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Yugoslavia: Milosevic May Be Trying To Destabilize Balkan Region

London, 21 April 1999 (RFE/RL) - British defense minister George Robertson says NATO is concerned that Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic may be trying to destabilize the entire Balkan region. At a briefing today in London, Robertson referred to a number of reports that Yugoslav troops had been involved in incidents on the borders of Albania, Montenegro and Croatia. Robertson said in his view these were signs of weakness and panic on the part of Milosevic. They indicated, he said, that Milosevic realized that the bombing campaign was succeeding and that allied unity had not broken.

Robertson also defended a NATO air attack this morning on a building in Belgrade which housed the headquarters of Milosevic's Socialist Party. Robertson described it as the "nerve center of the machine which plans the killings in Kosovo."

The building also houses two TV stations with connections to members of Milosevic's family. It was formerly the headquarters of the Yugoslav communist party.

Meanwhile, NATO aircraft have apparently detected large groups of displaced persons in Kosovo who are moving toward the borders of Macedonia and Albania.

Robertson said the displaced persons had been detected around the Kosovo capital Pristina and nearby towns. He gave no estimate of how many people might be involved.

In Geneva, the U.N.'s High Commissioner for Refugees said the number of refugees coming through borders in Albania and Macedonia today fell to a trickle. Only 600 refugees have arrived in the past 24 hours.

However, refugees are now entering Albania through Montenegro in larger numbers. An Albanian police spokesman told Albania's ATA news agency that about 2,500 Kosovar refugees -- a single-day record -- crossed the border yesterday. He said they were mainly from Pec and Djakovica regions.

NATO today continued to move thousands of refugees away from the main Albanian reception center at Kukes to other centers in central and southern Albania. Officials said 6,500 were moved by bus yesterday.

In Belgrade, assistant foreign minister Nebojsa Vujovic said 22,000 refugees have recently returned to the Podujevo area north of Pristina, but he gave no details.

Yugoslav media also said NATO aircraft hit a settlement for Serb refugees from Croatia at Djakovica during the night. The reports said that at least four people and probably more had been killed. There was no independent verification of the report.