German Foreign Minister Klaus Kinkel called Saturday for international action to prevent a Serb crackdown on ethnic Albanian separatists from escalating and setting off a new wave of refugees to Germany.
In an interview with the national Welt am Sonntag newspaper, Kinkel said “the fuse on the powder keg” was burning in Kosovo, a province in southern Serbia where 90 percent of the people are ethnic Albanian.
Kinkel said steps must be taken now to prevent a “new Bosnia” from developing that could lead to “a new stream of refugees.”
Germany took in more refugees from the 3-1/2-year Bosnian war than any other country and last year began trying to send them home. It already has accepted 140,000 ethnic Albanian refugees from Kosovo and another 120,000 to 150,000 live in Germany with residence permits.
Haris Silajdzic, the Muslim copremier of Bosnia’s joint government, called on world powers to take military action against Serbian forces to prevent further bloodshed.
“This killing of civilians cannot be stopped any other way,” Silajdzic told the government-run Sarajevo television.
In Albania, Defense Minister Sabit Brokaj and Interior Minister Neritan Ceka said Saturday that abandoned buildings will be turned into shelters for an anticipated exodus of refugees.