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NATO Extends Kosovo Deadline

By Linda D. Kozaryn
American Forces Press Service

BRUSSELS, Belgium, Oct. 16, 1998 – NATO has extended to Oct. 27 its deadline for Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic to comply with U.N. Security Council resolutions.

NATO on Oct. 13 approved limited air strikes and a phased- intensity air campaign against Yugoslavia. The security alliance then gave Milosevic 96 hours to comply with the U.N. terms that include his calling a cease fire and withdrawing military and police forces that have been conducting an offensive against Kosovar civilians. Due to only partial compliance by Milosevic, NATO authorities decided to extend their deadline.

The decision to extend came a day after NATO Supreme Allied Commander Europe U.S. Army Gen. Wesley K. Clark signed an agreement with Milosevic in Belgrade, Yugoslavia, authorizing unarmed NATO aircraft to conduct aerial surveillance over Kosovo.

Returning from Belgrade, Clark told CNN that Milosevic still has 40 percent of his forces in Kosovo. "He thinks this is an internal problem and he can do whatever he wants," the general noted. "This is not an internal problem. NATO is engaged, and NATO intends to stay engaged."

A NATO statement released Oct. 16 said, "We are still at some distance from compliance. There is clear evidence that many army and special units that are normally based outside Kosovo are still deployed in Kosovo. The North Atlantic Council expects these units to be withdrawn immediately." The council is the alliance's decision-making body.

The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe and Milosevic have also entered into an agreement that allows an unarmed force of 2,000 observers into Kosovo to verify compliance.

NATO has deployed substantial air forces and continues to maintain its readiness to launch air operations against Yugoslavia, according to the NATO statement. The council called on Milosevic to "take urgent steps to ensure that full compliance is achieved in this time period."

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