Voices against the war in Kosovo 
Voci contro la guerra in Kosovo 
Home | News  | Analysis | Search | Links
NATO, YUGOSLAVIA SIGN AGREEMENT ON WITHDRAWAL FROM KOSOVO ...
June 9, 1999
KUMANOVO, Macedonia (CNN) -- Yugoslav and NATO generals signed an agreement late Wednesday on the withdrawal of Serb troops from Kosovo, following a marathon session of intense talks near the Yugoslav-Macedonian border.
Senior NATO commander Lt. Gen. Michael Jackson said Yugoslavia had agreed to a "phased, verifiable and orderly withdrawal from Kosovo" that would allow for a peacekeeping force to enter the province and provide a "secure environment" there.
Jackson said once the Serbs have begun a verifiable, initial withdrawal, NATO would suspend its bombardment of Yugoslavia.
In a surprise move that led up to the announcement, Yugoslav military officials -- who left talks with NATO generals on Serb troop withdrawals to consult with Belgrade -- returned Wednesday for more discussions after less than an hour away.
NATO spokesman Lt. Col. Robin Clifford had said earlier that the talks were adjourned and would begin again Thursday. He said the difficulties facing the two sides were more political in nature than military, but did not elaborate.
After their return, Clifford said the Yugoslavs had received "fresh instructions" from Belgrade.
As the Yugoslav delegation made its way back to the air base at Kumanovo, where the latest round of talks convened Tuesday, German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer said in Cologne that the G-8 ministers had dropped a condition blocking Yugoslavia's acceptance of the agreement.
He said Yugoslavia had balked at a sentence saying that an international peacekeeping force would enter Kosovo within 24 hours of a withdrawal by Serb forces. That sentence was dropped.
Fischer indicated the move should clear the way for a rapid sequence of events leading to a Serb pullout, a bombing halt after 11 weeks of airstrikes and the dispatch of an international force to Kosovo.
End of bombing tied to troop withdrawal
Members of the Yugoslav delegation twice before left the talks to consult with Belgrade. A previous round of discussions over the weekend broke off early Monday morning.
NATO has said the signing of a military/technical agreement on Serb troop withdrawal is the next step toward peace in the troubled Kosovo province. Once the agreement is signed and NATO can verify that Yugoslav forces are leaving the region, the bombing campaign against Yugoslavia will be suspended.
In the absence of an agreement for troop withdrawal, NATO said there was no reason to halt the bombing.
"Air operations continue," said NATO spokesman Jamie Shea. "Nobody has taken any decision to halt them or suspend them yet, because we haven't yet seen any withdrawal of the Serb forces."
CNN's Patricia Kelly reported that NATO pilots had been told to avoid strategic targets in Serbia for the time being, and instead focus on Serb forces and equipment engaged in ground fighting in Kosovo.
Yugoslavs want quick entry of peacekeepers
NATO has given in to one Yugoslav demand, said CNN Military Affairs Correspondent Jamie McIntyre. Serb forces will be allowed more than one week to get out of Kosovo. But the alliance warned the Yugoslav military that it must get its 40,000 troops out quickly, using designated staging areas, retreat routes and exit points to ensure they are not attacked by NATO or the Kosovo Liberation Army.
Fearing attack by the KLA, Yugoslavia wants the peacekeepers to enter Kosovo close behind the Serb departure to avoid a security vacuum. NATO said its force was prepared to begin movement within four hours of Serb withdrawal, and has gotten assurance from the KLA that it will not attack retreating Serbs.
Other key issues in the military agreement, sources said, were the timetable for the withdrawal and a Serb request to maintain a presence along the Kosovo border.
Albright said that the Serbs would likely be allowed to post a few of their troops along the border as observers, but under no circumstances would they be allowed to control the return of ethnic Albanian refugees to their homes.
"They can't have control over who comes back in," the secretary said. "The control of the border will be done by the civilian implementation force. They are the ones that are going to be checking the papers."
Papers reportedly taken from the ethnic Albanians by Serb troops have been reissued by the U.N. refugee agency, Albright added.
Another major issue is the location of Serb land mines in Kosovo. NATO hopes that Yugoslavia will either hand over maps of the mines' locations or take the mines with them when they go.
U.N. prepares to consider resolution
NATO officials said they have seen some signs that Yugoslavia may be preparing to withdraw some troops. And Yugoslavia said it had withdrawn one Serb police unit from Kosovo.
"I can tell you that we have noticed that in certain areas Serb forces have slowed down their operations in recent days and have begun grouping for what may be a withdrawal," Shea said. "It's not enough for the Serbs to simply withdraw some units or say that they are withdrawing. We have to know if it's going to be a full verified withdrawal."
Foreign ministers of the G-8 nations hammered out a deal Tuesday to pave the way for peace in Kosovo. That deal involved a carefully planned sequence of events designed to appease all sides.
The deal called for Yugoslavia to begin withdrawing troops, which would signal NATO to stop the bombing campaign. With the bombs silent, the U.N. Security Council would consider a resolution approved by the G-8 sending in peacekeeping troops. Once the resolution was approved, the peacekeeping force would enter Kosovo.
China has threatened to add amendments to the resolution when it comes up for consideration. But Western diplomats say the amendments won't fly, and believe China will abstain from voting rather than use its veto power.
PRISTINA - NATO aircraft targeted with 13 projectiles the Orahovac, Dragas and Gora municipalities in Kosovo and Metohija Wednesday morning and afternoon.
The village of Rogovo near Orahovac was hit by three projectiles at around 7.30 a.m. local time, the Provincial Emergency Centre said.
The area between Plajnik and Kosalce in the Dragas municipality was targeted with five projectiles in two waves. The first attack with three projectiles was launched at 8 a.m. local time and the second at 9.30 a.m. local time.
Five projectiles were launched on the village of Bljac in the Gora municipality at around 3.30 p.m. local time.
NATO DROPS 102 MISSILES ON KOSOVO AND METOHIJA DURING 8 HOURS
PRISTINA, Serbia - NATO warplanes on Tuesday bombed Kosovo and Metohija with 102 missiles from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. local time.
Targeted were the districts of Kosovska Mitrovica, Dragas, Prizren, Urosevac, Srbica and Pec.
In the region of Kosovska Mitrovica alone, NATO fired over 50 missiles in five air raids, the provincial media centre said.
From 12.15 - 12.22 p.m. seven missiles were launched on the area between Kosovska Mitrovica and Srbica. Ten minutes later, three missiles hit the Kosovska Mitrovica suburb of Bair.
In that same district, between 12.38 - 12.50 p.m., 14 missiles were dropped on the villages Brabonic and Vrbnica and 26 missiles on the Gornje Zabare village.
In Tuesday's final air raid on this district at 1 p.m., two more missiles were launched on Brabonic.
The Dragas district also came under heavy NATO bombardment. Between 11.50 a.m. - 1.20 p.m. the villages of Plajnik and Kosavce were hit by 26 missiles.
In the Prizren district, targeted were Mt. Pastrik and the village of Planeja. Mt. Pastrik, which the aggressors have been targeting on a 24 hour-basis, was hit at 4.19 p.m. with six missiles and 12 minutes later with four more. Planeja was hit by six missiles during the first attack on Mt. Pastrik.
In the region of Urosevac, NATO warplanes carried out two attacks. During the first, from 11.12 - 11.15 a.m., fired were two missiles, in the second, 12 missiles were launched on the village of Bazdarana, near Urosevac on the road to Kacanik.
At 4.32 a NATO missile was fired on the region of Mt. Sara.
At 6.50 p.m., NATO fired three missiles on the region of the village of Gorazdevac, near Pec.
NATO AGAIN RAIDS PLANEJA VILLAGE IN SERBIA'S KOSOVO-METOHIJA
BELGRADE - NATO planes again on Tuesday night shelled the village of Planeja near Prizren, in the southwest of the Yugoslav republic of Serbia's Kosovo-Metohija province, the Serbian civil defence command said.
Three detonations rocked the village in the space of an hour, starting at around 11 p.m.
Planeja had been raided also shortly after 4 p.m., when it was hit with six missiles
|= [in Italian]|