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Yugoslavia: Milosevic Says Kosovo Offensive Completed

Belgrade, 30 July 1998 (RFE/RL) - A European Union mission says it has been told by Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic that Serb-led forces have ended a major offensive against separatist ethnic Albanians in the Kosovo province. Yugoslav government forces launched an offensive against Kosovo Liberation Army (UCK) guerrillas last week. The offensive reportedly resulted in large gains for the government, including the re-opening of several key roads and the ouster of rebel forces from a stronghold at Malisevo. Separatist fighters have reportedly fled into woods.

Austrian envoy Albert Rohan announced Milosevic's claim after he and envoys from Britain and Germany met the Yugoslav leader today in Belgrade. British envoy Emyr Jones Perry told reporters there appeared to have been an excessive use of force in Kosovo.

The United Nations High Commissioner For Refugees announced today that it would send an investigative team to assess the plight of thousands of refugees who fled the Serb advance.

The Organization For Security And Cooperation In Europe (OSCE) again warned today that the Kosovo crisis could escalate into a full-scale conflict with unpredictable consequences. A statement called for the urgent opening of peace talks.