Europe South Asia Asia Pacific Americas Middle East Africa BBC Homepage World Service Education



Front Page

World

UK

UK Politics

Business

Sci/Tech

Health

Education

Sport

Entertainment

Talking Point
On Air
Feedback
Low Graphics
Help

Thursday, April 23, 1998 Published at 19:50 GMT 20:50 UK


Serb 'no' to foreign mediation in Kosovo

Turnout of the referendum was about 73%

Voters in Serbia have massively rejected accepting international mediation to help resolve the conflict in the mainly Albanian province of Kosovo.

The electoral commission said that nearly 95% of those who took part in Thursday's referendum opposed letting Western-led organizations, like the six-nation Contact Group, intercede in the province.

The commission says the turnout among the 7.2 million registered voters had been about 73%.

The referendum was boycotted by Kosovo's ethnic Albanians, who make up 90% of the two million strong population of the southern province.


[ image: Milosevic:
Milosevic: "This is for Serbia to decide about Serbia"
The ruling parties in Serbia ran a campaign in the state media, using nationalistic slogans to urge people to vote "no" to foreign intervention.

After casting his vote, President Milosevic said: "This referendum is for Serbia to decide about Serbia."

The BBC correspondent in Belgrade says many Serbs regard the international community with deep suspicion. They fear Kosovo will split from Serbia if they allow outsiders to get involved, despite reassurances from Western officials that they are not in favour of an independent Kosovo.


Aleksej Zoric of the BBC Serbian Service: "The referendum will give Mr Milosevic a stronger hand." (1'58")
Western governments have urged Serbia to consider greater automony for Kosovo.

The Kosovo Albanians are refusing to participate in any negotiations until foreign mediators are present.

Yugoslav army killed 16 Albanians

Meanwhile, the Yugoslav army has confirmed reports that its troops killed 16 people in Kosovo, in the latest outbreak of violence in the mainly Albanian province. Earlier reports put the number at more than 20.

The army said the 16 were killed on Thursday as they tried to enter Kosovo from Albania. It described them as armed infiltrators who had been undergoing training in military camps in Albania.

Yugoslavia has frequently accused Albania of supporting armed groups into Kosovo.


[ image:  ]
A military statement said that in the largest incursion, around 200 armed men were scattered in a firefight near the border village of Kosare.

However, Albanian sources gave a different account. The Albanian news agency, ATA, said Serbian security forces attacked a number of mainly-ethnic Albanian villages with artillery fire causing the population to flee.

The agency quoted a spokesperson from the Democratic League of Kosovo, saying most of the population of more than 50,000 people in the region of Decani had fled.

The reports follow indications of a build-up of Yugoslav forces near the Albanian border.



Advanced options | Search tips




Back to top | BBC News Home | BBC Homepage | ©


Relevant Stories

09 Mar 98 | Kosovo
Kosovo: History of a troubled region

09 Mar 98 | Kosovo
Kosovo: Chronology of recent events

03 Mar 98 | Kosovo
Kosovo: Key facts and background

23 Apr 98 | Monitoring
The Serbian referendum: key quotes

23 Apr 98 | Despatches
Kosovo referendum 'a foregone conclusion'

22 Apr 98 | Despatches
Kosovo Serbs 'driven out'

01 Apr 98 | Kosovo
Kosovo: UN's New Arms Embargo

13 Mar 98 | Europe
EU launches Kosovo initiative

04 Mar 98 | Kosovo
Kosovo Liberation Army emerges from the shadows

02 Mar 98 | Analysis
Kosovo: A new Yugoslav crisis?





Internet Links

Federal Republic of Yugoslavia

Serbian Government

Albanian-Kosovo Website

Council of the European Union


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.




In this section

Winter halts search for Kosovo victims

Prominent Serb shot in Kosovo

K-For 'lacks will' to protect Serbs

Nato chief: No single ethnic Kosovo

US general condemns French 'red card'

Losing Kosovo but keeping power: Sloba and Mira

Nato embassy attack 'not deliberate'

Serbian opposition settle differences

From Sci/Tech
Balkans environment 'seriously damaged'

UN chief makes first Kosovo visit

Kosovo mass grave uncovered

Aid linked to Milosevic removal

New K-For leader looks to rebuild

Freed Britons arrive home

Violence flares in Kosovo

Draskovic attends crash victim's funeral

Kosovo mass grave unearthed

Kosovo Gypsies stranded on border

Yugoslavia slams KLA deal

Nato assesses Kosovo lessons

Montenegro sues for 'coup'

From Health
Babies die in Kosovo aftermath

Pope calls for Balkan harmony

Kosovo Corps - an army for Kosovo?