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Yugoslavia: NATO Extends Deadline For Serbian Withdrawal

Pristina, 16 June (RFE/RL) - NATO has granted a Yugoslav request for a 24-hour delay in the withdrawal of Serbian forces from parts of southern Kosovo. A NATO spokesman in Kosovo said today that the withdrawal limit for Serbian forces based near Prizren -- the province's second largest city -- was put off until midnight tonight. Lieutenant-Colonel Robin Clifford said that NATO was convinced that the Serbs were making a sincere effort to comply with the Yugoslav-NATO pullout accord, but that a new flood of refugees and other factors had slowed down the retreat.

Clifford said that elsewhere in southern Kosovo, including the capital Pristina, Serbian soldiers and police appeared to have withdrawn overnight under the first phase of the accord.

But a large concentration of Serbian forces moving up from the southwest had been slowed both by an increased flow of returning ethnic Albanian refugees and a new exodus of Kosovo Serbs heading north to Serbia.

A nine-vehicle Russian military supply convoy arrived this morning at Pristina's airport, where 200 Russian soldiers have been in control in a standoff with NATO troops for the past several days. The convoy crossed into Serbia from Bosnia, and included a large fuel truck and a medical vehicle.