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World - Europe

Peace talks with Milosevic to resume Thursday

martti cherno

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Strike on Yugoslavia

World Court 'concerned' over bombing campaign

June 2, 1999
Web posted at: 3:21 p.m. EDT (1921 GMT)

In this story:

Trip had been delayed

NATO pounds Serb forces

World Court 'concerned' over bombing campaign

Other developments


BELGRADE, Yugoslavia (CNN) -- Talks between Russian and European envoys and Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic ended Wednesday night and will resume Thursday, a spokesman said.

Russian envoy Viktor Chernomyrdin and Finnish President Martti Ahtisaari were to present to Milosevic a plan to end the Kosovo crisis. Their trip from Bonn, Germany, was delayed earlier Wednesday by what Russian news agencies said were last-minute U.S. proposals that were "partially unacceptable" to Russia.

Before leaving Bonn, Chernomyrdin said he was proposing a peacekeeping force in Kosovo with Russian and NATO troops under separate commands. But NATO spokesman Jamie Shea downplayed the idea.

"Let's see how we come out on this one," Shea said at a Wednesday morning briefing. "As far as NATO is concerned, we are talking about a single force with unity of command, robust rules of engagement and a common approach throughout Kosovo."

The chief obstacles to an agreement are NATO's insistence on a Kosovo peacekeeping force with its own troops at the core and the number of Yugoslav troops who will be allowed to remain in Kosovo at the end of the conflict.

Trip had been delayed

Earlier, Russia's ITAR-Tass news agency quoted Chernomyrdin's spokesman, Valentin Sergeyev, as saying that Chernomyrdin delayed his departure for Belgrade after U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott proposed several changes in the plan that "were not agreed (to) or included earlier."

Sergeyev offered no details of the changes Talbott put on the table, but the three envoys continued their talks for several hours.

Chernomyrdin said there was a "realistic chance" that the peace plan he, Ahtisaari and Talbott finally agreed to would bring about peace in Kosovo.

"We have just finished a very difficult negotiating process. We have found a common approach," he said. "We underlined the principle that Kosovo is part of Yugoslavia. The peacekeeping process should be under U.N. auspices. We underlined that we need to create the conditions (for refugees) to return and live in safety."

Chernomyrdin said it was "most important" that a document between Yugoslavia and NATO "covering withdrawal of Serbian forces and the timing of the deployment of peacekeepers" be worked out.

Afterward, "a cease-fire will be declared," and that would be followed by a U.N. Security Council resolution, the Russian diplomat said.

Early this week, Yugoslavia signaled its readiness to accept the "principles" for a peace plan agreed to by the G-8 industrialized nations, prompting intensified peace efforts by Russia, the European Union and the United States.

NATO pounds Serb forces

NATO's relentless bombing campaign continued overnight Tuesday and into Wednesday. British Foreign Secretary Robin Cook said Wednesday morning that the bombing could "end as soon as (Milosevic) accepts our key conditions," which Cook said could be summed up in 10 words.

"Serb forces out, NATO forces in, the refugees go home," he said. "And those 10 words are not just NATO's bottom line, they are the refugees' bottom line."

Late Tuesday, powerful explosions rocked the Belgrade suburbs of Batajnica, where a military airport is located, and Lipovicka Suma, home to a communications center.

Military barracks in Obrenovac, near Belgrade, were hit during the raids, and power was out throughout much of the Yugoslav capital.

There were reports of attacks in Pancevo; Nis, Yugoslavia's third largest city; and the Kosovo capital of Pristina, as well as in the Serb towns of Cuprija and Ruma. Studio B said a key highway between Pancevo and Belgrade was hit.

NATO on Wednesday morning said it struck hard at Serb forces deployed in Kosovo, destroying a significant amount of artillery during Day 70 of Operation Allied Force.

NATO aircraft struck at least 32 pieces of artillery, nine armored personnel carriers, eight mortar positions, six armored vehicles, four other military vehicles, a SA-6 SAM site and assorted revetted positions. The heaviest strikes against Serb forces in Kosovo took place in the vicinity of Planeja and Mount Pastrik.

Other targets hit included an electrical power transmission tower near Belgrade, a military barracks at Obrenovac, and an air defense command center at Novi Sad.

Also hit were AM radio broadcast stations at Ruma and Srbobran, a television/FM relay site at Banjska, a radio relay site at Novi Pazar, bridges in Pirot, a petroleum refueling station at Marash, a petroleum storage site at Sombor and an ammunitions storage site at Kursumlija.

NATO aircraft flew 575 sorties, including 197 strike sorties and 70 enemy air defense-suppression missions. The weather in the operating region was mixed Tuesday, leading to the cancellation of some sorties. All NATO aircraft returned safely. Allied Force operations are under way on Day 71.

World Court 'concerned' over bombing campaign

robin cook
Cook: "We want peace, but it must be a peace that makes Kosovo safe for the refugees to go home"  

Meanwhile, in The Hague, the U.N. World Court refused a Yugoslav request to halt the bombing, but said it was "concerned" about the legality of NATO's campaign.

"The court is profoundly concerned about the use of force in Yugoslavia. Under the present circumstances, such use raises very serious issues of international law," said presiding Judge Christopher Weeramantry.

Yugoslavia had sued 10 nations in the World Court over NATO's bombing campaign, charging them with genocide. But the court tossed out the complaint against the United States and Spain Wednesday, saying it could not "exercise jurisdiction" in the case involving NATO airstrikes.

Weeramantry said both the United States and Spain had opted out of a clause in the Genocide Convention that allowed any party to request a hearing in the World Court over disputes arising from the international agreement.

A final ruling in the remaining eight cases could take years.

In other developments:

  • NATO's Kosovo peacekeeping force must be armed with tanks and artillery, according to Adm. Ian Garnett, Britain's chief of joint operations.

  • Garnett also disputed reports from Belgrade that the Yugoslav army had suffered 1,800 casualties from the NATO attacks; he said reports indicate the number could be as high as 10,000.

  • Heavy fighting continued between the Kosovo Liberation Army, seeking independence for Kosovo, and Yugoslav forces along the Albanian border, where NATO spokesman Jamie Shea said allied bombers took advantage of a "target-rich environment."

  • Relief agencies reported an increase in the flow of ethnic Albanian refugees from Kosovo being smuggled into Italy from northern Albania.
  • Moscow Bureau Chief Jill Dougherty, Correspondents Matthew Chance and Walter Rodgers and Reuters contributed to this report.

    Russian, EU envoys to propose peace deal to Milosevic
    June 1, 1999
    Pentagon considers using second Army base as refugee center
    June 1, 1999
    Serbian-Americans feel effects of Yugoslav war
    June 1, 1999

    Related to this story:
      • European Union
      • ITAR-TASS Russian News Agency
      • U.S. State Department
        • Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott
      • The United Nations
        • U.N. Security Council
        • U.N. World Court
      • British Foreign and Commonwealth Office
        • Secretary of State Robin Cook

    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

    Resettlement Agencies Helping Kosovars in U.S.:
      • Church World Service
      • Episcopal Migration Ministries
      • Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society
      • Iowa Department of Human Services
      • International Rescue Committee
      • Immigration and Refugee Services of America
      • Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service
      • United States Catholic Conference

      • World Relief
      • Doctors without borders
      • U.S. Agency for International Development (Kosovo aid)
      • Doctors of the World
      • InterAction
      • International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies
      • International Committee of the Red Cross
      • Kosovo Humanitarian Disaster Forces Hundreds of Thousands from their Homes
      • Catholic Relief Services
      • Kosovo Relief
      • ReliefWeb: Home page
      • The Jewish Agency for Israel
      • Mercy International
      • UNHCR

      • Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty
      • Independent Yugoslav radio stations B92
      • Institute for War and Peace Reporting
      • United States Information Agency - Kosovo Crisis

      • Expanded list of related sites on Kosovo
      • 1997 view of Kosovo from space - Eurimage
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