Wednesday, January 20, 1999 Published at 00:51 GMT
Milosevic defies Nato pressure
Serbian police have been in action again in Racak
Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic has vowed to continue fighting "terrorists" in Kosovo.
The statement was issued shortly after a meeting with two senior Nato generals who delivered a strong message calling for Yugoslav restraint.
Yugoslav state and independent media reported that William Walker, head of the international observer mission in Kosovo, would be allowed to remain in the country for a further 24 hours.
The Yugoslav authorities had originally ordered that he leave the country by Wednesday evening.
Generals Wesley Clark and Klaus Naumann flew to Belgrade after Yugoslavia ordered the expulsion of Mr Walker.
But as they returned to Brussels, where they will brief Nato ambassadors on Wednesday about the talks, Mr Milosevic's office issued its statement. It defended Yugoslavia's "legitimate right to fight terrorism".
The statement added that "this right cannot be taken away from our country by any kind of outside pressure".
The two generals had warned Mr Milosevic he was risking Nato air strikes over his actions in Kosovo.
"The two generals will tell us about Mr Milosevic's intentions - whether he is prepared to back down or whether he is hell bent on a course of confrontation."
US National Security Adviser Sandy Berger said that if Mr Milosevic continued with "atrocious acts" then he could not see the international community standing by.
The two Nato generals also called on Mr Milosevic to grant access to international investigators and reverse his decision to expel Ambassador Walker.
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".
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.
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 Secretary, Robin Cook, said: "The planes remain on 96 hours' notice."
General Clark said his forces were poised for action if the order was given by Nato governments.
The US, UK and Italy have said they are ready to contemplate air strikes and France has said military action cannot be ruled out.
But Russia and a number of Nato countries have voiced varying degrees of opposition.