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Yugoslavia: Kosovo Envoys Said To Reach Agreement

Bonn, 2 June 1999 (RFE/RL) - The Russian and EU special envoys on Kosovo reached broad agreement on a peace plan at a meeting today in Bonn that they will present to Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic. The two men, EU envoy Martti Ahtisaari and Russia's Viktor Chernomyrdin, left Bonn this afternoon local time and were due to arrive in Belgrade later this evening. The agreement was reached after talks involving U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott.

Ahtisaari said after the talks that the diplomats reached a "largely common position" on how to resolve the Kosovo crisis and end the NATO bombing campaign. Chernomyrdin said there was a "realistic chance" their proposals could halt the Kosovo conflict.

Chernomyrdin said, under the formula, it was agreed that NATO air raids against Yugoslavia should stop once a pullout of Serbian forces is underway and verified.

He also said NATO and Russia would deploy peacekeeping troops in Kosovo but under separate commands. NATO spokesman Jamie Shea said today, however, that any international peacekeeping force should be a single one with a unified command.

British Foreign Secretary Robin Cook said earlier that any proposal to deploy Russian forces in northern Kosovo, closest to the rest of Serbia, while NATO forces policed southern Kosovo would effectively partition the province.

French President Jacques Chirac commented that he now sees a significant chance for a peaceful settlement in Kosovo. A German spokesman, Michael Steiner, who joined in the Bonn discussions, said the "ball is now in Belgrade's court."

Yugoslavia has long opposed the presence of any NATO force in Kosovo.