Belgrade quiet; Chinese come to collect dead
May 10, 1999
BELGRADE, Yugoslavia (CNN) -- There were no airstrikes against the Yugoslav capital overnight, as relatives of those killed in the NATO bombing of the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade arrived to claim the bodies of their loved ones.
At the embassy compound, the father of one victim, holding a bloodstained bed cover, wept uncontrollably in the room where his daughter and son-in-law died.
He was part of a delegation of leaders and others from China who visited the heavily damaged compound. The delegation, led by the deputy foreign minister, has been guaranteed safe passage by U.S. officials as they prepare to take the dead and wounded back to China by airplane.
NATO officials said an intelligence-gathering error led to bombing the wrong building on Saturday.
China has suspended arms control and human rights talks with the United States and demanded a "full official" apology and investigation.
China has also demanded a halt to the bombing campaign against Yugoslavia, joining Russia and the Serbs in opposition.
NATO and U.S. officials have repeatedly called the embassy bombing regrettable.
NATO stressed that the lull in attacks on Belgrade was not a result of the embassy bombing.
"We have not struck at targets in Belgrade by any means on every night of this operation," said spokesman Jamie Shea. "I would not read into that any particular significance."
Operation Allied Force, British officials said, will not end until NATO's goals have been reached.
"The military objective was and remains to disrupt Serb violence and to weaken the military machine that has been the instrument of the genocidal attacks on the ethnic Albanians in Kosovo," said British Defense Secretary George Robertson.
While diplomatic efforts to end the Kosovo crisis continued, NATO welcomed news that the European Union finance ministers had formally approved a package of sanctions against Yugoslavia.
That package included travel bans on President Slobodan Milosevic, his family and hundreds of Yugoslav officials.
"It's not simply NATO which is isolating President Milosevic," said Shea. "Rarely in history has one state been so isolated, politically, militarily, economically and geographically. This cannot be something the Yugoslav people need or want at this time."
The sanctions also ban certain exports that might "enable the (Yugoslav) government to conduct its policy of internal repression" and all commercial flights between Yugoslavia and the EU.
Russian Balkans envoy Viktor Chernomyrdin, fresh from talks with European leaders last week, was on his way to Beijing Monday to discuss the Yugoslav situation with officials there.
Also the World Court in The Hague began hearing claims Monday from Yugoslavia that the 10 NATO allies involved in the bombing campaign were guilty of "a crime against peace and also the crime of genocide."
Yugoslavia is seeking an order to immediately halt the bombing campaign.
Shea condemned Yugoslavia's action as "frivolous and cynical."
"It's a telling irony that the worst violator of human rights that Europe has seen in half a century and the person responsible for driving 1.5 million Kosovars from their homes should believe that it is his rights that are being violated."
Britain's Robertson called the suit "nauseating hypocrisy."
China suspends talks, demands U.S. apology
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