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Yugoslavia: German Chancellor Sees No Diplomatic Breakthrough


Bonn, 29 April 1999 (RFE/RL) - German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder says his talks today with Russia's Balkan envoy Viktor Chernomyrdin did not bring about any breakthrough in the Kosovo crisis. Schroeder rejected Russia's proposal for a UN-led peacekeeping force in Kosovo that would not include any NATO countries. He said NATO must be at the core of any international force that protects returning ethnic-Albanian refugees. NATO confirmed today that a stray missile fired by an alliance warplane destroyed a house in a suburb of the Bulgarian capital Sofia last night. In Macedonia, the interior minister accused United Nations aid workers of irresponsibility for demanding the construction of new refugee camps without considering the impact they were having on the country. He urged that the refugees be airlifted to other countries.

British officials said today they see little chance that Chernomyrdin will be able to persuade Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic to accept NATO's ceasefire conditions when he visits Belgrade tomorrow.

UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, who met Chernomyrdin in Moscow today before the launch of his two-day diplomatic mission, also said he sees little chance of any breakthrough soon.

At the Vatican today, Pope John Paul wrote a letter to Annan praising UN efforts to try to broker a peaceful solution in Kosovo. Chernomyrdin is due to visit Italy later today, but a meeting has not been scheduled with the Pope.

Meanwhile, Macedonia's Interior Minister today accused United Nations aid workers of irresponsibility for demanding the construction of new camps to handle the influx of additional ethnic Albanian refugees from neighboring Kosovo.

Pavle Trajanov, in an interview with Reuters news agency, said it was "totally irresponsible" for the UN to demand new camps without paying attention to the effects huge numbers of Kosovar refugees are having on Macedonian security and stability.

Also today, NATO confirmed that a stray missile fired by an alliance warplane destroyed a house in a suburb of the Bulgarian capital Sofia last night. NATO spokesman Jamie Shea said in Brussels the missile strayed off course after it was fired in self-defense in response to a threat from a Yugoslav surface-to-air missile system. No one was injured.

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