Albright Visits as Trouble Brews in Kosovo

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Not so fast, Madeleine. Secretary of State Albright arrived in Pristina Thursday, declaring "I hope that today in Kosovo we may say that never again will people with guns come in the night, never again will houses and villages be burned, and never again will there be massacres and mass graves." But that seemed a little premature. Only a day earlier, the village of Gracko had buried 14 Serbs massacred in a wheat field, and a low-level campaign of terror against the region’s remaining Serbs and Gypsies appears to continue unabated.

It may not only be the Serbs and Gypsies who are being terrorized in NATO-controlled Kosovo: The New York Times reported Thursday that the Kosovo Liberation Army has stepped into the power vacuum and unilaterally claimed all political power for itself, despite the fact that the U.N. is mandated to run the province until elections are held. The Times, citing NATO sources, says that the KLA is continuing to stockpile weapons and reports that the organization is taxing the population as well as confiscating property, under threat of violence, from both Serbs and ethnic Albanians. Commenting on the KLA’s monopolization of power, widely respected Kosovar Albanian newspaper editor Baton Haxhiu told the Times, "Each day it is becoming more dangerous to think and speak independently." Part of the problem is that the United Nations has been able to deploy only 156 of the 3,000 policemen promised by member states. President Clinton joins leaders of NATO countries and Balkan leaders for a summit on reconstruction to be held in Sarajevo, Bosnia, on Friday. They’ll have a lot more to discuss than simply mending bridges and rebuilding roads.