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Yugoslavia: Diplomatic Observer Mission Starts In Kosovo

Pristina, Yugoslavia, July 6 (RFE/RL) -- Diplomats have completed their first monitoring mission in Serbia's troubled Kosovo province, visiting a number of ethnic Albanian villages destroyed by Serb forces in their fight against Albanian separatists.

The group consists of Belgrade-based diplomats from the United States, Russia, Poland and the European Union. They will travel to the towns of Klina, Mitrovika, Srbica and Poljance before returning to the provincial capital Pristina.

Associated Press says that part of their route touches on territory held by the separatist Kosovo Liberation Army (UCK), and they may try to make contact with the UCK. The U.S. member of the group, Charge D'Affaires Richard Miles, said the mission had been scheduled to provide humanitarian organizations and foreign governments with an objective evaluation of what is happening.

The mission was arranged by U.S. special envoy Richard Holbrooke and Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Nikolai Afanasyevskii. Holbrooke today left Belgrade for home after his mediation effort, which featured talks with Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic and ethnic-Albanian leader Ibrahim Rugova.