Copyright 2002

[ December 31st 2002 ]

Angelina Jolie visited with Kosovo's minority community, along with NATO peacekeepers and local leaders, during a three-day visit to the troubled region. The Oscar-winning actress, who is a goodwill ambassador for the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, said she was troubled by the conditions of minorities there. "People think that when a war is over, everything goes back to normal," Jolie said Monday, after her visit concluded. "But in Kosovo, the security situation remains questionable for minorities."

Kosovo, legally part of Yugoslavia, has been run by the United Nations and NATO since 1999, when the alliance bombed Serb troops loyal to former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic to stop their crackdown on ethnic Albanian separatists. Some 200,000 Serbs and other minorities have left the province, fearing attacks avenging the crackdown, which killed thousands of ethnic Albanians. Only a few thousand of the displaced Serbs have returned, and those who remain live mainly in NATO-guarded enclaves.

Jolie visited the area of Kosovo's capital, Pristina, and the ethnically divided town of Kosovska Mitrovica, which remains a hotbed of tension. The 27-year-old actress, who was appointed goodwill ambassador in 2001, has visited refugee camps in several regions, including Sierra Leone, Tanzania and Pakistan. She plans to return to Kosovo in the spring.

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