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Yugoslavia: Government, Parliament Accept Peace Plan

Belgrade, 3 June 1999 (RFE/RL) - The Yugoslav government and the Serbian parliament today accepted an international peace plan for Kosovo. The plan calls for the pullout of Yugoslav military, paramilitary, and police forces from Kosovo; the deployment of an international peacekeeping force under UN auspices that will include NATO troops; and the return of ethnic Albanian refugees to Kosovo. The official Yugoslav news agency Tanjug reported that the government had accepted the plan following its approval earlier today by the Serbian parliament. The plan was presented to Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic during a visit to Belgrade by Russian envoy Viktor Chernomyrdin and the European Union's envoy, Finnish President Martti Ahtisaari.

A spokesman (Yrjo Lansipuro) for Ahtisaari said he had left Belgrade for Cologne, Germany, to brief EU leaders on what he called the successful outcome of his mission.

A spokesman (Valentin Sergeyev) for Chernomyrdin said NATO's bombing of Yugoslavia would end after NATO military officials go to Belgrade, under UN auspices, to start implementing the peace plan. He said this is expected in the next few days.

Meanwhile, in Macedonia, a spokesman for the UN refugee agency says Kosovo refugees are now leaving overburdened host families in Macedonia by the thousands and swarming into already crowded camps.

Ron Redmond, a spokesman for the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, says a steady stream of people are arriving at the camps, saying their hosts can no longer help them. He says there is very little space for the new arrivals because the camps are already at or very near capacity.

The refugee camps in Macedonia are providing a temporary haven for 110,000 Kosovar Albanian refugees. But more than 150,000 are believed to have taken refuge among their ethnic kin in the poor Balkan country. As the weeks go by, the host families are finding the burden too heavy to bear.