London, 2 October 1998 (RFE/RL) - Britain's defense secretary today reiterated western warnings that Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic must end a crackdown in Serbia's Kosova province or face possible NATO intervention. George Robertson warned that "the clock is ticking for Milosevic." He said that if the Yugoslav leader does not comply with a UN resolution demanding an end to the crackdown on the province's ethnic-Albanian majority, NATO forces are capable and willing to act.
On a visit to Yerevan today, NATO Secretary-General Javier Solana said the alliance is prepared to launch air strikes against Serbian forces in Kosova. But he said any possible strikes would come after another meeting of the UN Security Council scheduled for Monday.
Solana told reporters in the Armenian capital Yerevan that he "supports completely" the Security Council's resolutions and statements demanding that Milosevic stop the Serbian offensive in Kosova and start a dialogue with ethnic-Albanians.
Solana arrived in Yerevan yesterday for talks with Armenian leaders.
The U.N. Security Council early today strongly condemned the recent reported massacres of ethnic-Albanian civilians in Kosova. In a statement, the council called on Milosevic to investigate, identify and punish those responsible. The council also expressed concern that fighting is continuing despite international demands that it cease, and despite Belgrade's claims that it had ended.
The Security Council postponed discussion of possible international military action until next week, after a report on Kosova is due to be delivered by U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan. Russia and China -- permanent council members -- reject the use of force to end the conflict and could veto any such resolution.
NATO officials say plans for air strikes are ready. But it remains unclear whether NATO member nations are prepared to act without a specific UN mandate.
Diplomats of the six-nation Contact Group, which includes five NATO members and Russia, are due to discuss Kosova today in London.