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Monday, June 21, 1999 Published at 11:31 GMT 12:31 UK

World: Europe

Kosovo rebels to disarm

K-For has already begun confiscating KLA guns

Nato has signed an agreement with the Kosovo Liberation Army to demilitarise its fighters, effectively ending the KLA's existence as a fighting force.

Kosovo: Special Report
The agreement came hours after Nato officially ended its bombing campaign against Yugoslavia following the pullout of all Yugoslav forces from Kosovo.

The deal signed by the KLA early on Monday puts the Nato-led international peacekeepers, K-For, in control of Kosovo and marks the start of a new phase of building peace in the province.

Paul Welsh in Kosovo witnesses a successful disarming of KLA weapons
Under the terms of the agreement, the KLA is to hand over its heavy weapons within 30 days, and will then have a further 60 days to give up Kalashnikovs and other automatic weapons, which will be put into storage.

The soldiers will also have to stop wearing uniforms in public, and take down roadblocks and checkpoints.

The agreement was signed by the British K-For Commander General Sir Mike Jackson and Hashim Thaci, political head of the KLA.

"Today is a turning point in our mission to establish an enduring climate of peace and security for all the people of Kosovo," General Jackson said.

Pullout ahead of schedule

Yugoslav forces completed their withdrawal on Sunday morning - well ahead of the midnight deadline they had agreed to.

[ image:  ]
The UN special representative for Kosovo, Sergio Vieira de Mello, marked the occasion by hoisting a United Nations flag over the former Yugoslav army headquarters in Kosovo's capital Pristina.

Nato Secretary-General Javier Solana announced the formal end to the alliance's air war against Yugoslavia:

"I have accordingly decided to terminate with immediate effect the air campaign which I suspended on June 10," he said.

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