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Crisis 1999
News Archive 1999

Kosovar refugee flow is now two-way and bicultural.

News agencies report that as of June 23, less than two weeks after the signing of the peace accord, more than 200,000 ethnic Albanian refugees returned to Kosovo while some 70,000 Serbs fled the province. On June 22, for instance, 30,000 ethnic Albanians went home-- 13,000 from Macedonia and 12,000 from Albania. UN refugee agency spokesman Chris Janowski identified water and sanitation as the major problems of the return flow and characterized security in Kosova as "laden with anxiety," due largely to a desire for retribution. From Montenegro, Veseljko Koprivica of the Athens- based Alternative Information Network reports on June 17 that in 10 days 15,000 Serbs fled to Montenegro, including women and children, as well as members of the Serbian police, the Yugoslav army, and paramilitary units, but that "Belgrade media have not carried a word about the latest flight of Kosovo Serbs and their unfortunate destiny." The reporter learned that some of the refugees are determined to return home if conditions are right. "This is shameful and disgraceful because there is no justice and no state when this can be done to us," the reporter quotes a villager from Gorazdovac as saying. But on June 21, a "New York Times" correspondent accompanied 70 Serbs returning to the ruined city of Peja. NATO protected their convoy of civilian cars with nearly as many military vehicles and three battle helicopters hovering overhead.

Source: BalkanPeaceNetwork

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