Friday, June 5, 1998 Published at 11:05 GMT 12:05 UK
Nato prepares Kosovo military response
Concern grows over the reported use of heavy weapons in Kosovo
Nato is considering a military response to the deepening crisis in the Serbian province of Kosovo, the UK Defence Secretary, George Robertson, has confirmed.
"The full power of Nato is considering all options, including the most radical," Mr Robertson told BBC Radio 4's Today programme.
"We are examining very carefully military options that could and might have to be made available."
Albania, which has received thousands of ethnic Albanians from Kosovo, has called for international action to stop an open war in the province.
Nato defence ministers are also meeting next week in Brussels to consider the crisis.
Mr Robertson said Kosovo would be at the top of the agenda at the Nato meeting but declined to describe the military options under consideration.
"We are giving the clearest possible signals through political, military and economic pressure that Mr Milosevic must stop and think, must look at other alternatives, and look for a peaceful and political solution to the problems that exist."
The UK Prime Minister, Tony Blair, says the world needs to send the "strongest possible signal" to the warring parties.
The ethnic Albanian leaders pulled out of talks, scheduled for Friday, with the Serbian Government in Belgrade, in protest at Serbian military operations to reassert control of roads and towns along the Albanian border.
But the co-ordinator of the Kosovo Albanian team, picked recently to negotiate with the Serbs, said it was impossible for any meetings to be held.
He said negotiations could only resume once the fighting ends and police allow people back into regions in Kosovo that they have sealed off.
They have attacked several villages that lie close to the border with Albania.
Eyewitnesses who escaped from the region talk of houses being burned and shelled.
The BBC correspondent in the region says the Serbian authorities seem to be determined now to try to eradicate the KLA but the ethnic Albanians say civilians are being killed.
Nato believes Serb forces are trying to cut-off the guerrillas from their safe haven and source of supplies in Albania by clearing and occupying a swathe of land on the border.
The United Nations refugee agency says more than 40,000 ethnic Albanians from Kosovo have fled their homes in an attempt to escape the latest security operation.
More than 10,000 are reported to have crossed the border into Albania. But UN officials believe that figure will double.
Thousands of other refugees are reported to have gone to Montenegro, Yugoslavia's smaller republic.