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Tuesday, June 8, 1999 Published at 11:15 GMT 12:15 UK

UK Politics

Cook urges peace progress

More British troops are preparing to join the peace-keeping force

UK Foreign Secretary Robin Cook has said the G8 group of industrial nations and Russia will not be able to place a resolution on Kosovo before the UN until "further progress is made".

Mr Cook was speaking as G8 foreign ministers resumed their talks to see if Russia will accept their text of a draft UN Security Council resolution to implement the Kosovo peace agreement.

Kosovo: Special Report
As the talks between Nato and Serbian military remain stalled, Nato renewed its air attacks on the Yugoslav capital, Belgrade, on Monday night.

Mr Cook told the BBC that progress was made at the talks on Monday and said "we managed to resolve many of the difficult points and did manage to find common ground".

But he said no UN Security Council resolution could be passed "until we make further progress on other parts of the peace track".

"But if we can get agreement on this draft ready for adoption then we have a firm basis on which to close on the military technical agreement in Macedonia," he said.

With the talks underway, Foreign Office Minister Tony Lloyd said that although he did not expect the talks to collapse, a successful outcome could "not be guaranteed".

Speaking at a Ministry of the Defence briefing, he told reporters that he "expected that there will be a UN Security Council resolution".

The minister also said if the talks collapse all options for action remain open to Nato.

Also speaking at the briefing, Chief of the Defence Staff General Sir Charles Guthrie said Serb forces inside Kosovo were showing "no signs of ending their senseless acts of violence."

He said Nato air raids were being intensified and added that strikes could take place, "wherever and whenever a need is identified".

Extra troops

Defence Secretary George Robertson is meeting British troops stationed on the Macedonia- Kosovo border on Tuesday.

[ image: George Robertson meets General Jackson in Macedonia]
George Robertson meets General Jackson in Macedonia
On Monday evening, Mr Robertson held discussions with Lieutenant General Sir Michael Jackson, commander of the alliance forces in Macedonia.

Mr Robertson said: "Large numbers of extra troops are now coming into theatre.

"So when the whistle is blown and when diplomacy has produced a military technical agreement then General Jackson will be leading in a highly-motivated, highly-trained and very effective force to bring peace back to this troubled area."

The British Army will have 11,000 troops stationed in Macedonia by Thursday as contingents from the 1st Brigade Parachute Regiment and the Allied Rapid Reaction arrive.

As well as visiting a refugee camp Mr Robertson will also meet the Macedonian deputy prime minister and defence minister.

Tony Blair: "Let us hope the bombing can stop within the next few days"
Speaking on Monday Prime Minister Tony Blair said Nato will remain firm despite recent set backs in reaching an agreement on the Serb withdrawal from Kosovo.

He told the BBC: "I don't think we should ever underestimate the difficulties, but I think the Serbs should not underestimate our total determination to see it through."

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