I'm a man of peace, Milosevic tells Cook

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The Independent Online
THE YUGOSLAV leader, Slobodan Milosevic, told Robin Cook yesterday that he was "committed to a peaceful solution" in Kosovo.

But a statement from Mr Milosevic after the meeting with Britain's Foreign Secretary suggested that Serbia might refuse to take part in peace talks scheduled for this Saturday at the Chateau of Rambouillet, near Paris. The problems of Kosovo, "an integral part of Serbia", should be settled "peacefully in Serbia", he said.

At his meeting with Mr Milosevic, Mr Cook warned of Nato military action if the Serbian authorities did not agree to attend peace talks. The six- member "contact group" has set a deadline of three weeks to reach an agreement. To reinforce the message, Nato ambassadors met in Brussels yesterday to authorise the organisation's Secretary General, Javier Solana, to launch air strikes if necessary.

Bad weather disrupted Mr Cook's visit to Yugoslavia, and curbed the violence in Kosovo which brought him here.

Pristina airport was closed by snow, forcing him to fly on to Skopje, the Macedonian capital, for talks with Kosovo Albanian leaders. He was delivering the same Nato warnings to Ibrahim Rugova, the province's leading ethnic Albanian politician, and Adem Demaci, the spokesman of the Kosovo Liberation Army, whose attacks on Serbian forces have brought savage reprisals. He pressed the Albanians to attend this week's talks.

The snow meant no military action was reported yesterday. The Information Ministry said a Serb was killed and his wife injured when a grenade was thrown into their bedroom.

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