The United Nations mission in Kosovo has begun excavating a cave believed to hold remains of people killed during the conflict in the Serbian province in the late 1990s.

U.N. officials say preliminary findings indicate the area was used to secretly dispose of human remains, and could be related to the disappearance of non-Albanian residents of Kosovo in 1998.

The cave is in the Klina area, about 55 kilometers west of the province's capital, Pristina.

Some 3,000 people are still missing from the Kosovo conflict. At least 2,400 of them are ethnic Albanians, who make up a majority of Kosovo residents. The rest are members of other ethnic groups.

Serbian and Kosovo officials met earlier this year to discuss the missing persons issue after a one-year delay.

Some information for this report provided by AFP and Reuters.