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Wednesday, March 24, 1999 Published at 04:50 GMT


World: Europe

Strike threat dominates press

Nato should strike hard, according to the UK's Daily Mail

Nato's predicted bombing campaign against Belgrade dominates the front pages of most of the world's papers.

El Mundo of Madrid says a war of unforeseen consequences is about to explode in the heart of Europe.

La Vanguardia of Barcelona says once again Richard Holbrooke's desperate mission has crashed against an immoveable object - President Milosevic

Kosovo Section
Le Soir of Brussels says the aim of such an attack is to strike at both the capabilities and the morale of Serbian forces.

And, in its editorial, La Libre Belgique of Brussels says Nato has no reason to pull back from attacking the man it describes as Europe's last dictator. The paper says the alliance should take a risk now to avoid paying the price of inaction later.

Milan's Corriere della Serra says Italy is already reinforcing the south-eastern region of Puglia in anticipation of a Serbian counter attack.

And Rome's La Republica quotes the Italian Foreign Minister Lamberto Dini as warning of an influx of 40,000 refugees from Kosovo.

In Britain, the Daily Mail says Europe is arguably on the brink of its most serious crisis since 1945, adding that there can be no half measures. Nato, it says, has no choice but to strike relentlessly and hard.

But the Express rejects the military option, saying that bombing Serbia from a safe distance will help nobody and will not take the region a centimetre nearer peace.

The Guardian also questions the use of air strikes, saying there may be some historic examples of countries being bombed into submission, but there are none of states which were bombed into co-operation.

An editorial in the Washington Post says even some American officials have acknowledged it is hard to rebut the logic of Milosevic.

The Yugoslavian president complained that the Rambouillet document could not be called an agreement since his signature was demanded on pain of bombing. The paper quotes one administration official as saying: "There isn't much precedent for demanding to dispatch peacekeepers at the point of a gun."

And the New York Times believes that although they publicly endorse bombing, some policymakers in the Clinton administration privately acknowledge that bombing is "not a good option."

The paper adds that air strikes against Serbian forces would embolden the KLA, and strengthen the clamor for independence.

It says Kosovo could change from being the autonomous region envisioned in the Paris peace agreement to an independent state - one that Washington had never bargained for.



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