Accessibility links

Breaking News

Yugoslavia: Kosovo Talks Fail; NATO To Intensify Bombing

Kumanovo, Macedonia; 7 June 1999 (RFE/RL) - Three days of talks between NATO and Yugoslav military commanders collapsed early today. NATO says it air strikes will now be intensified. NATO's Lieutenant-General Michael Jackson told reporters the Yugoslav delegation failed to stick to an agreement reached last week between Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic and Russian and European Union envoys. Jackson said the Yugoslav delegation refused to accept NATO positions and presented proposals that would not provide for the safe return of refugees to Kosovo and the full withdrawal of Serb troops.

Jackson said the delegation's proposals were not consistent with the agreement accepted last week by Belgrade.

Jackson said NATO now has no alternative but to continue and intensify its air campaign against Yugoslavia until Belgrade implements the agreement "fully and without ambiguity."

Jackson said NATO is prepared to meet again with the Yugoslav delegation "as necessary" to achieve implementation of the agreement. Yugoslav foreign ministry spokesman Nebojsa Vujovic -- who took part in the talks -- said Belgrade came in good faith, and he demanded a halt to the bombings. He said the Yugoslav side is ready to continue talks with NATO on an international presence in Kosovo "under U.N. auspices."

NATO says that no face-to-face meetings between alliance and Yugoslav military officers are taking place today. NATO spokesman Jamie Shea corrected an earlier statement that lower-level officers were due to meet this afternoon at Kumanovo for further contacts on the stalled withdrawal.

Shea said that no face-to-face meeting is planned but, he added, "a channel of communication remains open." This was taken to mean the two sides had arranged to remain in telephone contact.

Meanwhile, NATO jets struck western Kosovo last night. Air raid sirens sounded early today in Belgrade, as well as Pancevo and Novi Sad in northern Serbia. It is the 76th straight day of NATO air strikes against Yugoslavia.