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NATO: Ethnic Albanian Rebels In Presevo Agree To Surrender

Pristina, Kosovo; 21 May 2001 (RFE/RL) - The main commander of ethnic Albanian rebels in the Presevo Valley area of southern Serbia today agreed to disband his group by the end of the month. Shefket Musliu said in a signed declaration that the rebels "will be demilitarized, demobilized, and disbanded."

The deal was brokered by NATO. Shawn Sullivan, head of NATO's office in Yugoslavia, said he was confident the rebels would abide by the agreement.

Only one rebel commander said he would not respect the deal. But despite Muhamet Xhemaili's rejection of the agreement, more than 40 of his men surrendered to NATO peacekeepers in Kosovo today.

All fighters who turn themselves in by Thursday (24 May) will receive amnesty designed to prevent any attacks after Yugoslav troops are redeployed in a former demilitarized buffer zone on the Kosovo border with Serbia proper.

Yesterday, NATO finalized its permission for Serbian and Yugoslav forces to return.