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Monday, April 12, 1999 Published at 10:36 GMT 11:36 UK


World: Europe

Nato weighs up options

Serb television pictures show Pancevo oil refinery burning

Nato's 19 foreign ministers are meeting for the first time since the air war against Yugoslavia began, to assess the campaign's progress and chart their future plans.

Kosovo: Special Report
The meeting in Brussels is expected to let President Slobodan Milosevic know that the alliance is prepared for a long war, and will reject any proposal for compromise.

Albania is calling for Nato intervention after Serbian artillery positions attacked an Albanian border village, killing two civilians.

Tirana, which has handed control of its air space and ports to the alliance commanders, wants Nato to hit Serb artillery that is based within range for further cross-border assaults.


The BBC's Stephen Gibbs: "Nato is again bombing hard"
The Serbs accuse Albania of helping terrorists, its term for the Kosovo Liberation Army.

One new Nato country, Hungary, is coming under heavy pressure from Russia in a row over aid.


Nato spokesman Jamie Shea: "Refugees inside Kosovo are in a precarious situation"
Hungary has refused to let it enter, because it says that the large quantity of diesel fuel it is carrying could be used by the Yugoslav military.

Russia, which says the convoy is loaded with food and medicines, has warned Hungary that their action could damage relations between the two nations.

United Nato

Correspondents say the Nato meeting will be used to send out a message that all member nations support the campaign.


The BBC's Paul Reynolds: "The emphasis on the use of ground troops has changed somewhat"
It is expected to discuss how to help the hundreds of thousands of Kosovo Albanians refugees, as well as a long-term strategy for the stability of the Balkans.

But BBC Defence Correspondent Mark Laity says the use of ground troops in the near future will not be on the agenda.


[ image:  ]
On her way to Brussels, the US Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright, expressed confidence that Nato is united.

"The alliance is wedge-proof," she said.

Mrs Albright also told reporters that the blueprint for the future of Kosovo agreed at the Rambouillet peace talks would have to be reconsidered.

She hinted that Yugoslavia may be able to retain some security forces in Kosovo after the conflict.


Mark Laity: "The war aims have changed"
According to Mrs Albright, another aim of the meeting will be to encourage a Russian role in diplomatic efforts to solve the Kosovo crisis.

She is due to meet Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov in Oslo on Tuesday in an effort to avoid a further deterioration in relations on the Kosovo issue.

Later in the week, European Union heads of government are also expected to meet to discuss Kosovo.

Serbia weakened

Serbian media reported more Nato attacks overnight on Sunday.


The BBC's Janet Barrie: "A split within Nato could be highly damaging"
The targets reportedly included an oil refinery in Pancevo, north-east of Belgrade; a car factory in Kragujevac. Novi Sad, Serbia's second largest city, was also hit.

Yugoslav officials say Nato bombs overnight killed six civilians, including an 11-month-old baby, in the town of Podujevo in Kosovo.

Nato says the bombing campaign has been successful in slowing the Yugoslav military machine.


[ image: KLA resistance continues, says Nato]
KLA resistance continues, says Nato
"Yugoslav armed forces continue to demonstrate signs of wear and tear as a result of our operations," Nato spokesman Jamie Shea told a news conference on Sunday.

"Belgrade is turning wherever it can to identify officers and men that can be called up, " he added.

In addition, he said the Kosovo Liberation Army, which is fighting for the province's independence, was "far from vanquished".


Yugoslav Foreign Ministry advisor Milisov Paic: "It is a mockery to talk about a human catastrophe"
Tony Blair has strongly defended the bombing campaign against Serbia.

Writing in the American magazine, Newsweek, he implied that Nato's critics are like the politicians who appeased Hitler in the 1930s.


The BBC's Mike Williams in Belgrade: "Protection from bad weather is minimal"
International monitors reported that Serbian shells were still hitting the Albanian side of the border on Sunday.

The Albanian authorities earlier reported two Albanian civilians killed and 12 others hurt when Serbian bombs hit the town of Tropoja and nearby Padesh.

And Montenegro, Serbia's junior partner in the Yugoslav Federation, repeated warnings that the Yugoslav army might be planning a coup against its more pro-Western government.

(Click here for map of latest strikes)

Mass grave suspected

Nato officials have expressed growing alarm over reports of atrocities in the province.


[ image: The site of mass graves suspected by Nato]
The site of mass graves suspected by Nato
According to Nato spokesman Jamie Shea, aerial photographs of a site in Pusto Selo, south-west of the Kosovo capital Pristina appear "somewhat similar" to aerial shots of mass graves seen during the war in Bosnia.

His comments were echoed by officials in Washington.

"I suspect ... that we are going to find more and more evidence of mass graves, mass executions, some pretty horrific stories," said the US Defence Secretary William Cohen.

Refugees trapped in Kosovo


Duncan Kennedy reports from Kukes: "No-one knows where her parents are"
According to international monitors, hundreds of thousands of Kosovo Albanians are believed to have fled or been driven from their homes, but unable to make their way out of Kosovo.

And around 100,000 ethnic Albanian men are apparently missing, based on the statistics of those refugees who have crossed the border out of Kosovo since the Nato attacks began.

International monitors have now put the numbers of refugees forced out on Friday and Saturday at around 6,000.

They were forced across the border by Serbian troops into Albania, following a similar exodus of 1,500 people on Friday.

More than 2,000 refugees have also reached Montenegro.


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