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Monday, November 23, 1998 Published at 00:50 GMT

World: Europe

Kosovo blueprint rejected

Kosovo independence fighters continue training

A senior member of the ethnic Albanian leadership in Kosovo has rejected Serbian proposals on the future of the province.

Kosovo Section
The man leading the Kosovar Albanian negotiating team, Fehmi Agani, said the plans amounted to the legalisation of Serbian domination over ethnic Albanians.

Mr Agani said Kosovar Albanians were only prepared to consider the latest American proposal, which offers an interim period of self-rule and effectively links Kosovo more closely to federal Yugoslavia, while weakening its ties to Serbia.

The BBC's Jacky Rowland: "Serbs sees Kosovo as an integral part of Serbia"
Serbian proposals for Kosovo were published on Saturday after consultation with some of the region's ethnic groups.

The discussions were boycotted by the main Albanian parties.

Kosovo is a region of Serbia, which is in turn ruled from Belgrade as part of Yugoslavia. The fight for independence by ethnic Albanians has seen about 200,000 people displaced, according to the United Nations.

The Serbian proposals are:

  • To achieve a peaceful solution to the Kosovo conflict, but any agreement on self-rule must respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Yugoslavia.

  • Representatives from Kosovo will take part in the Yugoslav parliament, government and supreme court, but there is no reference to the province participating in equivalent Serbian institutions.

  • A two-chamber assembly for Kosovo will comprise of a Chamber of Citizens and a Chamber of Ethnic Communities, but the Serbian parliament will be able to override its decisions.

  • Every municipality in Kosovo will be able to set up a local police force, as long as they are trained in Serbian state police schools.

The BBC correspondent in Kosovo, Jacky Rowland, says the document is unequivocal about keeping the province within Serbia and federal Yugoslavia.

The American plan favoured by the ethnic Albanians has been criticised as unconstitutional by the government in Belgrade.

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