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Serbia and Montenegro Foreign Minister Urges Protection for Serbs in Kosovo - 2004-05-10


Serbia and Montenegro's foreign minister is urging greater protection for Serbian minorities in Kosovo. The minister spoke at a VOA news conference in Washington after meeting with officials from the Bush administration.

Foreign Minister Vuk Draskovic said the international community, which once acted to protect ethnic Albanians, must show the same concern for Serbs in the U.N.-administered province of Kosovo.

"The obligation of the international community, first of all, to eliminate very urgently and efficiently the consequences of ethnic cleansing of Albanians committed against Serbs since June 10, 1999 - in the same way the international community eliminated the consequences of the cleansing the Milosevic regime committed against Albanians before the 10th of June, 1999," he said.

Mr. Draskovic also called for autonomy for Serbian enclaves within Kosovo, as well as for the recovery of houses and churches that were burned as anti-Serb rioting swept the province in March, claiming 19 lives. It was the worst ethnic violence since the United Nations began administering Kosovo nearly five years ago.

United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan has said the ethnic violence in Kosovo was a major setback for reconciliation in the area. The United Nations says Kosovo's leaders must guarantee the rule of law, assure freedom of movement, and protect minorities if the international community is to consider the area's final status.

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