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Tuesday, January 19, 1999 Published at 17:08 GMT

World: Europe

Milosevic given Nato warning

The Serbian security forces have begun a new offensive

The BBC's Bridget Kendall: "NATO planes are poised for action"
Two of Nato's most senior generals are warning Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic that he is risking Nato air strikes over his actions in Kosovo.

Generals Wesley Clark and Klaus Naumann were despatched to Belgrade after Yugoslavia ordered the expulsion of William Walker, head of the international observer mission in Kosovo.

Kosovo Section
Mr Walker had blamed Serbian security forces for a massacre at Racak village, in Kosovo, in which 40 ethnic Albanians were killed.

The US National Security Adviser, Sandy Berger, said the generals were taking a strong message to President Milosevic.

Belgrade Correspondent Jacky Rowland: "Games of double bluff"
He said that if Mr Milosevic continued with "atrocious acts" then he could not see the international community standing by.

The two Nato generals will call on the Mr Milosevic to pull his security forces out of Kosovo, grant access to international investigators and reverse his decision to expel Ambassador Walker.

[ image: William Walker: Persona non grata in Yugoslavia]
William Walker: Persona non grata in Yugoslavia
Mr Walker was given until Wednesday evening to leave Yugoslavia but Western officials say he is likely to sit tight for a few days.

Mr Walker's expulsion - and the killings that preceded it - have been internationally condemned.

US State Department Spokesman James Rubin said the move appeared to be a "transparent attempt to divert attention from the tragic massacre in Racak".

OSCE Chairman Knut Vollabeck's spokesman: "International community behind pressure"
OSCE Chairman Knut Vollebaek told the BBC that the expulsion was totally unacceptable and threatened the whole mission.

Both Nato Secretary-General Javier Solana and US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright said the threat to use military force against Yugoslavia was still active and they were prepared to exercise it.

[ image:  ]
Mrs Albright warned Mr Milosevic that air strikes against Serb positions were still an option if he failed to meet his commitments in Kosovo.

Nato has been ready to launch punitive raids against Serbia since last October, when President Milosevic escaped military action by agreeing to a moratorium on the use of force in Kosovo.

The UK Foreign Sevretary, Robin Cook, said: "The planes remain on 96 hours' notice."

Nato poised

Nato has issued further warnings that the violence in Kosovo must stop.

General Clark said his forces were poised for action if the order was given by Nato governments.

General Wesley Clark: President Milosevic must live up to his commitments
He said he would not want to speculate on the likelihood of action, but added "the plans that were made in October are very much alive".

"Most of the forces are poised and ready should they be called on today. The others are only a few hours away and so this is a very real possibility."

Richard Holbrooke, the US special envoy to the Balkans who brokered the last-minute deal, said on Monday that Yugoslavia and Nato were now on the brink of an "extraordinary emergency". He said the situation was at least as serious as it was when Nato gave the activation order for air attacks last year.

He accused Belgrade of "clear-cut violations" of the October agreements.

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