UN chief could trigger Nato strikes on Serbs

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The Independent Online
STRONG condemnation of the Yugoslav government by the UN Secretary- General Kofi Annan could be enough to trigger military action from Britain, the US and France, diplomats said yesterday.

British and American officials insisted that their threats against President Slobodan Milosevic were real, despite deep Nato divisions about whether force should be used.

The US Defence Secretary, William Cohen, also claimed Nato air action was "less than two weeks away", and was a certainty if Mr Milosevic did not order the withdrawal of Serbian forces from Kosovo.

British officials said they did not believe Belgrade could comply with all the demands of the UN Security Council before tomorrow, when Mr Annan presents his report.

Strong criticism from the Secretary-General might be enough for the three big powers to strike without another UN resolution, diplomats said.