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Thursday, June 24, 1999 Published at 23:13 GMT 00:13 UK

World: Europe

Kosovo plea to end ethnic violence

US troops watch over Zegra, after a shootout which killed one Serb

Nato's Secretary-General Javier Solana has called for racial tolerance in Kosovo.

Kosovo: Special Report
He was speaking as Serbs and Kosovo Albanians continued to clash in a number of the province's cities.

In the latest incident, K-For troops were sent to investigate three separate violent clashes in the capital, Pristina.

British soldiers have also arrested a Serb alleged to have been involved in a massacre of 43 ethnic Albanians in the village of Slovinia.

[ image: The people of Kosovo welcomed the Nato delegation]
The people of Kosovo welcomed the Nato delegation
Mr Solana was speaking in Pristina after talks with leaders from both communities, who he said shook hands and agreed to continue meeting.

He said: "Peace is more than the end of violence. It is a culture of democracy and a culture of tolerance."

He called on all Kosovo Albanians to seize the opportunity to create a truly multi-ethnic society in the province.

Mr Solana was accompanied on his visit to the province by Nato Commander General Wesley Clark, who called on K-For to speed up its deployment in Kosovo.

Gen Clark said troops that have been committed need to come "as quickly as possible".

Clashes continue

The call for a multi-ethnic democracy came as K-For troops reported a shootout between Serbs and Kosovo Albanians in Pristina's main hospital.

John McIntyre reports: "Persuading the Serbs is still proving a huge problem"
The incident, in which a guard and a nurse were wounded, was a continuation of an earlier gun battle between a Kosovo Albanian refugee family returning to their Pristina apartment, and the Serb family that had occupied it in their absence.

The bodies of three men, including a Serb professor, were earlier found battered to death in the Serb-run economics department at Pristina's university.

Troops in Pristina have also beaten off a group of Albanians who tried to take over the radio station.

Mr Solana said earlier that with Mr Milosevic in power, the Serbian people could not enjoy "integration into the Euro-Atlantic community".

He said Mr Milosevic was "the embodiment of what has made the Balkans so unstable for so long".

Refugees returning

Conditions for the returning refugees are improving, according to the United Nations refugee agency, UNHCR.

Three of Kosovo's main cities - Pristina, Prizren, and Urosevac - are reported to be safe for returning Kosovo Albanians.

The agency's envoy to the Balkans, Dennis McNamara, said the UNHCR would organise transport to those cities from refugee camps outside Kosovo.

More than 200,000 ethnic Albanians have returned home since the end of the conflict, ignoring warnings about landmines, booby traps and unexploded weapons in the province.

The war in Kosovo

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