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Yugoslavia: Heavy Fighting Reported In Kosovo

Pristina, 3 September 1998 (RFE/RL) - Reports from Serbia's Kosovo province say heavy fighting between Serb forces and independence-seeking ethnic Albanians broke out today. The Kosovo Information Center, closely linked to the ethnic Albanian leadership, says Serb forces have launched fresh attacks in the area around Orahovac, 55 kilometers southwest of the provincial capital Pristina. The center also reports new attacks on four villages south of Klina, 50 kilometers from Pristina, and in the border region near Prizren, where fighting erupted three days ago.

Serb sources say ethnic Albanian separatists attacked Serb police units patrolling several main roads in the province.

None of the reports could be independently confirmed.

The renewed fighting comes as diplomats say they've worked out a possible basic framework for peace. U.S. special envoy Christopher Hill said yesterday he'd won agreement from Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic and Kosovo Albanian leader Ibrahim Rugova for an interim accord granting some self-rule to Kosovo's Albanian majority.

U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright said from Vienna today that the agreement is a good "procedural" step toward resolving the crisis in Kosovo.

Albright was in Vienna where she held talks with Austrian leaders on a variety of topics ranging from Kosovo to Russia.

Austrian Foreign Minister Wolfgang Schuessel said there is a glimmer of hope for Kosovo, but cautioned the crisis has not yet been resolved.