Pristina, 2 March 1999 (RFE/RL) - Correspondents say Yugoslav army forces today launched tank and artillery attacks against ethnic Albanian fighters in Kosovo near the border with Macedonia. Beatrice Lacoste, a spokeswoman for the OSCE's Verification Mission in
Kosovo, told RFE/RL that the reports are coming from a transport corridor NATO ground troops had been expected to use if they entered Kosovo -- either as part of a peacekeeping force or to help evacuate unarmed monitors.
Lacoste said the OSCE mission is not immediately able to confirm any reports
of fighting today. But she said Yugoslav army forces have been concentrating
tanks and artillery in recent days at the General Jokovic Bridge, about five
kilometers from the Macedonian border.
She also said Yugoslav troops had wired the bridge with explosives within the
last 10 days.
The Associated Press quotes Yugoslav army sources as blaming ethnic Albanians
for today's fighting, saying separatist fighters launched an attack before
dawn to secure a corridor to Macedonia.
for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees noted that some 3,000 displaced
persons are crowded into the border town of Jankovic and hundreds more are
living rough in nearby woods. He added that "this is the first case in some
time where people are staying in the open."
The Serbian Media Center also reports fresh fighting today about 45
kilometers west of Pristina. The ethnic Albanian-run Kosovo Information Center
also is reporting fighting on Mount Cicavica, about 15 kilometers west of
Lacoste said there have been fresh deployments of Serb forces in both areas
in the last week. She said OSCE monitors have confirmed that Belgrade has been
moving anti-aircraft artillery into Kosovo for possible use against threatened
Earlier today, the Kosovo Liberation Army's political representative, Adem
Demaci, resigned in a move that could clear the way for ethnic Albanians to
sign the Contact Group's autonomy plan for Kosovo. Belgrade still refuses to
allow NATO troops within Yugoslav territory to police an agreement.