Friday, April 23, 1999 Published at 06:04 GMT 07:04 UK
Blair pledges Balkans aid
Tony Blair: Success is only strategy Nato is considering
UK Prime Minister Tony Blair has called for a massive aid package to rebuild the Balkans once the crisis in Kosovo has been resolved.
His comments came as Nato cautiously welcomed news from Russia that the Yugoslav leader has agreed on the need for an "international presence" in Kosovo.
"We will not have succeeded until an international force has entered Kosovo and allowed the refugees to return to their homes," he said. "Milosevic will have no veto on the entry of this international force."
The prime minister stressed the necessity of working on what comes after the Nato success in Kosovo.
Reports on Friday said Nato is devising a $15bn aid package to ensure stability in the Balkans.
Mr Blair also urged support for a "democratic, outward-looking, prosperous Russia".
Russian envoy Viktor Chernomyrdin said Belgrade was ready to accept an "international presence" in Kosovo under the control of the United Nations, after he met Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic.
Mr Chernomyrdin gave no details on the nature of the proposed international presence, nor whether it would be an armed force.
He added that such a force should contain troops from other Slavic nations such as Ukraine and Russia.
A statement from Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic's office, however, made no mention of any international force and gave no indication the Yugoslav leader had softened his hard-line stance.
But they say if President Milosevic does support such a proposal it could represent a significant move forward. Until now he has refused to accept foreign troops on Yugoslav territory.
US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright confirmed the decision at a joint news conference with UK Foreign Secretary Robin Cook in Washington on Thursday.
Military commanders were instructed by Nato Secretary-General Javier Solana to revive plans for a ground intervention in the province.
Current estimates suggest 200,000 Nato troops would be needed for a full-scale invasion of Yugoslavia while only 75,000 would be needed for a limited campaign in Kosovo.
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