Wednesday, July 29, 1998 Published at 16:25 GMT 17:25 UK
Negotiation breakthrough in Kosovo
EU says growing refugee problem is "not acceptable"
Ethnic Albanian fighters in the Serbian province of Kosovo have given cautious support to the possibility of a negotiated settlement in the province.
The American ambassador to Macedonia, Christopher Hill, who met representatives of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) on Wednesday, said they were willing to see the talks process go forward.
Earlier, ethnic Albanian political leader, Ibrahim Rugova, told European Union officials that a team was being established to hold talks with Serbia on the future of Kosovo.
The EU envoys are due to meet the Yugoslav President, Slobodan Milosevic, on Thursday.
'Fighting must stop'
Both the European Union and the Americans want the rebels represented in direct talks.
Austria's representative, Albert Rochan, said the delegation's message was that the fighting had to stop as the increasing number of victims and the growing refugee problem was not acceptable.
He adds that Belgrade may not be in any hurry to negotiate now that it seems to have the KLA on the run.
Refugees trapped by fighting
Aid agencies estimate that more than 100,000 civilians are on the run after a five-day offensive by Serbian forces against the KLA in western Kosovo.
The Yugoslav authorities insist that they are not targeting civilians - only what they describe as terrorists.
They say that the capture on Tuesday of the KLA stronghold of Malisevo, in western Kosovo, was accomplished without any civilian casualties.
But aid agencies say tens of thousand of refugees have been trapped by the fighting, sometimes coming under heavy shellfire.
After their success in Malisevo, the Serbian forces are now reported to have encircled Junik, near the border with Albania.
The KLA has seen its recent territorial gains vanish during the offensive.