KLA wrangle over deal to surrender its arms

THE CEREMONY to mark the official end of the Kosovo Liberation Army and its transformation into a civilian force was delayed yesterday amid apparent splits within the rebel organisation and wrangling over the handover of weapons.

While suggesting that only minor details were responsible for the delay, K-For officials nevertheless failed to conceal the increasingly obvious difference in hopes held by the KLA and K-For over the future role of the Kosovo rebel army.

"There was no last minute glitch," insisted a K-For spokesman, Lt-Col Robin Clifford, at a press conference yesterday, where the signing ceremony was due to take place. He was referring to a question about whether the number of weapons to be handed over to K-For by the KLA was causing the delay.

Two stumbling blocks - the name of a new civilian national guard force to be created, and the number of weapons some KLA commanders wanted to remain in possession of - were reported by sources close to the KLA to be the sticking points that prevented the signing ceremony going ahead.

But these details mask the more fundamental disagreement between K-For and the KLA over the future of the force: while the KLA wants to be transformed into a new defence force for Kosovo that will eventually serve as the nucleus for an independent army, K-For insists that the KLA should cease to exist, and its former members be directed to civilian organisations, including the police and a new national guard with solely civilian duties.

Divisions within the top ranks of the KLA also appear to be unraveling the demilitarisation process. The top KLA commander, General Agim Ceku, cancelled an appearance with a K-For commander, Lt-Gen Sir Mike Jackson, yesterday morning to meet instead Ramush Harudinaj, a KLA zone commander in south-western Kosovo. Mr Harudinaj is one of two KLA regional commanders who was yesterday reported to be refusing to comply with giving up weapons to K-For. According to the demilitarisation agreement offered by the KLA and accepted on 19 June by Lt-Gen Jackson, the KLA was to turn over all weapons by yesterday. The KLA had handed in more than 10,000 weapons by the weekend, according to K-For.

Since it was deployed three months ago, however, K-For commanders have shown sensitivity to the KLA leaders' desire to play a role in post- war Kosovo. Despite the agreement also banning KLA soldiers from wearing their uniforms, K-For allowed them to appear in uniform and lightly armed for the last time on Saturday, as the force held a parade in Pristina.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Online Media Sales Trainee

£15000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Now our rapidly expanding and A...

Recruitment Genius: Public House Manager / Management Couples

£15000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you passionate about great ...

Recruitment Genius: Production Planner

£20000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast growing reinforcing s...

Recruitment Genius: General Factory Operatives

£18000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast growing reinforcing s...

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee