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Yugoslavia: Albright Says NATO Won't Approve Russian Zone In Kosovo

Helsinki, 17 June 1999 (RFE/RL) - U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright says NATO will not give in to Russian demands for a special zone policed by Russian troops in the Kosovo peacekeeping mission. She made the comments in Helsinki ahead of talks with her Russian counterpart, Igor Ivanov, after he said two issues connected with Russia's role in Kosovo have been settled in U.S.-Russian talks that started yesterday. The Russians continue to demand their own sector in Kosovo so that their troops will not be subordinate to NATO.

U.S. officials are predicting that the two sides will come to full agreement by the end of the Helsinki talks today. President Bill Clinton, in Paris for talks with French President Jacques Chirac, also predicted a successful conclusion to the talks.

On another issue, Clinton and Chirac said there will be no economic help for Serbia as long as Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic remains in power.

On the ground in Kosovo, British forces said they have found a basement torture chamber for the interrogation of prisoners in a Serb-run police station in Kosovo's provincial capital Pristina. And a British Foreign Office Minister, Geoff Hoon, said Serb forces killed more than 10,000 ethnic Albanians during two months of war.

On another contentious issue, NATO spokesman Jamie Shea said the alliance hopes to sign an agreement with the Kosovo Liberation Army (UCK) in the next few days that will result in the ethnic Albanian rebels' handing in their automatic and heavy weapons. Shea said in Brussels that the agreement will give a clear timetable of not more than 30 days for handing in weapons. The Russians have been especially critical of NATO for not forcing the UCK to disarm.