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Yugoslavia: Refugee Camps In Macedonia Reach Capacity

Skopje, 27 April 1999 (RFE/RL) - The U.N. refugee agency says Macedonia's refugee camps are now completely full. UNHCR spokeswoman Paula Ghedini told Reuters news agency the camps passed the breaking point last night, after another 3,500 refugees arrived in Macedonia. She said any new arrivals will have to sleep in the open under plastic sheeting. Ghedini also said a new camp in Cegrane for up to 20,000 people is behind schedule and will not be ready to receive refugees until at least Thursday. Even so, busloads of Kosovo refugees crossed into Macedonia this morning, in groups of about 50 at a time. Ahead of them were about 2,500 people who spent the night at a holding camp in Blace. Officials also said a train filled with more ethnic Albanians was due to arrive later in the day.

Meanwhile, Yugoslav Deputy Prime Minister Vuk Draskovic says he believes President Slobodan Milosevic is ready to accept a U.N.-led international peace force in Kosovo.

Draskovic told a news conference in Belgrade he has not discussed the proposal directly with Milosevic. He said he based his remarks on a statement by Russia's special Balkans envoy Viktor Chernomyrdin that Milosevic had agreed to such a force during peace talks last week. Chernomyrdin said the peacekeepers would have to be unarmed.

However, there has been no statement so far from the Yugoslav authorities saying they have agreed to a deployment of an international force in Kosovo.

Draskovic is a former opposition leader who was brought into the government last year. On Sunday, he said in a television interview that NATO has grown stronger and urged Belgrade's leaders to be more realistic.

Britain's top military official, Sir Charles Guthrie, said today that NATO has launched almost 500 attacks in the seven weeks of its air war against Yugoslavia. NATO also today confirmed it hit a TV transmitter on top of a building in Belgrade housing the headquarters of Milosevic's ruling Socialist party. The building, which also houses several local TV and radio stations, was first hit by the alliance last week. NATO war planes overnight also struck at targets in northern and central Serbia, and targeted Pristina airport in the south.