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Tuesday, June 8, 1999 Published at 00:32 GMT 01:32 UK


World: Europe

Yugoslavs return to Kosovo talks

No deal yet on when western troops will go in

Hopes are rising that a peace deal for Kosovo is nearing completion after frantic diplomatic activity on Monday.

Kosovo: Special Report
A session of the United Nations Security Council has been called in anticipation of a draft resolution being agreed to end the war in Kosovo.

Foreign ministers from the G8 group of nations, which includes Russia, are said to be narrowing their differences on the draft text, but agreement is not expected until Tuesday.


The BBC's Brian Hanrahan: "Its been a test of nerve for Nato and they've held it"
In Yugoslavia, a government minister, Goran Matic, also struck an optimistic note, saying a deal could be signed as early as Tuesday.

Throughout Monday, hopes for the peace settlement have first faded then appeared in reach again.


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The foreign ministers met as Moscow sided with Serbia over who was to blame for the breakdown of the peace talks at Kumanovo in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.

The Kumanovo talks ended with Nato accusing Serbia of trying to negotiate the terms of their retreat from Kosovo, and Serbia accusing Nato of trying to add new conditions to the deal.

Nato said Serbia wanted to keep thousands of troops inside Kosovo - a move which the alliance said would not give refugees the confidence to return home.


Jamie Shea: "An agreement without implementation is not an agreement"
As hopes for significant progress diminished, Nato spokesman Jamie Shea said the door remained open for further peace talks with Yugoslav generals, but not for negotiations.

Late on Monday night talks resumed between the Yugoslav military delegation and Nato representatives in Kumanovo, according to the Itar-Tass agency. Informal 'liaison' talks had continued earlier in the day.

In Bonn, the G8 foreign ministers met, aiming to thrash out the text of a draft resolution to be put before the UN Security Council.


The BBC's John Simpson: I think Milosevic's aim is to try and win back some self respect
The talks were adjourned on Monday evening to allow the Russian delegation time to consult with Moscow.

As the talks continued, Washington was granted its request for a Security Council meeting in anticipation of an agreement, but it was thought unlikely the session would take place without a draft document.

Russian anger

Before the G8 meetings on Monday the Russian Foreign Minister, Igor Ivanov, said Nato was trying to dictate the peace deal.

He said: "Nato is trying to unilaterally say that an international peacemaking force will be based on Nato forces, and have the right to use force.


The BBC's Ben Brown: "Each day that passes without a final peace deal is another day of misery"
"This is the UN Security Council's prerogative and we, the G8 foreign ministers, have come specifically for working out the future Security Council resolution."

He said Nato had raised "the levels of its demands" during the weekend talks at Kumanovo, in Macedonia.

Yugoslavia's Foreign Ministry spokesman, Nebojsa Vujovic, also blamed Nato for the deadlock.

He told Tanjug, the Yugoslav state news agency: "The host delegation tried to include points which would violate the principles of the 10-point political document."


The BBC's John Simpson: I think Milosevic's aim is to try and win back some self respect
The Yugoslav authorities have so far insisted they will not agree to withdraw from Kosovo without a UN Security Council resolution, and that their priority is to defend their territorial integrity.

(Click here to see a map of forces on the ground)

The main areas of dispute were reported to be over the timing of the proposed withdrawal and how many some Serbian forces would be allowed to stay in Kosovo.


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UK Foreign Secretary Robin Cook said the Kosovo peace talks stalled because Yugoslav military commanders insisted on maintaining a contingent of up to 15,000 Serb troops in the province.

He told the BBC: "There can be no suggestion of us slipping in compromises or accepting any retreat from the document they agreed to last week.

"They agreed to the withdrawal of all forces. We want them to proceed now with the withdrawal of all forces."

(Click here to see a map of last night's Nato strikes)


The BBC's George Eykyn says lower level talks have resumed
When the Kumanovo talks failed, Nato commander General Sir Michael Jackson warned air strikes would intensify until Serbia agreed to the peace deal.

Nato military spokesman Maj Gen Jertz added the battle assessments since the failure in Kumanovo indicated Serb forces had suffered "heavy losses" in Kosovo.

Strikes were scaled down after President Slobodan Milosevic said he would accept the joint Western-Russian plan.

US B-52s targeted Yugoslav armed forces near the Morina border crossing from Kosovo into Albania.

Tanjug reported 100 explosions across Kosovo, with intense missile strikes in Pristina, Pec and about 30 other targets.

Kursumlija in Serbia was also hit and bombs smashed television and radio relay towers in the centre of the country.


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