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Kosovo: Serb expulsions policy reversal

Briefing notes

Kosovo: Serb expulsions policy reversal

20 April 1999

The stream of tens of thousands of refugees who fled Kosovo at the weekend has since dwindled to a trickle amid fears that refugees are being forcibly prevented from reaching Kosovo's borders and that some might have been turned back. UNHCR does not now what caused the reversal of the Serbian policy of expulsions but it is highly unlikely that tens of thousands of terrified Kosovo Albanians suddenly changed their mind and decided to head home.

In the former Yugoslav republic of Macedonia, the authorities authorised the construction of a new refugee camp in Cegrane near Tetovo with an ultimate capacity to host 15,000 people. They also approved the establishment of a tented transit centre at Blace. The decision coincided with the arrival in Macedonia Monday of Deputy High Commissioner Gerald Walzer who was in meetings with government officials all day Tuesday.

More than 2,000 people who arrived Monday at the Lojane crossing on Serbian-Macedonian border have spent the night in no man's land in the open since the government refused to allow them in. UNHCR is negotiating with the Macedonian authorities to allow them in.