More than 60 nations and dozens of international aid agencies pledged $2 billion today to help feed and house hundreds of thousands of ethnic Albanian refugees who have returned to Kosovo.
At a donors' meeting cosponsored by the European Union and the World Bank, the United States pledged $500 million, Japan $200 million, Germany $190 million and Britain $145 million, said James Dobbins, the Clinton administration's special adviser for implementation of the Bosnia and Kosovo peace agreements.
Other nations and agencies pledged lesser amounts. The EU will provide about $160 million this year and $532 million next year through the new European Agency for Reconstruction.
Dobbins said that since estimates of Kosovo's needs are being constantly revised, it is impossible to say exactly how much ultimately will be required. One study commissioned by the EU put the cost of housing repairs alone at $1 billion.
While donors were meeting in Brussels, the U.N. General Assembly authorized an initial budget of $200 million for its mission in Kosovo, but only asked members to pick up the tab for $125 million.
The General Assembly's decision triggered concern from the United States and the EU that the U.N. operation, which is supposed to run civilian operations in Kosovo, might run out of money.
Discussions about aid to the larger Balkans area will continue Friday at a summit in Sarajevo, the Bosnian capital. Organized to foster Balkan stability and plan postwar reconstruction, it will be attended by President Clinton and other leaders of the Group of Seven industrialized democracies--Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy and Japan--plus Russia, as well as the EU and Balkan nations.