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Repatriation to Kosovo from abroad

Briefing notes

Repatriation to Kosovo from abroad

13 July 1999

Governments hosting some 92,000 Kosovo Albanians evacuated from the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia under the Humanitarian Evacuation Programme have endorsed UNHCR and IOM's co-ordination role in returning the refugees on a voluntary basis. The organised return could start as early as this coming Thursday, July 15.

During a three-hour meeting in Geneva on Monday (July 12) convened by UNHCR and IOM, representatives of 29 governments and the FYR of Macedonia agreed that the return of the evacuees must take place in an orderly and co-ordinated manner.

It was agreed that the host governments will signal an intended return movement to UNHCR with the IOM. UNHCR and IOM will then secure a landing slot and onward transport as well as inform the refugees about conditions in Kosovo.

The Deputy Foreign Minister of the FYR of Macedonia asked that no more than 1,000 returnees per day transit through his country.

UNHCR expressed the hope that Pristina airport may become operational for return flights "in a couple of weeks.