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Monday, January 18, 1999 Published at 21:10 GMT

Yugoslavia denounces OSCE claims

Survivors of the Racak massacre grieve

Yugoslav authorities have accused the OSCE Kosovo Verification Mission chief William Walker going far beyond his mandate.

Leading Serbian politicians accused Mr Walker of distorting events in Kosovo and seeking to wage a campaign of disinformation against Serbia.

[ image: William Walker: Ordered out]
William Walker: Ordered out
Belgrade radio said that the Yugoslav Government rejected as "unfounded, untruthful, and malicious the claim relating to events in the village of Racak - the goal of which is to put the blame on the [Yugoslav] government bodies".

Quoting a government statement, the radio station said: "His (Mr Walker's) activities go far beyond the limits of the OSCE mission chief's mandate.

"The federal government has decided to proclaim William Walker persona non grata, which means that he is obliged to leave the territory of [Yugoslavia] within 48 hours."

War crimes

The government said the International War Crimes Tribunal in The Hague "does not and cannot have any jurisdiction over Kosovo, as the situation there is not a war conflict, but rather involves terrorism and the legitimate right of our state to fight it."

It said: "Representatives of the tribunal may freely come to our country to discuss the implementation of the existing agreement, but they cannot carry out any kind of inspection or investigation in Kosovo."

A regional leader in Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic's Socialist Party of Serbia (SPS), Milan Marinkovic, said Mr Walker had "clearly demonstrated that his principal mission was to blindly implement the goals of the US administration," Belgrade radio reported.

And Slobodan Vermezovic, head of the Zlatibor regional committee of the Yugoslav United Left (JUL), also part of the ruling coalition in Belgrade, said: "Mr Walker is spearheading a new campaign of demonisation of the Serbs."

The hardline nationalist Serbian Radical Party (SRS), issued a statement accusing Western media of launching a campaign "aimed directly against the interests of Serbia and the Serbian people".

BBC Monitoring (, based in Caversham in southern England, selects and translates information from radio, television, press, news agencies and the Internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages.

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