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Yugoslavia: Belgrade Rejects International Force; Refugee Crisis Continues

Belgrade, 30 April 1999 (RFE/RL) - Yugoslavia today reiterated its refusal to accept an international armed force to secure peace in Kosovo. Nebojsa Vujovic, a spokesman for Yugoslavia's Foreign Ministry, unveiled a seven-point peace proposal which allows only for an unarmed peace mission authorized and led by the United Nations to supervise a settlement of the conflict in Kosovo. Meanwhile, thousands of refugees from Kosovo crossed into Albania and Macedonia today, further straining resources in the two countries. The refugees consistently report atrocities by Serb forces.

Macedonian Interior Minister Pavle Trajanov accused the international community of having no strategy for solving the refugee crisis. He called for more airlifts of refugees from Macedonia to other countries. NATO said that there were indications that Serb forces are beginning to expel ethnic Albanians from parts of Serbia outside Kosovo.

Vujovic, speaking on CNN, rejected NATO's demand that alliance troops form the core of an armed security force in Kosovo. He accused NATO of aggression against Yugoslavia and said no NATO troops would be accepted.

The United States quickly rejected Belgrade's proposal for an unarmed UN force in Kosovo. National Security Council spokesman David Leavy said the proposal fell far short of NATO's conditions for ending its air campaign against Yugoslavia.

The Yugoslav announcement came as Russia's Balkans envoy Viktor Chernomyrdin was in Belgrade seeking a diplomatic solution to the conflict.