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G-8 approves seven-point peace plan

BONN: Group of Eight countries agreed on Thursday on a draft peace plan for Kosovo that provides for the return of refugees under interna...

By: Express News Service |
May 7, 1999

BONN: Group of Eight countries agreed on Thursday on a draft peace plan for Kosovo that provides for the return of refugees under international supervision, diplomatic sources said.

A seven-point plan was adopted by foreign ministers of G-8 members Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United States and Russia.The text did not explicitly mention that NATO troops would be sent to the province to help returning refugees as the US and other western powers had demanded.

The plan called for the "development in Kosovo of effective international civil and security presences endorsed and adopted by the UN." It also called for the "safe and free return of all refugees and displaced persons and unimpeded access in Kosovo by humanitarian aid organisations."

G-8 foreign ministers agreed on an "immediate and verifiable end to the violence and repression in Kosovo" and the "withdrawal from Kosovo of military police and paramilitary forces."

The draft principles call for the "establishment of aninterim administration for Kosovo to be decided by the UN Security Council to ensure conditions for a peaceful and normal life for all inhabitants in Kosovo."

The agreement provides for the demilitarisation of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) and an economic aid package to help the crisis-hit Balkans.n PRESIDENT Bill Clinton told US airmen at Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, on Wednesday that they were “hitting hard” at Yugoslavia after NATO suffered its first casualties in the crash of an Apache helicopter.

Arriving here from talks at NATO headquarters in Brussels, Clinton was welcomed by an enthusiastic flag-waving crowd of some 2,000 air crew and their families. “We are hitting them hard where it hurts on the ground in Kosovo,” Clinton said on a podium in front of an F-16 fighter and an F-117 Stealth bomber.

The morale-boosting visit, however, was clouded by the crash of an Apache attack helicopter during a training mission north-east of Tirana that left two dead. The pilot and a crew memberkilled in the crash early on Wednesday were the first allied deaths in NATO’s air campaign against Yugoslavia, now entering its seventh week.

The much-vaunted Apache helicopter gunships have been deployed to intensify NATO’s offensive in Yugoslavia, although they have not gone into action yet. “We grieve and pray for them,” Clinton said of the two pilots.

In Brussels, Clinton met with NATO’s top generals who told him that the regime of President Slobodan Milosevic was showing signs of weakening in a sign of rising optimism among the allies that victory may be close at hand. “We are winning,” General Wesley Clark told the US President, according to NATO spokesman Jamie Shea. “The Yugoslav leadership and its military security force and support structure are vulnerable to collapse,” Shea quoted Clark as saying.

Meanwhile, in Rome, a government statement said moderate Kosovo Albanian leader Ibrahim Rugova had arrived in the Italian capital, where he was a guest of the government. Belgrade “supportedRugova’s will to come to Italy”, the statement said.

Rugova, 54, head of the Kosovo Democratic League (LDK), is the leader of a long-running campaign of non-violent resistance to Serbian rule in Kosovo. His prestige began to wane last year as violence spread in Kosovo and he began to be overtaken by the armed separatist movement, the Kosovo Liberation Army. Some western leaders and his relatives abroad have claimed that Rugova had no freedom of movement in Yugoslavia and that his actions were being manipulated by Milosevic’s regime.

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