Big powers tell milosevic to negotiate

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Foreign ministers of the six-nation Contact Group are expected to warn the Yugoslav President, Slobodan Milosevic, against pursuing a bloody crackdown in Kosovo. The powers, meeting in London today, are expected to underline the need for outside mediation but are unlikely to agree on economic sanctions or military intervention.

The meeting marks the first timethe foreign ministers of the US, Britain, France, Germany and Ital and Russia have held an emergency session on former Yugoslavia since the 1995 Dayton peace accords on Bosnia. However, Russia opposes any talk of sanctions, and the Foreign Minister, Yegeny Primakov, is not attending today. Robin Cook, Foreign Secretar, said: "I will want to send a clear message ... that the repression should stop."

Madeleine Albright, US Secretary of State, toured Western Europe at the weekend, seeking support for economic and diplomatic measures to press Mr Milosevic to negotiate with moderate leaders of the ethnic Albanian majority on restoring autonomy to Kosovo.

The big powers will press Mr Milosevic to accept a mediation mission by the former Spanish prime minister Felipe Gonzalez on behalf of the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe. Western governments fear the conflict may draw in neighbouring Albania and Macedonia, which has a restive Albanian minority. -