Europe South Asia Asia Pacific Americas Middle East Africa BBC Homepage World Service Education



Front Page

World

UK

UK Politics

Business

Sci/Tech

Health

Education

Sport

Entertainment

Talking Point

In Depth

On Air

Archive
Feedback
Low Graphics
Help

Tuesday, May 18, 1999 Published at 22:16 GMT 23:16 UK


World: Europe

Serb PoWs released

The handover happened at a Hungarian-Yugoslav border post

Two Serb prisoners of war have been released from American custody in Germany and handed back to Yugoslavia.

Kosovo: Special Report
The men were flown to the Hungarian capital, Budapest, before being transferred to the Yugoslav border.

The two men, Boban Milenkovic and Sefko Tairovic, had been captured in Yugoslavia last month by the rebel Kosovo Liberation Army, and handed over to the US military in Albania.

The BBC's correspondent in Budapest, Nick Thorpe, says following the release of three American servicemen by the Yugoslav authorities at the beginning of May, the return of the two Serbs had been widely expected.

But the American authorities have been keen to stress that this was not an exchange but a humanitarian gesture. They also emphasized that, in contrast to the experience of the three Americans in Serbian custody, the two Serbs had been well-treated in American custody in Germany.

Under the Geneva Convention they could have been kept until the end of the armed conflict.

The International Committee of the Red Cross, who mediated the handover, confirmed the men had been well-treated. The Red Cross also checked with them that they wanted to return to Yugoslavia.

The choice of Hungary for the transfer, as the only Nato member country with a border with Yugoslavia, was a sensitive one. The Hungarian government is trying to maintain some degree of normal relations with Yugoslavia, while at the same time fulfilling its obligations to Nato.

Twenty four F-18 attack aircraft were expected to arrive in Hungary next weekend and to participate in raids launched from Hungarian territory, for the first time in the conflict.



Advanced options | Search tips




Back to top | BBC News Home | BBC Homepage | ©




Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East | South Asia



Relevant Stories

18 May 99 | Europe
Refugee train allowed out of Kosovo

18 May 99 | UK
Blair's pledge to refugees

18 May 99 | Europe
Anti-war unrest reported in Serbia

18 May 99 | Europe
Refugees: Lessons from Bosnia

18 May 99 | Europe
Analysis: The search for a diplomatic solution

18 May 99 | Europe
Behind the scenes with the KLA

17 May 99 | Europe
Ground troops or no ground troops?

17 May 99 | Europe
Analysis: Waiting for the Apaches





Internet Links


Nato

Serbian Ministry of Information

Kosovo Crisis Centre

UNHCR Kosovo news

Eyewitness accounts of the bombing

OSCE

Oxfam in Kosovo


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.




In this section

Violence greets Clinton visit

Russian forces pound Grozny

EU fraud: a billion dollar bill

Next steps for peace

Cardinal may face loan-shark charges

From Business
Vodafone takeover battle heats up

Trans-Turkish pipeline deal signed

French party seeks new leader

Jube tube debut

Athens riots for Clinton visit

UN envoy discusses Chechnya in Moscow

Solana new Western European Union chief

Moldova's PM-designate withdraws

Chechen government welcomes summit

In pictures: Clinton's violent welcome

Georgia protests over Russian 'attack'

UN chief: No Chechen 'catastrophe'

New arms control treaty for Europe

From Business
Mannesmann fights back

EU fraud -- a billion-dollar bill

New moves in Spain's terror scandal

EU allows labelling of British beef

UN seeks more security in Chechnya

Athens riots for Clinton visit

Russia's media war over Chechnya

Homeless suffer as quake toll rises

Analysis: East-West relations must shift