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

Front Page



UK Politics







Talking Point

In Depth

On Air

Low Graphics

Thursday, May 20, 1999 Published at 23:14 GMT 00:14 UK

World: Europe

Nato bomb hits hospital

Parts of the hospital were reduced to rubble

Serb officials say Nato has killed at least three patients in a Belgrade hospital during the alliance's biggest attack on the city for two weeks.

Kosovo: Special Report
Nato admits a missile aimed at an army barracks in the Dedinje district, which is close to the Dragisa Misovic hospital, went astray.

But the alliance said it had to wait for battle assessments before it could confirm whether the bomb hit the hospital.

BBC Belgrade Correspondent Mike Williams, who visited the scene, said parts of the clinic had been reduced to rubble.

BBC World Affairs Editor John Simpson: "This bomb was the end of a two week lull in Belgrade"
Nato said four planes, each carrying two laser-guided missiles, attacked the barracks but one bomb missed.

Spokesman Jamie Shea said: "One laser bomb failed to guide correctly. We can confirm that it struck the base of the building about 1,500ft from the centre of the target area."

He added Nato is gathering increasing evidence that Serbs are become "war-weary".

Italy has said there should be a bombing pause if a document can be drafted for discussion by the United Nations Security Council.

Children's ward

John Simpson in Belgrade: "The missile trashed the whole building"
The Yugoslav state-run news agency Tanjug said an operating room in the hospital was demolished and that rescuers were evacuating infants and pregnant women from the maternity ward.

Serbian television broadcast footage showing hospital beds overturned and covered in rubble, in what appeared to be a children's ward.

The BBC's Paul Reynolds: "The perception in US media is that Britain is more forward thinking than the USA"
The Swedish ambassador's residence, about 200 metres from the hospital, was also slightly damaged in the attack.

The US and UK have apologised for the damage, which Sweden has called "unacceptable".

Other overnight Nato attacks included targets some 20km southwest of Belgrade: a chemical plant at Baric, a large power station at Obrenovac which serves the capital and large parts of the rest of Serbia, and a water purification station in the town of Makis.

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

[ image:  ]
Nato says it has received accounts of deserting Yugoslav soldiers, increasing unrest in southern Serbia and some successes by the Kosovo Liberation Army.

Spokesman Mr Shea said two battalions had returned to their homes in Krusevac and Aleksandrovac after hearing radio reports of anti-war demonstrations in the towns.

He said some young men in southern Serbia, where more people are being conscripted into the army, were moving to Belgrade in an attempt to avoid the draft.

Mr Shea added: "It's too early to say whether [the desertion] was an isolated incident or part of a trend.

The BBC's Janet Barrie: "A gulf is building up over who should make up the peace keeping force"
"But we know there is mood of war-weariness throughout Yugoslavia, especially in southern Serbia where much of the conscription is taking place."

The former mayor of Belgrade Zoran Djindjic told the BBC that Serb military police have blocked access roads to the town of Krusevac because of the anti-war protests.

He said: "It is not possible to go to the cities. It's a real crisis."

Draft plan

[ image: Dedinje army barracks suffered heavy damage]
Dedinje army barracks suffered heavy damage
Nato is continuing its bombing missions against a backdrop of increased diplomatic activity.

Russia's Balkan envoy, Viktor Chernomyrdin, is briefing his US counterpart and the Finnish president, his contact point with the European Union, on his negotaiations in Yugoslavia.

Mr Chernomyrdin spent seven hours with Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic discussing a draft peace plan proposed by the G8 group of nations, made up of Russia and the seven top industrialised countries.

Mr Chernomyrdin, who said there had been a "stride forward" in the diplomatic efforts to find peace, will resume talks in Belgrade on Monday.

BBC Moscow Correspondent Andrew Harding: "Positive spin not matched with concrete progress"
President Milosevic said that he accepted the principles of the G8's Kosovo peace plan but demanded details must be negotiated directly with the UN.

That would appear to fall short of one of the Western conditions for halting the eight-week bombing campaign - an unequivocal acceptance of the international plan.

Security Council

The G8 is also working on a resolution to be discussed by the UN Security Council.

BBC Diplomatic Correspondent Barnaby Mason: "Serious and sustained effort"
Italian Prime Minister Massimo D'Alema said there should be a pause in military action of up to 72 hours if the text of the draft resolution can be agreed.

G8 officials will meet again on Friday to continue trying to draft the much-delayed resolution for a political solution.

The German representative said problems remain on the composition of an international military force for Kosovo, and the sequence of events leading to its deployment.

The BBC's Nick Childs: "Nato can still not confirm what happened"
Britain and the US intend to put on a united front on Thursday as UK Foreign Secretary Robin Cook travels to Washington for meetings with US officials.

The two countries are reported to be divided over whether to pursue a more aggressive approach to Kosovo, including the deployment of ground forces.

Mr Cook will hold a number of joint TV appearances with US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, and he said: "I hope that will rebut some of the speculation about splits or lack of resolve."

Other top stories

[ image:  ]

(Click here to return)

Advanced options | Search tips

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

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

Relevant Stories

20 May 99 | UK Politics
'No closer allies' than UK and US

20 May 99 | Europe
Nato's nuclear no-fly zone

20 May 99 | Europe
Desertion: Lessons of wars past

20 May 99 | Europe
Nato's bombing blunders

20 May 99 | Europe
Fighting for a foreign land

20 May 99 | Monitoring
'Mankind will never forget' hospital bombing

19 May 99 | Europe
'Desertions' hit Serb forces

19 May 99 | Europe
US produces 'proof' of massacre

19 May 99 | Europe
Annan sees refugee crisis first-hand

18 May 99 | Europe
Nato strains over ground troops

Internet Links

UNHCR Kosovo news

Eyewitness accounts of the bombing


Oxfam in Kosovo


Serbian Ministry of Information

Kosovo Crisis Centre

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