From a news briefing yesterday by White House spokesman Joe Lockhart:

Q: How alarmed are you by the disappearance of the ethnic minority, the Serbs, in Kosovo?

Mr. Lockhart: Well, I think anyone who watched and knows the brutal activity that went on in Kosovo, over the last year, will understand the difficulty and the enormous challenge that face the United Nations, KFOR, in keeping the peace. . . .

I think it's the goal there to build the kind of stable society and government that will protect all people in Kosovo, including the Serb minority. . . .

Q: Well, do you think that your efforts of building a true multiethnic society in Kosovo, where Serbs have the same rights as Albanians, has been successful, or --

A: I think, as everyone who knows anything about the hard work that goes in, this is a work in progress. There is --

Q: But do you think that there is still a chance that you can actually --

A: Well, let me define it slightly differently. . . . Kosovo is not like Bosnia, where you have roughly equivalent different ethnic groups. . . . This is a minority, the Serbs. But we have committed to protecting their rights and their well-being. . . . But this is something where there's a lot of hard work that has yet to be done.

Q: I'm just wondering how you would assess KFOR's efforts so far. . . .

A: Well, I'd suggest . . . there's still a lot of work that needs to be done.