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Tuesday, May 11, 1999 Published at 16:26 GMT 17:26 UK


Nato denies Serb pull-out

Nato wants to cut the main road between Belgrade and Nis

Nato says it has seen no evidence so far of a pull-out by Yugoslav forces from Kosovo as reported by the Yugoslav media.

Kosovo: Special Report
"There is no evidence at this point of any withdrawal of Serb forces," said a Nato statement on day 49 of Operation Allied Force.

A Tanjug news agency report on Monday cited Yugoslav army commanders as saying that troops and police units had started a partial pull-out on Sunday.

The BBC's Janet Barrie: Nato was back with a vengeance
Nato dismissed the announcement as a half measure and embarked on its biggest raids on Yugoslavia for several days.

A spokesman said operations were helped by better weather, after the number of sorties had been reduced at the weekend due to cloud cover.

It said 623 sorties were carried out in the last 24 hours on targets in both Kosovo and the rest of Yugoslavia.

(click here to see a map of latest Nato air strikes on Yugoslavia)

Nato says strategic targets hit include two airfields, two Yugoslav army barracks, seven highway bridges and fuel and weapon storage sites.

KLA 'not beaten'

The leader of the Kosovo Liberation Army inside Kosovo, Agim Ceku, has dismissed statements by Belgrade that Serb forces had defeated the KLA.

He told the BBC Albanian service that the KLA was stronger than ever, and it was the Serb army that was in disarray as a result of KLA activity and Nato bombing.

He also said there was no sign that Serb forces were withdrawing from Kosovo.

China resolute

Jill McGivering in Beijing: Riot police are out in force
China has said it is not satisfied with the apologies offered by President Clinton and other western leaders over the Nato bombing of the Chinese embassy in Belgrade.

China's Foreign Ministry spokesman, Zhu Bangzhou, said his country wanted not just an apology but a thorough investigation and severe punishment for those responsible.

[ image: Chernomyrdin: Discussed the G-8 plan with China]
Chernomyrdin: Discussed the G-8 plan with China
Beijing remains adamant it will not consider peace proposals until the Nato bombings stop.

Russia's Balkan envoy, Viktor Chernomyrdin, briefed Chinese leaders on the peace plan agreed by Russia and the seven major industrialised countries in Bonn last week.

Moscow and the Western allies are seeking a Security Council resolution authorising the deployment of an international peacekeeping force in Kosovo.

John Simpson in Belgrade: China says no diplomacy until the bombing stops
But the Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman said halting the bombing was a precondition for negotiations.

China is a permanent member of the UN Security Council with a right of veto over any council decisions.

BBC's Duncan Hewitt: The Russian envoy left China saying they were studying the G8 proposal
The Security Council did meet to consider whether to formally condemn the attack on China's embassy, but the session ended in deadlock with Nato countries refusing to support the move.

Schröder in China

[ image: Protests continued at Western embassies in China]
Protests continued at Western embassies in China
German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder travels to China on Tuesday - the first Nato leader to do so since the embassy bombing.

German officials say Mr Schröder will try to persuade China to accept the peace proposals. However his scheduled visit has been drastically shortened as a sign of Beijing's anger at the Nato bombing.

US Defence Secretary William Cohen has blamed the mistaken bombing - in which three Chinese journalists died - on an out of date map.

Refugees on the move

In northern Albania, aid agencies are to begin trying to clear thousands of people from refugee camps close to the Kosovo border.

The United Nations refugee agency says the border area is too dangerous, as the camps are within easy artillery range of Serbian forces.

Many refugees are reluctant to leave the border area.

Some say they are waiting for their relatives to arrive from Kosovo, while others are reluctant to abandon their tractors, which for displaced farmers are the only asset they have left.

The UNHCR says it cannot force refugees to move, but the Albanian Government is determined to clear the border camps.

There are six huge official camps near the northern town of Kukes, with 30,000 inhabitants, and another 60,000 estimated to be staying in private accommodation.

Cash shortage

The UNHCR says it is running out of money for its aid efforts in Kosovo, having raised only half of the $143m which it requested for the first half of 1999.

The agency has appealed for donations by European governments, whose contributions lag behind those of the US and Japan.

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