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Yugoslavia: KFOR Troops Investigate Mass Grave Near Pec

Pristina, 9 July 1999 (RFE/RL) - The international peacekeeping force in Kosovo says it is investigating what appears to be a large mass grave near Pec, in the west of the province. NATO spokesman Jan Joosten said the grave was found near the village of Ljubenic, in an area under the control of Italian peacekeeping troops. He said it could contain more than 300 bodies.

The U.N. High Commissoner for Human Rights issued a report today which said that in several areas of Kosovo basic needs such as food, shelter and safe drinking water are available and there is no longer fear of an imminent human catastrophe.

But the report also warned that agriculture had suffered severely from the war and this year's wheat harvest was expected to be only half its normal size. The UNHCR report was based on a survey of 141 villages.

Another UNHCR report accused the Serbian authorities of harassing up to 100,000 Kosovo Serbs as part of a campaign to persuade them to return to Kosovo. A UNHCR spokesman in Geneva said the UNHCR suspected that the 8,000 Serbs who returned to Kosovo ten days ago had been coerced into doing so by the Yugoslav authorities.

In Serbia's third largest town, Nis, the local government today passed a resolution calling for the resignation of Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic because of his handling of the Kosovo crisis. Nis is controlled by opposition parties. The 21 deputies loyal to Milosevic's Socialist party left before the vote was taken.

Meanwhile, the prime minister of the self-declared government of the moderate Kosovo political leader Ibrahim Rugova today called for democratic elections within a year in Kosovo. Bujar Bukoshi, making the call in a statement from Bonn, also asked for quicker action by international organisations to establish civilian structures in Kosovo.