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Sunday, May 16, 1999 Published at 11:15 GMT 12:15 UK

World: Europe

Nato: Refugees home by winter

Nato wants refugees home before the harsh Balkan winter sets in

BBC News' Orla Guerin meets refugees in Macedonia
Nato chief Javier Solana has said he wants the Kosovo Albanian refugees home this year, as the US and the UK vow the bombing campaign will continue.

Kosovo: Special Report
Following another night of intense bombing in Yugoslavia, Nato's Secretary-General told the BBC: "It is our wish, and we are doing our best so they can return home as soon as possible, in any case before the winter."

He said he also expected to learn "dramatic facts" of alleged atrocities of ethnic cleansing in Kosovo once international troops had escorted the Kosovo Albanians home.

Then, he said, the full extent of what had happened to Kosovo's ethnic Albanian population would be revealed.

'More determined than ever'

Kevin Connolly reports on the legacy of the human shield bombings
In a joint editorial in Sunday's Washington Post, the UK Foreign Secretary, Robin Cook, and the US Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright, said the "brutality" of President Slobodan Milosevic made them more determined than ever to continue the attacks.

And in the wake of the bombing of the village of Korisa, they also warned that more civilian casualties could result from the Nato campaign as "perfection is unattainable".

Nato bombing in Yugoslavia continued, undeterred by criticism of recent civilian casualties.

(Click here to see a map of the most recent Nato strikes)

Reports said Kosovo had experienced its heaviest attacks of the 54-day campaign.

Nato was also reported to have struck oil and power installations around Belgrade and other Serbian towns.

[ image: Nato says Kosovo experienced its heaviest attacks since the campaign began]
Nato says Kosovo experienced its heaviest attacks since the campaign began
The Yugoslav army has accused Nato of deliberately preventing their withdrawal from Kosovo.

They say the intesified attacks have made it "impossible" to carry out a planned withdrawal of a part of their forces in Kosovo.

"It is obvious Nato ... is doing everything possible to prevent the withdrawal," an army statement said.

Refugees denied food

Several hundred refugees from Kosovo who have arrived in Macedonia over the weekend say many of them were forced to leave because Serb forces would not allow them to buy food in the shops.

Foreign Secretary Robin Cook: Ground troops have been considered from beginning
One woman told UN officials that her father had gone out to buy food and was later found shot dead.

Some of the other refugees said they had been driven from their homes by Serbian police.

The groups arriving over the past two days were the first refugees to arrive in Macedonia since the government temporarily closed the border ten days ago saying it could not cope with a mass influx.

Reports say thousands more are waiting to cross from Kosovo.

Korisa recriminations

Recriminations have been continuing over a Nato attack on the village of Korisa in Kosovo on Friday when more than 80 civilians were killed.

BBC's Mark Laity explains Nato's strategy since the latest civilian killings
Belgrade has accused Nato of deliberately targeting civilians; Washington said it looked as if the refugees had been used as human shields.

The Nato secretary-general said there was evidence that refugees were taken or sent to the village of Korisa, where more than 80 civilians were reported to have been killed.

"Korisa was a command post, there's no doubt about that - a military place ... Suddenly refugees appeared. One can think that the refugees have been used not only militarily but also politically," said Mr Solana.

[ image:  ]
Nato said it had no video footage of the bomb attack because the film in the plane's camera had run out.

BBC Correspondent Jacky Rowland, who visited the village on Saturday, said she saw no evidence of any military equipment in the area although if there had been any it could have been moved before she arrived.

UN team arrives

A UN team heading for Kosovo, arrived in Belgrade on Sunday for the first part of its humanitarian mission to Yugoslavia.

The mission is made up of 16 people from the UN's main agencies as well as the British Save the Children Fund.

Mission spokesman, David Chikraidze, said the team, which would be escorted by Yugoslav police, had been assured access to some of the towns where refugees had spoken of systematic ethnic cleansing.

Italy unease grows

The Italian Prime Minister, Massimo D'Alema, has rejected calls from within his governing coalition to support a ceasefire.

He is coming under serious pressure from parties in his ruling coalition to press Nato to halt air attacks on Yugoslavia with momentum growing for a vote in parliament this week.

There has been further criticism of the bombing campaign after Nato admitted dumping unexploded bombs into the Adriatic Sea. Fishermen have found several in their nets off the coast of Venice.

Italian opposition leaders were planning a peace march to Assissi - the birthplace of St Francis - on Sunday.

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