Friday, June 18, 1999 Published at 03:28 GMT 04:28 UK
Serb exodus unabated
Serbs leaving Kosovo - a blow to President Milosevic's credibility
Most are heading north to Serbia, while hundreds have fled west into Montenegro, ignoring repeated efforts to persuade them to stay in the province.
Momcilo Trajkovic, chairman of the Serbian Resistance Movement in Kosovo, told a news conference the figure was more than 50,000 and that state institutions were not doing enough to help his community.
(Click here to see a map showing major Serb population centres in Kosovo)
Many Kosovo Serbs have reached provincial towns in Serbia and are being prevented from travelling on to Belgrade.
A BBC correspondent in Belgrade says the exodus from Kosovo is seen as a severe blow to President Milosevic, whose policy was always to defend the Serbs' place in Kosovo.
A prominent member of the Serbian orthodox church, Bishop Artemije, from Prizren, travelled to Pristina under K-For escort with a number of priests and 200 followers.
He said German K-For troops there were not at present able to provide adequate security.
Meanwhile, Serbian Othodox Patriarch Pavle left Belgrade to stay in Pec, the traditional seat of the church in Kosovo, to try to end the Serb exodus.
BBC Religious Affairs Correspondent Jane Little says the Church is assuming a very public role to try to preserve its holy land, which houses hundreds of ancient monasteries.
US State Department spokesman James Foley urged the Serb minority not to flee Kosovo.
Mr Foley also expressed concern about "very disturbing reports" that Kosovo Liberation Army guerrillas had ransacked monasteries and molested a 20-year-old nun.
UK Foreign Secretary Robin Cook warned the Kosovo Albanians from conducting reprisals against the Serbs: "We will not now tolerate ethnic cleansing of the Serb population in Kosovo."
US soldiers in the southeast town of Zegra are reported to have disarmed 160 fighters from the KLA.
A State Department spokesman is due to meet KLA representatives in Macedonia to discuss demilitarisation of the rebels, when the Serb military and police withdrawal is complete.
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