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Yugoslavia: NATO Targets Industrial City; U.S. Seeks Blockade To Halt Oil Shipments

Brussels, 20 April 1999 (RFE/RL) - NATO made a major missile attack during the night on the industrial city of Nis, which is the headquarters of the Yugoslav army command conducting most of the operations in Kosovo. Yugoslav media said the attack lasted 20 minutes but gave few details of the damage caused. In Washington, the State Department says the U.S. is seeking support from its allies for a blockade of Montenegro ports to stop oil supplies entering Yugoslavia. A spokesman said NATO bombers had severely damaged Yugoslavia's own oil-refining capacities but oil was still entering the country by other means.

NATO aircraft also hit at least eight military and industrial targets during the night and are attacking others this morning. NATO said the targets included military installations, lines of commuications and tanks and troops in the field.

According to Yugoslav media, NATO bombed a satellite station at Prilike which is used for international telephone calls, a factory at Valjevo, 80 km south of Belgrade, the Bystrica hydroelectric power plant and an airbase at Batainica.

In Albania and Macedonia, relief organisations said this morning they are worried at the sudden closing of the borders of Kosovo, although thousands of ethnic Albanians are known to be waiting to cross. Only 150 crossed into Albania yesterday in contrast to the tens of thousands at the weekend. None are known to have crossed today.

In Moscow, Russian foreign minister Igor Ivanov is holding talks today with senior officials of an important international muslim organisation, the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC). The OIC generally supports the ethnic Albanian muslims in Kosovo and last week condemned ethnic cleansing in Kosovo.