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World - Europe

West vows to maintain NATO pressure on Milosevic

A firefighter battles a blaze in Pristina, Yugoslavia, that Serb TV says started due to NATO airstrikes

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March 29, 1999
Web posted at: 3:17 p.m. EST (2017 GMT)

In this story:

Britain: 'We have to see it through'

Phase 2 under way


BRUSSELS, Belgium (CNN) -- NATO, France and Britain on Monday vowed to continue NATO military action to stop what they call "barbarities" committed by Serb units against ethnic Albanians in Kosovo. But the Yugoslav army remained defiant, saying the few losses it suffered had boosted its morale.

NATO said its bombing raids against Serb military targets in Yugoslavia were now being flown around the clock. And the military alliance accused Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic of racing to accomplish as much ethnic cleansing in Kosovo as possible.

"He's working very, very fast, trying to present the world with a fait accompli, to change the demographics of Kosovo," said NATO Supreme Military Commander Gen. Wesley Clark on Monday.

He added that alliance airstrikes on Yugoslav forces were "a long way from being over."

The statement came amid more harrowing reports from some of the tens of thousands of refugees who have crossed into Albania to escape the crackdown.

CNN correspondents in Albania, Macedonia and the Yugoslav republic of Montenegro say they have heard numerous incidents of forced expulsions, beatings and executions of ethnic Albanians by Serb units.

NATO also said Monday it had reports of recent executions of leading ethnic Albanian intellectuals.

"Reliable sources report that ... Fehmi Agani, a member of the Kosovo Albanian delegation at (recent peace talks in France) ... was executed on Sunday," Air Commodore David Wilby, a NATO military spokesman, told a news conference earlier in the day.

He said four other prominent ethnic Albanians were also reported to have been executed on Sunday.

Britain: 'We have to see it through'

British Prime Minister Tony Blair said Monday that the NATO air campaign should be intensified to make Milosevic pay a heavy price.

"In my view, we have to intensify it and we have to see it through. There cannot be any letup in this until we have forced him to stop carrying out these barbaric atrocities against innocent civilian people," he said.

That statement was echoed by France, where French President Jacques Chirac said in a televised statement to the nation: "We must stop the spiral of barbarity and take away from this regime the means to conduct such operations."

U.S. President Bill Clinton vowed to keep up the bombing until Yugoslavia halted its campaign of "brutality and repression."

NATO said its bombing campaign was now focusing on Serb military field forces that were directly involved in the crackdown against ethnic Albanians in Kosovo.

Wilby said that Sunday's "major waves" of NATO attacks had been aimed at "paramilitary, military and MUP (special police) forces in Kosovo."

Phase 2 under way

Under phase two of the military campaign, which is now under way, NATO warplanes are attacking Yugoslav tanks, artillery and other heavy weapons, transport vehicles and mobile command centers south of the 44th parallel, which runs through the Yugoslav town of Kragujevac, cutting the country in half.

NATO also insisted Monday that its bombing mission was working and that Milosevic was "running out of options."

NATO's assault is aimed at getting Milosevic to accept a peace plan that calls for 28,000 NATO peacekeeping troops in Kosovo -- or to degrade his armed forces capability to the extent that the military cannot continue its crackdown on ethnic Albanians.

But the head of the Yugoslav armed forces remained defiant Monday.

Lt. Gen. Spasoje Smiljanic, commander of the Yugoslav air force and air defense system, said the NATO bombings had killed seven soldiers and wounded 17, but left air defenses almost untouched.

He told a news conference that his forces had downed seven NATO planes, including the F-117A, three helicopters, about 30 cruise missiles and three unmanned reconnaissance aircraft.

"The losses inflicted on the enemy boosted our morale," he said.

NATO has acknowledged the crash in unclear circumstances of an F-117A Stealth fighter-bomber in northern Serbia on Saturday but denies losing any other aircraft so far.

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  • Federal Republic of Yugoslavia official site
      • Kesovo and Metohija facts
  • Serbia Ministry of Information
  • Serbia Now! News

  • Kosova Crisis Center
  • Kosovo - from

  • F-117s arrive at Aviano to support possible NATO operations
  • NATO official site
  • BosniaLINK - U.S. Dept. of Defense
  • U.S. Navy images from Operation Allied Force
  • U.K. Ministry of Defence - Kosovo news
  • U.K. Royal Air Force - Kosovo news
  • Jane's Defence - Kosovo Crisis

  • Independent Yugoslav radio stations B92
  • Institute for War and Peace Reporting
  • United States Information Agency - Kosovo Crisis

  • 1997 view of Kosovo from space - Eurimage
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