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Monday, August 2, 1999 Published at 05:43 GMT 06:43 UK


World: Europe

Generals 'clashed over Kosovo raid'

The row was sparked by the surprise arrival of the Russians

The head of the Kosovo peacekeeping force overruled Nato supreme commander General Wesley Clark as allied troops poured into the province because he feared triggering a global conflict, according to a magazine report.

Kosovo: Special Report
"I'm not going to start the Third World War for you," Lieutenant-General Sir Michael Jackson reportedly told the US commander during one heated exchange.

The row, reported by the US magazine Newsweek, erupted after General Jackson refused orders to send an air assault team into Pristina airport to block Russian forces who unexpectedly seized it when the Nato bombardment ended.


[ image: General Jackson was backed by the UK Government]
General Jackson was backed by the UK Government
Both generals sought political backing for their stance but only General Jackson received it.

Trouble flared between the two men as soon as the air strikes ended, Newsweek said.

It said the American general was so anxious to stop the Russians stealing a march on the allies he ordered British and French troops to take the airport.

When General Jackson refused, General Clark asked Admiral James Ellis, in charge of Nato's Southern Command, to position helicopters on the runways to prevent Russian Ilyushin transport aircraft from landing.

However, Admiral Ellis also refused, reportedly saying General Jackson would not like it.

News of the rift comes just days after the announcement that Mr Clark, who oversaw the Nato air campaign, is to step down early from his post.

Anti-Milosevic rallies

In Serbia, opposition coalition Alliance for Change is planning anti-Milosevic protests in various areas including Vojvodina, Pancevo and Valjevo on Monday.

And another opposition group, the Vojvodina Coalition (KV), has called on farmworkers to use tractors to block the main roads linking Belgrade with Pancevo, Zrenjanin and Novi Sad.

They are expected to demand the resignation of Agriculture Minister Nedeljko Sipovac.

Montenegro angers Serbia


[ image: Milo Djukanovic: Redefining relations with Serbia]
Milo Djukanovic: Redefining relations with Serbia
Meanwhile, President Milo Djukanovic of Montenegro, Serbia's smaller partner in Yugoslavia, has called for economic help to help the democratisation of the country.

The pro-Western president arrived in Moscow on Sunday for an official visit amid complaints by Belgrade that it was not consulted.

Mr Djukanovic said he would discuss a redefinition of Montenegro's relations with Serbia.

Russians clash with KLA

There have also been rising tensions in Kosovo itself where Russia has called for urgent measures to curb the Kosovo Liberation Army.


[ image: A Russian soldier checks a Kosovo Albanian's papers]
A Russian soldier checks a Kosovo Albanian's papers
Moscow accused the KLA of threatening the Russian peacekeepers and of carrying out attacks against Serbs.

The row was sparked after comments by KLA political leader, Hashim Thaci, following the brief detention of a senior militia commander on Saturday.


BBC's Orla Guerin: Nato is doing its best to control the tension
Mr Thaci said the KLA general's detention by Russian peacekeepers was a premeditated political act and called for the Russian troops to be brought under Nato control.

Moscow says his comments amount to public and unacceptable threats against the peacekeepers and are ''a deep provocation".

The 3,600 Russian peacekeepers in Kosovo operate as part of K-For in sectors controlled by Nato states, but are not directly under Nato's command.





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