U.S. senators review
operations in Kosovo

Hawaii's Dan Inouye heads the bipartisan
delegation to survey peacekeeping efforts

Associated Press

PRISTINA, Yugoslavia >> Six U.S. senators visited Kosovo yesterday, meeting with NATO's military commander in Europe, American Gen. Joseph Ralston, and other officials, a statement from the local U.S. representative's office said.

The bipartisan delegation, led by Hawaii Sen. Daniel Inouye, had a firsthand look at the operations in the province of the NATO-led peacekeeping force, known as KFOR, to find the best way for the United States to support the peacekeepers' efforts, the statement said.

"This visit demonstrates the continued interest and commitment of the United States to fulfilling KFOR's mandate of creating a safe and secure environment in Kosovo," said Reno Harnish, the head of the U.S. office in Kosovo.

The delegation also included Sen. Ted Stevens of Alaska, Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont, Sen. Thad Cochran of Mississippi, Sen. Pat Roberts of Kansas and Sen. Ben Nelson of Nebraska.

Kosovo has been run by the United Nations and NATO-led peacekeepers since 1999, when the alliance bombed Serb troops to stop Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic's crackdown on independence-minded ethnic Albanian separatists.

There are more than 4,000 U.S. troops based in Kosovo -- part of the 32,000-strong NATO-led peacekeeping force there.

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