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The BBC's Nick Thorpe reports
"The gathering comes at a time of growing tension"
 real 28k

Wednesday, 17 May, 2000, 23:32 GMT 00:32 UK
Pressure to quit Kosovo
K-For soldiers
The US wants its Nato allies to meet their commitments
By Paul Reynolds in Washington

The House of Representatives in the United States has called for American troops to withdraw from Kosovo next year unless other Nato countries meet their troop commitments.

The Senate is considering an even stronger proposal which would require Congress to vote in favour of US troops staying in Kosovo past July 2001.

Both proposals are being opposed by the Clinton administration and the Republican presidential candidate, George W Bush.

Pressuring Nato allies

The House vote calls for the president to certify by April of next year that Washington's Nato allies have substantially met their commitments for funding the development of civil society in Kosovo.

If this cannot be certified, US funds would be used only to pay for the withdrawal of American troops from the province.

K-For peacekeepers
There are 40,000 international peacekeepers in Kosovo
The more stringent Senate proposal is expected to be voted on this week.

The Congressional moves reflect concern about the open-ended commitment the US is making towards peacekeeping in a number of countries and is in line with an emerging American belief that regional powers should take the lead in solving crises.

This attitude has been evident most recently in Sierra Leone.

It is not certain, however, that the Senate will approve the proposed restriction.

Opposition

The Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright, made a strongly worded speech opposing the restriction on US involvement in Kosovo. She said that it was playing with fire and would be seen as weakness which would attract the vultures.

And Governor George W Bush has told Senate Republicans that the plan is an overreach by Congress and would threaten presidential rights over foreign policy.

Mr Bush is hoping to avoid having his hands tied over Kosovo if he becomes president. A leading Republican Senator said that this intervention could kill the proposal.

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Kosovo: One year on
Click here for in-depth coverage and latest news
Key stories:
Nato's incomplete victory
The view from Kosovo
Serbs fear new war
Nato strikes: The untold story
An Uneasy Peace
Talking Point
Is the West losing the peace?
Is Nato guilty of war crimes?
See also:

28 Feb 00 | Europe
Kosovo: What happened to peace?
16 Mar 00 | Europe
Kosovo one year on
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