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Yugoslavia: Kostunica To Visit Tense Presevo Valley

Gnjilane, Yugoslavia; 27 November 2000 - Yugoslav President Vojislav Kostunica is preparing this morning to visit the tense Presevo Valley of southern Serbia adjacent to Kosovo province. Peter Deck of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees said that fighting ceased in the area after attacks last week in which ethnic Albanian militants killed four Serbian police and seized tactical positions. Deck said he fears that the NATO-led KFOR plans to permit the Serbs a free hand in restoring peace to the area. He said more than 2,000 residents have fled.

But, Deck said, ethnic Albanians are abandoning the valley out of fear of a counterattack. He said the UN agency is preparing emergency housing in anticipation of an exodus as high as 20,000.

The militants have said they want to drive Serbian forces from the valley and unite it with Kosovo. Serbian authorities have set a deadline of tonight for NATO forces to crack down on militants infiltrating from Kosovo.