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Source: http://www.un.org/peace/kosovo/news/kosovo2.htm#Anchor28
Accessed 05 May 2000

Kosovo Albanian and minority leaders agree plan for possible return of displaced communities 

MAY 3 -- Kosovo Albanian and minority leaders have agreed to a plan of action, brokered by the UN mission, which could lead to the return of displaced Roma, Ashkalija and Egyptian minorities.

The plan, agreed by the three Kosovo Albanian members of the Interim Administrative Council and by six representatives of the minorities, calls for a series of "confidence building" meetings between the communities both inside Kosovo and in neighbouring countries, the Deputy Special Representative for Humanitarian Affairs, Dennis McNamara, said today.

Describing the initiative as "very important", he said it was the first of its kind in Kosovo and for the region, where there are about 30,000 displaced Romas, Ashkalijas and Egyptians. "We think it's a concrete move forward which we hope might lead to a breakthrough in the return of the members of these communities to Kosovo in the coming months, " he added. "We believe this is a realistic, concrete and practical plan of action."

The plan envisages visits over the next two weeks by Albanian leaders to the Roma, Ashkalija and Egyptian communities around Kosovo, "to have a direct dialogue with their leadership," Mr. McNamara said. Following that, some of those leaders will be taken to the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Montenegro and probably to Serbia to talk to their exile communities there, Mr. McNamara explained.

He said the idea was to have the community leaders visits both ways to build up confidence -- with the support of the Albanian leadership. "We will bring some of the Roma leaders from their displaced communities to have a look at Kosovo as well," he said.

Recognition by the Roma leaders that some members of their community had committed crimes against humanity during the recent conflict, and by the Albanian leadership that the community should not be held collectively responsible for these crimes, had been "fundamental" in getting agreement to the plan, Mr. McNamara said.

Document compiled by Dr S D Stein
Last update 05/05/2000
Stuart.Stein@uwe.ac.uk
ęS D Stein

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