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Yugoslavia: European Countries Call For Restraint In Kosovo Violence

Pristina, 2 March 1998 (RFE/RL) - The international community is condemning today's violent Serbian police clampdown on peaceful demonstrators in Kosovo province. The European Union and, separately, Britain, France, Austria and Germany, among others, urged restraint, especially by Serbs, and called for talks between the Belgrade leadership and Kosovo's ethnic Albanians on resolving demands by the southern province for enhanced autonomy. Britain warned Serbia of the risk of new sanctions if violence continues. Earlier today, thousands of ethnic Albanians marched in Kosovo's capital Pristina to protest police brutality at the weekend in which 16 Albanians and four Serb police died. The rally was forcibly broken up by riot police using batons, tear gas, and water cannon. Several people, including at least one reporter, were hurt. Police later said demonstrations or similar acts supporting terrorism in Kosovo will not be allowed.

Titi Petkovski, parliament head in neighboring Macedonia, expressed concern today at the danger of the Kosovo issue expanding into a military conflict beyond the province's boundaries.