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The BBC's Nicholas Wood, in Pristina
"The wave of unrests comes ahead of Serbian parliamentary elections- due to be held on Saturday"
 real 56k

Thursday, 21 December, 2000, 02:01 GMT
Serbs and UN discuss Kosovo violence
The K-For commander and the Serbian Deputy Prime Minister
A 'constructive' meeting between K-For chief and Covic
High-level talks have taken place between the international peacekeeping force in Kosovo and the government of Serbia.

The meeting was constructive

K-For commander General Carlo Cabigiosu
The Nato-led force, K-For, says progress has been made in efforts to end attacks along the Serbian border by ethnic Albanians.

The talks came a day after the Yugoslav president, Vojislav Kostunica, demanded tough action to stop the cross-border attacks.

The international force said it had intercepted a group of heavily armed guerrillas who tried to cross into southern Serbia during Tuesday night.

A spate of recent attacks has led to fears that Serbia might breach its agreement with Nato and the UN and send tanks back into the demilitarised border zone.

Serbian threats

Ethnic Albanian guerrillas have been using this area to launch attacks on Serbian security forces with relative impunity.

UCPMB rebels
Ethnic Albanian rebels operate in the area
The K-For commander, General Carlo Cabigiosu, met the Serbian Deputy Prime Minister, Nebojsa Covic, just inside Serbia for the first time in an effort to resolve the problem.

The general said afterwards that it had been a step in the right direction.

"The meeting was constructive and I am encouraged by the discussion," said General Cabigiosu.

If it comes to an attack by terrorists, Serbia would respond with all possible means

Serbian Deputy Prime Minister, Nebojsa Covic
"I believe it is possible to find a peaceful solution to this problem."

On Tuesday, Mr Covic reportedly said: "If it comes to an attack by terrorists, Serbia would respond with all possible means."

"That is not a threat but a fact," he was quoted as saying.

At the United Nations in New York, Yugoslav Foreign Minister Goran Svilanovic told the Security Council that Belgrade wanted peace, but violence by "Albanian extremists" threatened the stability of the whole region.

The Security Council on Tuesday passed a statement calling on the guerrillas to withdraw from the demilitarised border zone between the province and Serbia and end their raids into Serbia.

Guerillas captured

Earlier on Tuesday, the Nato-led peace force said that machine-guns, grenade launchers, anti-tank mines and communications equipment had been seized from a group of Albanians near the town of Zegra in northern Kosovo.

The 13 guerrillas, who were trying to smuggle weapons from Kosovo into the demilitarised zone, were taken to a Nato camp for questioning.

In a separate incident, a United Nations police post in a Serb-populated village was attacked.

With Serbian parliamentary elections due in three days, the attack is being seen by UN officials as an attempt to radicalise the local population and undermine support for more moderate parties.

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See also:

17 Dec 00 | Europe
UN under fire near Serbia hotspot
29 Nov 00 | Europe
Presevo's uneasy peace
17 Dec 00 | Europe
Serbs shot during Kosovo protest
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