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World - Europe

NATO set to enter Kosovo on Saturday

Troop
American combat troops arrive in Macedonia enroute to Kosovo  
 MILITARY PLAN:
Timetable for Kosovo transition

Map: Serb troop withdrawal

Map: Proposed NATO troop sectors
related videoRELATED VIDEO
Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic addressed the country after the peace deal was announced. CNN's Walter Rodgers reports. (June 10)
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At the Yugoslavian-Albanian border Thursday morning, CNN's Mike Boettcher still hears gunfire in Kosovo (June 10)
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 ALSO:
U.S. won't help reconstruct Yugoslavia until Milosevic out of power, Clinton says

Winners and losers: Analysis of the Kosovo conflict

Milosevic proclaims victory with end to Kosovo conflict

Russians push for separate sector in Kosovo peace force

NATO, aid agencies gear up for Kosovo refugees' return

House to weigh in on future of U.S. forces in Kosovo

First U.S. Marines land in Greece

Belgrade celebrates agreement

Text of Kosovo military technical agreement

 THE DELUGE OF REFUGEES:
Number, whereabouts of Kosovo refugees
 MESSAGE BOARD:
Crisis in Kosovo
 IN-DEPTH SPECIAL:
Focus on Kosovo

June 10, 1999
Web posted at: 10:16 p.m. EDT (0216 GMT)


In this story:

Milosevic: 'We survived'

KFOR commander promises to be fair

Britain warns of 'horrors' in Kosovo

RELATED STORIES, SITES icon



SKOPJE, Macedonia (CNN) -- With authorization orders in hand, NATO troops are poised to enter Kosovo on Saturday, to implement a peace deal and clear the way for hundreds of thousands of refugees to return home.

NATO military officials said an initial force of British and French troops would move into Serbia's southernmost province on Saturday, quickly followed by U.S. soldiers and Marines.

NATO ambassadors issued the final activation order for the Kosovo force on Thursday, soon after the U.N. Security Council gave its backing to the peace plan. The council approved the resolution 14-0, with China -- one of the most implacable critics of the NATO airstrikes -- abstaining.

About 18,000 NATO troops had been waiting just outside Yugoslav territories for orders to enter the strife-torn region. The Kosovo force will eventually grow to some 50,000 troops.

The commander of NATO's peacekeepers, British Lt. Gen. Michael Jackson, said his troops were ready to go.

"We shall be off quite quickly, and what we do in Kosovo, I assure you, will be both robust and quite even-handed," he said.

Yugoslav army troops and Serb police began streaming out of Kosovo early Thursday afternoon, followed by carloads of Serb civilians afraid to remain without military protection. A few hours later, NATO Secretary-General Javier Solana announced the alliance had suspended its air campaign.

Solana submitted the news to the United Nations, and Shen Guofang, China's deputy U.N. ambassador, said his country would not use its veto to block the peace plan approved by the Group of Eight nations and Yugoslavia.

China has bitterly criticized NATO's attacks, particularly after a NATO bomb destroyed its embassy in Belgrade, killing three of its citizens. Shen said the war has been a political disaster for the alliance.

"It shows that in the future any use of force should get the authorization of the Security Council," he said.

Russian Ambassador Sergey Lavrov concurred, adding that he hoped the vote would deter NATO from acting on its own in the future.

"I hope this is a change not only on this, but on other issues as well," Lavrov said.

In Washington, U.S. President Bill Clinton said NATO had "achieved victory for a safer world" in Kosovo. He warned Serbs that the United States will not help them rebuild from the bombing "as long as your nation is ruled by an indicted war criminal."

Clinton added: "But we are ready to provide humanitarian aid now and to help to build a better future for Serbia, too, when its government represents tolerance and freedom, not repression and terror."

Milosevic: 'We survived'

In Belgrade, Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic declared a sort of victory: He said Yugoslavia had preserved its existing borders in the face of massive aerial bombardment.

marines
U.S. Marines step onto the beach Thursday at Litohoro, Greece  

"The territorial integrity of our country can never be questioned again," he said. "We survived and defended the country and raised the entire problem to the pinnacle of world authority -- the pyramid -- the United Nations."

Milosevic said the question of independence for Kosovo -- which prompted more than a year of ethnic strife in the Serbian province -- was no longer an issue.

The leader said the Yugoslav army and special police forces in Kosovo lost fewer than 600 men during the fighting. That number is about a tenth of the estimates that NATO released last week.

"We demonstrated our army cannot be defeated," he said.

The alliance lost two fliers during the war -- both U.S. Army helicopter pilots who died on a training mission in Albania when their helicopter gunship crashed.

Yugoslav soldiers laughed and flashed a victory sign as their armored vehicles began heading northward from Kosovo's provincial capital, Pristina. Hundreds of troops were on the move, along with ammunition trucks, communications gear and other equipment.

The cease-fire agreement outlines a strict timetable that Yugoslavia must follow, including a withdrawal from northern Kosovo within 24 hours. Yugoslav and NATO generals Wednesday agreed to details of the troop withdrawal from Kosovo, following hours of intense marathon talks along the Yugoslav- Macedonian border.

Under the terms of the agreement, the withdrawal must be complete by June 21.

KFOR commander promises to be fair

 G-8 roadmap to peace in Kosovo:
 • Yugoslav and NATO officials sign military/technical agreement for withdrawal of Yugoslav forces

 • Yugoslav forces begin withdrawal with NATO verification

 • NATO suspends airstrikes

 • U.N. Security Council passes resolution endorsing G-8 peace plan

 • As Yugoslav forces leave, KFOR peacekeeping force enters Kosovo

"NATO is ready for its new mission -- a mission to bring people back to their homes and to build a lasting and just peace in Kosovo," Solana said.

The war began after Yugoslavia rejected a peace agreement for Kosovo similar to one it accepted last week. Those accords were aimed at ending a year of ethnic conflict in the mostly ethnic-Albanian province of Yugoslavia's dominant republic of Serbia.

Solana warned that NATO could resume its bombardment if Yugoslavia reneged on its agreement to withdraw. And he added that separatist rebels of the Kosovo Liberation Army must also stand down during the withdrawal.

"Violence or noncompliance by any party will not be tolerated," he said.

The peacekeeping force -- dubbed KFOR -- will be charged with protecting hundreds of thousands of ethnic Albanian refugees who are expected to return home after fleeing during the conflict.

In an attempt to reassure Serbs in Kosovo who fear reprisals from returning refugees and the KLA, Jackson said KFOR would enforce a cease-fire "for all the people of Kosovo, no matter what their ethnic background."

But he cautioned that his troops could impose only "rather basic" law and order on the province at first.

Shinasi Rama, a representative of the KLA, said the guerrillas would observe the cease-fire.

"We have declared a unilateral cease-fire, and we will respect it all over Kosovo," he said. But he said the KLA would defend itself and civilians from any Serb reprisals.

Still unresolved Thursday was the issue of what role Russia would play in KFOR. Talks between U.S. and Russian special envoys on Russia's participation in KFOR continued in Moscow on Thursday as Russia's parliament condemned President Boris Yeltsin's point man on the Balkans.

The State Duma, the lower house of the Russian parliament, asked Yeltsin to fire Viktor Chernomyrdin, his special envoy on the Balkans. The vote has no legal force, but reflects the anger toward Chernomyrdin from communists and others on the political left, who accuse him of selling out to NATO.

Chernomyrdin and U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott were trying to settle the peacekeeping issue. Talbott said it would not be possible for Russia to have a separate sector in Kosovo when peacekeeping forces move in.

Britain warns of 'horrors' in Kosovo

Yugoslav troops and Serb special police spent more than a year trying to suppress the KLA, and NATO repeatedly accused Yugoslavia of unleashing the army on ethnic Albanian civilians once the air war began. The reports of atrocities in Kosovo led to Milosevic's indictment by a U.N. war crimes tribunal.

Serb
Yugoslav withdrawal from Kosovo began Thursday  

The international court also brought charges against four other Yugoslav leaders, including the president of Serbia and the chief of staff of the army.

When Jackson's force crosses the Yugoslav frontier, they will find not only a shattered land but "find horrors which nobody should have to face," British Defense Secretary George Robertson said Thursday.

"They'll have to work their way through minefields and booby traps. They'll have to face the risk of attacks by way of individuals who disregard their orders to leave," he said.

"They'll have to cope with human misery and starvation that has been left behind by the Serbs, and I fear that they will find evidence of atrocities, which will shock and sicken even them."

But evidence of war crimes beyond the testimony of refugees may be difficult to obtain. U.S. officials said Yugoslavia could be trying to conceal mass graves that NATO says it has spotted through aerial photographs.

"It's difficult to be completely clear about what happened, but it looks as if a bulldozer or other earth moving equipment has been run over where the original graves used to be," Pentagon spokesman Kenneth Bacon said.

Correspondents Jim Clancy, Walter Rodgers, Steve Harrigan, Patricia Kelly, Richard Roth contributed to this report.


RELATED STORIES:
Yugoslavia agrees to withdraw forces from Kosovo
June 10, 1999
U.N. Security Council standing by for Kosovo vote
June 9, 1999
Yugoslavia agrees to withdraw forces from Kosovo
June 9, 1999
Text of Kosovo military technical agreement
June 9, 1999
Timetable for Kosovo transition
June 9, 1999
Clinton to Belgrade: We will be watching
June 9, 1999
Cautious optimism heard around the world
June 9, 1999
NATO to drop food into Kosovo
June 9, 1999
Pristina residents weary of war, wary of peace
June 9, 1999

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

Kosovo:
  • Kosova Crisis Center
  • Kosovo - from Albanian.com

Military:
  • 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

Relief:
  • 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


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

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