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Saturday, October 10, 1998 Published at 04:51 GMT 05:51 UK

World: Europe

'No progress' in Kosovo

Thousands of ethnic Albanians have been made homeless

The American special envoy, Richard Holbrooke, is holding another session of talks in Belgrade to try to break the deadlock over the Serbian province of Kosovo.

Mr Holbrooke was in Kosovo earlier on Saturday for talks with ethnic Albanian leaders. Afterwards, he said there had been no progress in the last 24 hours of negotiations.

Kosovo Section
Mr Holbrooke said no-one wanted to resort to air strikes, but the Yugoslav Government was still failing to comply with UN resolutions to stop the crackdown on ethnic Albanians and withdraw from the Serbian province of Kosovo.

Nato Secretary General Javier Solana has said all preparations for possible air strikes have been completed.

[ image: Nato continues to prepare for air strikes]
Nato continues to prepare for air strikes
"The North Atlantic Council has today cleared all the decisions necessary prior to an activation order," he said.

Correspondents say no Nato decision on air strikes is expected until after the German cabinet meets on Monday.

Mr Holbrooke is thought to be trying to negotiate a 'Dayton II' agreement, which would involve the deployment of peace-keeping ground troops in the province.

Javier Solana: "Time is running out"
The plan would also involve Kosovo abandoning its bid for independence, and instead accepting a three-year interim period of autonomy while its future political status was negotiated.

The international community has unanimously rejected independence for the province, fearing it would increase instability across the south-east Balkans.

Paul Welsh in Kosovo: "Still shuttling back and forth at this late stage"
Correspondents say neither side has shown much willingness to change position.

Mr Milosevic expressed confidence on Friday that Yugoslavia's arguments would prevail over what he described as Nato's "warlike intentions"

Former Albanian negotiator Vettan Surroi on the prospects for a settlement
The ethnic Albanian Kosovo Liberation Army has declared a unilateral cease-fire. However, a BBC correspondent in the area says it is difficult to say whether the organisation is observing the truce, which some KLA fighters have said is just a tactical ploy to encourage Nato to go ahead with its air strikes against Serbia.

The UN demands to Yugoslavia

Mr Holbrooke is insisting the Serbian authorities meet six demands in order to comply with the UN resolutions:

  • The Serbian offensive must stop.

  • Mr Milosevic's forces in Kosovo must return to barracks.

  • Peace talks must start with ethnic Albanians.

  • Refugees must be allowed to return to their homes.

  • Aid agencies must be given full access.

  • Yugoslavia must co-operate with the Hague War Crimes Tribunal.

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