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Yugoslavia: Russia Calls For Immediate UCK Disarmament

Pristina/Moscow, 25 June 1999 (RFE/RL) Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov today called for the immediate disarmament of the Kosovo Liberation Army (UCK). Ivanov said NATO is being too "generous" by allowing UCK troops 90 days to disarm. He spoke shortly after Russias upper house of parliament -- the Federation Council -- approved sending 3,600 paratroopers to take part in the KFOR peacekeeping force. The UCK has said Russian peacekeeping forces, which could arrive in Kosovo as early as tomorrow, will be considered "an enemy force." Russia is a traditional ally of the Serbs.

In an interview today on French radio, NATO Secretary-General Javier Solana expressed doubts about the U.S. offer of a bounty of up to $5 million to anyone providing information leading to the arrest of indicted war criminals in Yugoslavia. Solana said he is not sure such an offer is "appropriate."

Meanwhile, our correspondent in the Kosovo capital, Pristina, reports that British KFOR troops arrested a Serb man today who was involved in a gunfight with ethnic Albanians outside a Serb cafe.

The incident served to heighten tensions in Pristina, despite a declaration yesterday by the U.N. High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) that the city is now safe for the return of ethnic Albanian refugees.

The UNHCR says more than 300,000 ethnic Albanians have returned home to Kosovo in the last 10 days, including some 50,000 yesterday alone.