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Yugoslavia: NATO Defense Ministers Weigh Kosova Options

Brussels, 11 June 1998 (RFE/RL) -- German Defense Minister Volker Ruehe said today that NATO defense ministers are discussing eight alliance options for resolving the Kosova conflict, including air strikes in all of the former Yugoslavia.

Ruehe said the options being reviewed at the Brussels meeting are: suspension of international flights to Yugoslavia; destruction of Yugoslavia's air defenses; creation of an exclusion zone in Kosova for all heavy weapons; use of air forces to enforce the exclusion zone; air strikes in all of Yugoslavia; parachuting men and supplies into Kosova; and, as a last resort, deploying ground troops.

Foreign ministers from major powers -- including Russia and the U.S. -- meet in London tomorrow to discuss political measures to end a Serbian crackdown on separatist Kosovar Albanians.

Meanwhile today the chairman of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), Polish Foreign Minister Bronislaw Geremek, sharply criticized what he called "excessive and indiscriminate use of force" by Serb units in Kosova.

Geremek said the crisis is becoming a threat to international peace and security. He said OSCE monitors and other international observers had produced disturbing reports of a deteriorating situation in Kosova, and of an intensified campaign of destruction by Serb forces of whole towns and villages.

Geremek said he was deeply concerned about the continued flow of refugees driven by violence across the border into Albania.

The Kremlin says Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic will visit Moscow next Monday and Tuesday for talks with Russian President Boris Yeltsin on Kosova.

Yeltsin has joined other major powers in expressing concern at the specter of Kosova escalating into another Balkan war, but is keen to use Russia's influence as a traditional ally of Serbs to resolve the crisis peacefully.