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Wednesday, March 31, 1999 Published at 23:18 GMT 00:18 UK


World: Europe

Kosovo Albanian leader 'alive and well'

Mr Rugova says he is living under Serbian police protection

A senior Kosovo Albanian political leader, Ibrahim Rugova, has given an interview at his home in Pristina, to dispel rumours that he had been killed or imprisoned.

Kosovo: Special Report
Mr Rugova said he was living under the protection of the Serbian police.

Fears had been expressed for his safety after reports that a number of moderate Kosovo Albanian politicians and human rights workers had been rounded up.

Asked what he thought about the Nato bombing raids, aimed at forcing the Yugoslav leadership to accept the Kosovo peace plan signed by Mr Rugova and his colleagues, he said: "The bombing must stop. Everything should stop."

Mr Rugova did not expand on his remark.

The BBC's World Affairs Correspondent, Nick Childs, says it is not clear how these remarks are likely to be interpreted outside Kosovo, given the circumstances under which they were apparently made.

Nato governments have argued that there is overwhelming support for the air strikes amongst Kosovo Albanians.

Doubts over other 'dead'

Nato reported on Monday the execution by Belgrade of a number of other prominent Kosovo Albanians - including Fehmi Agani, a key adviser at the Rambouillet peace talks, and Baton Haxhiu, the Koha Ditore newspaper's editor-in-chief.

There is now uncertainty about their fate, after General Wesley Clark said there was no confirmation of Fehmi Agani's death, only reports from a number of sources.

Reuters news agency quotes unnamed US diplomatic and Kosovo Albanian sources saying they believe that the two men are alive.



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