Canada

Refugee airlift to Canada back on

Due to the desperate conditions in European refugee camps, The United Nations has asked Canada to resume preparations to take ethnic Albanians from Kosovo.

Immigration Minister Lucienne Robillard made the announcement in the House of Commons.

"The security of these people is in danger," she said at a news conference held later. "You can imagine, it is very difficult in the camps."

Canada is prepared to take 5,000 refugees. About 300 a day are expected to be flown to Canada over the next two weeks, possibly beginning Tuesday.

Preparations were put on hold three weeks ago, when the UN decided it would be better to keep the refugees in the Balkans. The region has since been swamped with people leaving Kosovo.

Robillard says Canadian Forces bases that will receive the refugees have been put on 72-hour notice.

European countries, the United States and Australia have also been asked to take in refugees.

The move is not universally popular in Canada. Some immigrants from Kosovo say many of the refugees, once here, will want to stay. And that, they say, is exactly what Slobodan Milosevic intended with his campaign of ethnic cleansing.