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Monday, January 18, 1999 Published at 18:53 GMT

World: Europe

Peacekeeper ordered out of Kosovo

Ms Arbour wants to examine evidence from Friday's massacre

The Yugoslav Government has ordered the American head of the Kosovo peace mission to leave the country within 48 hours after he accused Serb forces of massacring ethnic Albanians.

In a statement carried by the official Tanjug news agency, the government said that after reviewing the activities of William Walker, it had declared him persona non grata.

Kosovo Section
Earlier, Yugoslav border guards prevented the International War Crimes Tribunal's chief prosecutor from entering the country to inspect evidence of Friday's massacre in southern Kosovo.

Louise Arbour had been trying to visit the village of Racak, where 40 ethnic Albanians were killed on Friday.

The BBC's David Loyn: "The Serbs aim can only be to intimidate"
She was accompanied by officials from the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe, the body in charge of international monitors in Kosovo.

Ms Arbour told reporters: "I entered the custom post, I asked to speak to the person who was in charge. I spoke to an officer who identified himself only by a badge number.

[ image: Ms Arbour:
Ms Arbour: "I am entitled to access"
"He told me he had authority, he knew who I was. I repeated to him that I was the prosecutor of the War Crimes Tribunal, that I had a mandate under chapter seven of the UN Charter, that I was entitled to enter all the territory of the former Yugoslavia to conduct investigations and that he should let me in."

Nato has demanded that the Serbs co-operate with International War Crimes Tribunal investigators.

Nato's two most senior generals are also due to arrive in Belgrade to warn the Yugoslav authorities that they face air strikes if they do not end the violence in Kosovo as agreed in a cease-fire deal last year.

Louise Arbour: I told them I had authority to enter all territory of the former Yugoslavia
For their part, Serbian security forces have gone on the offensive in the area around Racak, using armoured vehicles and heavy weapons.

A Serbian judge accompanied by international monitors has entered the village as part of official Serbian investigations into the massacre. He supervised the removal of the bodies from the local mosque, to be taken to the provincial capital, Pristina.

[ image:  ]
The OSCE is holding an emergency meeting to discuss the latest violence. Russia has also called on the Yugoslav authorities to co-operate with international investigators.

Belgrade has so far refused to allow tribunal investigators into the troubled province.

No immunity

Nato Secretary-General Javier Solana: The message to Mr Milosevic is very clear
Speaking in an interview with the French newspaper Liberation, Ms Arbour said her investigations were intended to reach "the highest possible level".

She warned that not even heads of state would be exonerated if found responsible for atrocities.

World Affairs Correspondent David Loyn: "The inhabitants of Racak have mostly fled"
"The international community did not set up this court to judge small fry," she was quoted as saying.

The court was expected "to make up for the inability of states to judge their own leaders" if they were believed to be involved, she said.

Nato warnings

[ image:  ]
In a BBC interview Nato Secretary-General Javier Solana reiterated the organisation's three key demands.

He said the Serbian authorities must comply with previous UN resolutions on the province, co-operate with the investigators from the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, and support the activities of international monitors.

"We have threatened the use of force and we are prepared to use it" Mr Solana said.

The two Nato generals, Wesley Clark, the supreme allied commander in Europe, and Klaus Naumann, chairman of Nato's Military Committee, are expected to deliver a tough message to the Yugoslav authorities.

The BBC's Jacky Rowland in Pristina: "Another act of defiance by the Yugoslav authorities"
On Sunday, Nato condemned the Racak massacre as a "flagrant violation of international humanitarian law". The organisation is demanding full compliance with UN resolutions calling for an end to violence in the province and says that air strikes against Serbia, narrowly avoided last October, remain an option.

"The council demands that the government of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia take immediate steps to ensure that those responsible for this massacre are brought to justice," the Nato secretary-general said.

Serbs dismiss reports

The BBC's Angus Roxburgh: "Air strikes against Serbia remain a possibility"
Serbia has dismissed reports of the massacre and said its forces came under attack while they were investigating the murder of a policeman.

The Serbian deputy prime minister said the police at Racak had only shot at "terrorists" who had opened fire at them. Vojislav Seselj said on Sunday that the Kosovo Albanian fighters had tricked KVM chief William Walker and Western media.

However, US President Bill Clinton and Mr Walker both blamed Serbian forces for the killings.

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