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Yugoslavia: Milosevic Wants 'Constitutional' Solution To Kosovo

Belgrade, 10 February 1999 (RFE/RL) - Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic said today that the solution to the Kosovo issue must be found within Serbia's "constitutional system." Milosevic's office issued a statement in Belgrade emphasizing that the political solution in Kosovo should include "respect of the territorial integrity and state sovereignty" of Serbia and Yugoslavia. The statement also said that "equality" of all citizens will have to be preserved. Also today, Yugoslav Deputy Prime Minister Vuk Draskovic said in Belgrade he could not see any need in Kosovo for special security forces, Yugoslav or other, after a peace settlement is reached.

Observers suggest the statements indicate that the Serb delegation taking part in peace talks in Rambouillet, near Paris, will likely press for including into the final document the formal recognition of Yugoslavia's territorial inegrity, as well as to oppose any move to station armed forces in Kosovo to ensure implementation of any deal.

Serbian delegates to the talks today offered to meet directly with their ethnic Albanian counterparts, linking the offer to a demand that the Albanians recognize permanent Yugoslav borders and other "basic principles" proposed by Belgrade.

Last weekend, NATO Secretary Javier Solana said in Munich that the stationing of forces was an indispensable element of any immediate solution to the Kosovo issue.

Meanwhile, coffins containing some of the bodies of 40 Kosovar Albanian victims of an alleged massacre were loaded onto trucks in Pristina to be returned to their native village of Racak. The move follows a three-week dispute with Serbian authorities.

International monitors allege the ethnic Albanian victims were massacred by Serbian police. An international monitor says the Serbian authorities have agreed to let friends rather than just relatives identify the corpses at the morgue to speed up the process, which has already taken several hours.

Their return to Racak was initially delayed by a lengthy examination of the bodies by Serbian and Finnish forensic experts. Relatives of the victims wanted the corpses brought back and buried together. Until last night, Serb officials insisted that the bodies be buried in separate graveyards and funerals be spaced apart over three days