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World - Europe

NATO vows to prevail in Yugoslavia

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April 12, 1999
Web posted at: 12:32 p.m. EDT (1632 GMT)

In this story:

Britain says Milosevic losing his grip

NATO ministers vow unity in Brussels

KLA guerrillas still fighting in Kosovo


BRUSSELS, Belgium (CNN) -- NATO's foreign ministers vowed Monday to press on with the air campaign against Yugoslavia, expressing confidence that the bombardment was taking its toll on Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic and his army.

"Milosevic is losing, and he knows he is losing," NATO Secretary-General Javier Solana said. "NATO is united. You have justice and right on our side, and we will prevail."

The ministers from NATO's 19 countries gathered in Brussels as British officials said Milosevic is losing support among Yugoslavia's military and civilian leadership. Attacks continued Monday around Belgrade and in southern Serbia, including one that Serbian officials said caused a passenger train to crash, killing two people and injuring 16.

Fighting continued in the Serbian province of Kosovo, where NATO warplanes struck Yugoslav army forces, and where those forces continued to battle the ethnic Albanian rebels of the Kosovo Liberation Army. KLA guerrillas and Yugoslav troops battled along the Albanian border.

Solana said NATO would respond to any attacks on Albania and Macedonia related to the presence of allied troops there.

But Solana also offered a vision of the future in which the Balkans -- wracked by civil wars and secession throughout the 1990s -- would be brought into the mainstream of Europe.

"The years of confrontation in this part of Europe must come to an end," he said, "... or there will be no future for its people."

He said NATO is willing to join other European institutions to foster closer ties to those countries. "A democratic Yugoslavia, whose people have a normal relationship with their neighbors in the Balkans, will have an important place in this vision," he said.

Britain says Milosevic losing his grip

In Kosovo, Royal Air Force Harrier jets conducted their first strikes through cloud cover, said Gen. Sir Charles Guthrie, Britain's chief of staff. The targets included Yugoslav troops in the field there, he said.

"The effect of each day's attacks is cumulative, steadily whittling away Milosevic's capabilities," Guthrie said.

Those reported losses have cost Milosevic support among senior officers in Yugoslavia's armed forces and some civilian leaders, British Defense Secretary George Robertson said.

Robertson would not offer specifics, but added, "When we make that contention, we don't do so without evidence that makes that contention possible."

The reported attack on a train occurred near Grdelicka, south of Leskovac and about 320 kilometers (200 miles) south of Belgrade. Serbian authorities said NATO had bombed a bridge causing a passenger train to crash -- killing at least two people and injuring 16. They said two cars of the train had fallen into a canyon.

Other targets Monday included the Zastava car factory in Kragujevac, which NATO said also manufactures military armaments. The plant was the site of an attack last week that Serb TV said wounded 120 civilians.

The factory manager told CNN that 14 missiles hit his plant Monday. After a warning from Serb authorities, all the workers were evacuated.

The bombing has idled 38,000 workers, the factory manger said. He said 95 percent of production was devoted to civilian work.

NATO says all Yugoslavia's refineries have been hit, and 50 percent of its petroleum stocks have been destroyed. A surface-to-air missile storage and production facility was hit in Novi Sad, Serbia's second largest city. Two key bridges and an oil refinery have already been hit there.

NATO ministers vow unity in Brussels

The NATO summit in Brussels was planned as a show of unity and resolve to continue the 20-day-old air campaign.

"We will stand our ground, and we will be patient," U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright said Monday.

Solana said any cease-fire must be accompanied by the withdrawal of Yugoslav troops and paramilitary forces from Kosovo, the safe return of refugees from neighboring countries and the entry of a NATO-led peacekeeping force. Yugoslav officials are resisting that last provision. Vladislav Jovanovic, Yugoslavia's charge d'affaires at the U.N., described that as a "foreign occupation."

The meeting comes as critics are increasingly calling for NATO to at least consider mounting an invasion of Kosovo.

Both British and U.S. officials say air power alone will convince Yugoslavia to accept a peace plan for the strife- torn Serbian province. Solana repeated Monday that NATO troops would enter Kosovo only as peacekeepers.

NATO has drawn up contingency plans for an invasion: "It would have been irresponsible not to do so," Guthrie said. "But we are not currently planning to implement any of these options."


According to Serbian TV, NATO warplanes struck an oil refinery early Monday


KLA guerrillas still fighting in Kosovo

The fighting in Kosovo between ethnic Albanian guerrillas and forces in the Serbian province continued, as Robertson said Serb troops and special police have failed to stamp out the KLA.

"We know that pretty ruthless action is being taken against where the Serbs believe the KLA to be, but they are still there, they are still in play," he said.

In Brussels on Sunday, NATO officials said they had spotted what could be a mass burial ground southwest of Pristina in Kosovo. While NATO emphasized that the existence of mass graves could not be confirmed, "We shouldn't be surprised if more graves are found," Albright said.

Refugees continued to move out of the embattled province Sunday and Monday. The U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees reported fewer than 7,000 ethnic Albanians left Kosovo on Sunday, with 4,300 entering Albania and about 2,500 entering Montenegro.

KLA representatives say as many as 400,000 displaced ethnic Albanians remain in hiding inside Kosovo, without adequate food, water or housing.

The rebel force has been striking from towns along Albania's border with Yugoslavia, and Yugoslav shells have been falling on Albanian territory in recent days. Albanian Foreign Minister Paskal Milo condemned what he called "provocative" moves along the border and called for NATO protection.

"The Yugoslav authorities are maybe trying to spill over the conflict to Albania," Milo said.

Solana said NATO's offer to defend Macedonia and Albania from Yugoslav attacks is not the same one NATO members have, that an attack on one is considered an attack on them all, "but very close to that."

He also warned that there would be "grave consequences" if Yugoslavia attempted to crack down on the government of Montenegro.

Montenegro -- the smaller of the Yugoslav federation's two republics -- has criticized both NATO and Milosevic, and tried to remain neutral in the conflict.

Correspondent Alessio Vinci contributed to this report.
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Extensive list of Kosovo-related sites
  • Kosovo

  • Federal Republic of Yugoslavia official site
      • Kesovo and Metohija facts
  • Serbia Ministry of Information
  • Serbia Now! News

  • Kosova Crisis Center
  • Kosovo - from

  • NATO official site
  • BosniaLINK - U.S. Dept. of Defense
  • U.S. Navy images from Operation Allied Force
  • U.K. Ministry of Defence - Kosovo news
  • U.K. Royal Air Force - Kosovo news
  • Jane's Defence - Kosovo Crisis

  • Oxfam America
  • Mercy International USA
  • Donations for Kosovo Refugees
  • International Rescue Committee
  • Mercy International USA
  • Unicef USA
  • Doctors Without Borders
  • World Vision
  • CARE: The Kosovo Crisis
  • InterAction
  • International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies
  • International Committee of the Red Cross
  • Disaster Relief from
  • Catholic Relief Services
  • Kosovo Relief
  • ReliefWeb: Home page

  • Independent Yugoslav radio stations B92
  • Institute for War and Peace Reporting
  • United States Information Agency - Kosovo Crisis

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