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Saturday, June 5, 1999 Published at 12:22 GMT 13:22 UK

World: Europe

Q & A: What's in the deal?

After 10 weeks of Nato air strikes, Yugoslav officials and the state-controlled media presented the deal as a triumph.

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However, opposition politicians have claimed the agreement is much worse for Serbia than that on offer at the Rambouillet and Paris peace talks earlier in the year.

The BBC's Southeast Europe Analyst, Gabriel Partos, compares the new outline deal with the Rambouillet peace plan.

Q: Is Serbia pulling out more troops than Rambouillet required?

Kosovo: Special Report
A: Rambouillet may have been formulated as an ultimatum - the key issues of military implementation were non-negotiable - but it was not designed as a military surrender, which the new deal resembles in many ways.

Under Rambouillet, the Yugoslav army would have had six months to stage an orderly withdrawal; and 2,500 troops would have been allowed to stay on border control and related functions.

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The Serbian police would have had up to two years to leave Kosovo, prior to the formation of a multi-ethnic community police.

Now Yugoslav and Serb forces will be required to beat a hasty retreat - a total withdrawal from Kosovo within a week of the deal starting to be implemented. A few hundred personnel may be allowed back at a later stage to carry out duties along the border and look after Serbian monuments.

Q: Is Serbia still opposed to the deployment of foreign troops on its territory?

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A: Rambouillet envisaged the deployment of a Nato-led force, authorised by the UN Security Council, to help guarantee peace and security. The new deal includes what's called "essential Nato participation" under UN auspices but it is vague as to which organisation would actually be in charge of the unified command structure.

In an appendix to Rambouillet it was also stated that Nato would have unrestricted rights of access throughout Yugoslavia, a requirement since highlighted by some commentators as a major concession which Belgrade could not agree to. The new outline agreement, as a brief statement of principles, does not go into the same level of detail, and it is unclear whether there would be a similar requirement.

There's expected to be a sizeable Russian contingent; and if it were to be deployed in its own separate area, it might create conditions for some kind of partitioning of Kosovo. Nato would want a structure that's similar to Bosnia where Nato and Russian peacekeepers have worked well together.

Q: What about the size of the force?

A: The proposed size of implementation force has increased from 28,000 to around 50,000 to deal with additional tasks made necessary by the recent bombing and fighting on the ground - the return of refugees, mine-clearing and the rebuilding of essential bridges, roads and buildings.

Q: What will happen to the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA)?

A: Rambouillet set a four-month deadline for disarming the Kosovo Albanian fighters; now there's still a requirement for the demilitarisation - but no timetable. However, with a total Serbian withdrawal planned within a matter of days, peacekeepers already stationed in Macedonia would have to move in straight away to prevent possible KLA revenge attacks on Serbs.

Q: Who will be in charge in Kosovo?

A: Rambouillet called for a nine-month interim administration to be run with the help of the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE).

This was meant to lead to elections for Kosovo's new democratic institutions giving the province a considerable degree of self-government, as demanded by the ethnic Albanian majority, while also ensuring power-sharing and protection for minority communities, primarily the Serbs.

The new deal leaves the decision on the interim administration to the UN Security Council. But it adds that the political process should take into full consideration the Rambouillet accords. And the expectation is that the Rambouillet scheme is likely to determine the shape of Kosovo's new institutions.

Q: What about Kosovo's future status?

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A: Rambouillet was meant to be a three-year interim settlement after which an international conference was expected to decide on Kosovo's long-term future, taking into account the wishes of the local population.

This was an implicit reference to a possible referendum - long demanded by Kosovo Albanians who want independence for Kosovo - but it did not mean in any way that the results of a referendum or public consultation would be the only factor in deciding Kosovo's status.

Rambouillet's preamble made a clear reference to the international community's commitment to preserving Yugoslavia's territorial integrity. The new deal reaffirms this commitment to Yugoslavia's borders; and it mentions no deadline for sorting out Kosovo's future. But it may yet follow the Rambouillet timetable.

Q: What will happen to the refugees?

A: The new deal calls for the safe return of all refugees. Since Rambouillet nearly 900,000 Kosovo Albanians have fled abroad; many others are displaced within Kosovo itself.

The withdrawal of Serbian forces is expected to encourage the Kosovo Albanians to return to their homes - though some of them feel apprehensive about going back to areas where Russian troops are expected to be deployed. Many of Kosovo's nearly 200,000-strong Serbian community may flee as Serbian forces pull out of the province.

Q: Why has Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic accepted a deal that is much worse than Rambouillet?

A: Ten weeks of Nato air strikes on Yugoslavia have taken their toll. President Milosevic may have hoped that Nato's unity would crack or that he might receive some support from Russia. Neither of these expectations has come true.

It may be easier to give in now - after Serbia has shown it's prepared to resist a powerful enemy - than to have done so without a fight. In any case, Serbian officials are trying to portray the deal as a triumph, though this is hardly borne out by any comparison with the Rambouillet accords. So the official line may not persuade many Serbs.

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