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Sunday, April 4, 1999 Published at 19:38 GMT 20:38 UK

World: Europe

Rugova 'under house arrest'

Faked? This meeting happened two years ago, says Nato

Moderate Kosovo Albanian political leader Ibrahim Rugova's peace talks with Slobodan Milosevic were faked using pictures two years old, Nato has alleged.

Kosovo: Special Report
The military alliance said the Serb Government invented the meeting between Mr Rugova and the Yugoslav president while it actually had him under house arrest in Kosovo's provincial capital Pristina.

Nato spokesman Jamie Shea said that Mr Rugova's home was permanently occupied by Serb security forces and he had no freedom of movement.

In a statement issued last week via Serb authorities, Mr Rugova was reported to have said that he was under police protection.

[ image: Jamie Shea:
Jamie Shea: "Sources revealed Rugova's house arrest"
Quoting unnamed Nato sources who had been in contact with the political leader, Mr Shea said: "We have learnt that his house is permanently occupied by Serb security forces.

"He has no freedom of movement but has to report to the local police station several times a day."

Last week, Mr Rugova appeared on Serbian television allegedly after a meeting in which he said that Nato should stop its bombing of Yugoslavia.

Mr Shea said Nato believed that the television pictures were up to two years old.

Mr Rugova had apparently called for a cessation of violence in Kosovo and not the air strikes, said Mr Shea.

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