Libmonster ID: SE-29
Author(s) of the publication: Nikolai Vukolov
Source: TASS, 03-11-98

The Swedish government is concerned about the aggravation of the situation in Kosovo, Foreign Minister Lena Hejm-Wallen said.

Speaking at a parliament session on Wednesday, Hejm-Wallen called for the peaceful settlement of the conflict and opposed the use of force against Kosovo.

The minister said that all sides should give up actions which will escalate violence in the region.

Belgrade's authorities believe that the settlement of the situation in Kosovo is Yugoslavia's internal matter.

Turkey has called for settling the Kosovo crisis without foreign interference, Foreign Ministry spokesman Nejati Utkan said.

Utkan said Ankara opposed the use of force against Kosovo and called for preserving its territorial integrity and beginning a dialogue to ease tension in the region.

For his part, the parliament speaker noted that Turkey is prepared to support any initiatives aimed at facilitating the peaceful settlement of the conflict.

The United States also expressed hope for the diplomatic settlement of the situation in Kosovo.

U.S. presidential special envoy to the former Yugoslavia Robert Gelbard voiced deep concern about the events in the region. After his meetings with Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic and leader of Kosovo's Albanians Ibrahim Rugova, the U.S. president's envoy hoped for the peaceful settlement of the crisis.

Earlier today, the Council of Europe's Committee of Ministers has condemned escalation of violence in Kosovo.

In a statement made by the German permanent representative to the Committee, he said that the CE denounced Yugoslav law enforcement agencies's repressions and Kosovo extremists' terrorist acts.

The Committee called for immediate termination of violence and for complete and unconditional respect of human rights and fundamental freedoms. The conflicting sides should begin dialogue to ease tension in the region.

The Committee backed the initiatives put forth by the international community, primarily by Southeastern countries, the European Union and the Contact Group to overcome the crisis in Kosovo.

The CE also supported the idea of sending a Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe delegation led by chairwoman Leni Fischer to Yugoslavia in order to study the situation on the ground and hold talks with Belgrade's authorities.

The Permanent Council of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe also the situation Kosovo and different versions for the organisation's contribution to the settlement of the crisis. The session focused on the possibility of sending an OSCE envoy to Kosovo to settle the conflict there. A decision to this effect was made after the deliberations on this problem.

The session supported conclusions and recommendations adopted by the Contact Group in London these days. In a statement, the session participants expressed concern about the situation in the region and negative consequences on neighbouring countries.

OSCE representatives put forth initiatives to render assistance to Yugoslavia in order to reach a deadlock in relations with Albanian minorities in Kosovo. For instance, they proposed to resume the work by an OSCE mission in Kosovo led by former Spanish prime minister Felipe Gonzalez.

A high-ranking official to the Alliance's mission in Moscow said that NATO is backing Russia's efforts to end the Kosovo conflict by political and diplomatic means and is not looking for placing its peacekeeping forces in the troubled area.

"So far, NATO does not share the opinion of US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright about a possibility to use international peacekeeping forces to stabilise the situation in Kosovo," the official told Itar-Tass on condition of anonymity because he has not yet been officially authorised by NATO's leadership to voice the standpoint.

He said "the issue of deploying NATO peacekeeping forces on the administrative borders of Kosovo in the Union Republic of Yugoslavia is not currently topical."

NATO Secretary General Javier Solana will visit Tirana on Thursday looking for "options to use the capabilities of Albania's leadership to prevent building up tensions in Kosovo and work out compromise solutions with leadership of Union Republic of Yugoslavia to settle the situation by political and diplomatic methods."

According to the official, "NATO is going to deepen cooperation with Albania in the framework of its Partnership for Peace programme and to solve the problem of Kosovo, regarding this region as an integral part of the Union Republic of Yugoslavia."

However, the European community "condemns the use of force by Yugoslav authorities in their fight against Albanian terrorists if it is accompanied by sufferings of civic population."

Earlier, President Boris Yeltsin and Defence Minister Igor Sergeyev said Russia in not interested in sending peacekeepers to end the Kosovo conflict.


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