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Security Council mission set to visit Kosovo from 15 to 19 June

Security Council mission set to visit Kosovo from 15 to 19 June

The planned visit of a Security Council delegation to Kosovo will take place from 15 to 19 June to observe the "difficult challenges" faced by the United Nations in the troubled province, according to a document released today at United Nations Headquarters in New York.

The dates for the Council visit and its terms of reference were contained in a letter to Secretary-General Kofi Annan from the Council President, Ambassador James J. Cunningham of the United States.

Noting that during its visit the delegation would look at the impact of the regional situation on the work of the UN Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK), Ambassador Cunningham wrote that Council members will also convey "a strong message" to Kosovo leaders on the need to reject violence, condemn extremist and terrorist activities, promote ethnic reconciliation and support implementation of resolution 1244.

Ambassador Anwarul Karim Chowdhury, Permanent Representative of Bangladesh to the UN, will lead the Council delegation.

Meanwhile, over 3,000 displaced people have entered Kosovo from southern Serbia's Presevo Valley following renewed fighting between Serbian forces and ethnic Albanian insurgents, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) reported today. UNHCR spokesperson Astrid Van Genderen Stort said the agency had increased its presence in certain critical areas with tents and reception centres, continuously monitoring and assisting the new arrivals.

In another development, 90 ethnic Albanians had given themselves up by last night to the KFOR international security force following an amnesty offer, a spokesman said today. All had entered Kosovo at the same checkpoint one day after KFOR offered amnesty to ethnic Albanian rebels if they laid down their arms and surrender in Kosovo.