Wednesday, January 13, 1999 Published at 16:27 GMT
Kosovo hostages released
The soldiers are reported to be in good health
Eight Yugoslav soldiers being held hostage by ethnic Albanian rebels in Kosovo have been released.
The BBC Correpondent in Kosovo, Jacky Rowland, says the rebels have been told their fighters could be handed over within 10 days.
Their capture five days ago had put renewed pressure on the region's fragile ceasefire, with the Yugoslav Army threatening to free them by force if necessary.
Mr Walker refused to give details of the agreement or whether it involved an exchange of prisoners. But he said the soldiers' release was ''part of a fair and balanced agreement''.
Fears of new violence
The handover was the result of more than five days of talks brokered by the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe.
During round the clock negotiations, the monitors met with both the KLA and Yugoslav officials in an effort to prevent the region sliding back into the ethnic conflict which had halted on October.
The rebel army wants independence for Kosovo which is 90% ethnic Albanian.
Officials feared Serb forces might resume their military crackdown against Albanian separatists if the soldiers were not freed quickly.
Monitors under fire
The international monitors were sent into the region after a truce was called in October. But the verification mission has been criticised as weak and understaffed since beginning its work.
Knut Vollebaek, head of the OSCE, has urged both the Albanians and the Serbs to begin a political dialogue aimed at ending the conflict.
"Every day that passes represents a danger for a new escalation of the violence," he said.