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Thursday, February 18, 1999 Published at 16:32 GMT


Britons warned over Serbia

British soldiers: Training for peace keeping duties

British nationals have been advised not to travel to Yugoslavia and all non-essential embassy staff are being withdrawn from Belgrade.

The decision by the Foreign Office follows the threat of Nato airstrikes against military targets in the region unless Serbs and ethnic Albanians reach a peace deal over the troubled province of Kosovo by Saturday.

In an article for the Serbian press, UK Foreign Secretary Robin Cook and his French counterpart and talks co-chairman Hubert Vedrine told the Serbs "do not get this choice wrong" and warned of "far reaching consequences" if a solution was not reached.

'Hands off'

International tension has increased as the peace talks in the French town of Rambouillet falter, despite intense diplomatic pressure.

Russia's President Boris Yeltsin warned the United States to keep its "hands off" Kosovo after the US deployed extra aircraft in the region.

US Defence Secretary William Cohen decided to send more than 50 extra aircraft - including 12 Stealth fighter-bombers - to Europe in case of possible Nato air strikes against Belgrade.

The increased US threat of force has been backed up by Nato Secretary-General Javier Solana.

He has warned that Nato would act "very soon" if Serbs and ethnic Albanians failed to reach a peace deal.

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18 Feb 99 | Europe
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