition. The man was arrested.

Tragic House Fire Kills Child

On Christmas day a tragic house fire resulted in the death on a young child. UNMIK Police are investigating but early reports say that the cause was accidental.

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