German Peace Plan Called `Constructive': Few Think Milosevic Would Go Along

By Pisik, Betsy | The Washington Times (Washington, DC), April 15, 1999 | Go to article overview

German Peace Plan Called `Constructive': Few Think Milosevic Would Go Along


Pisik, Betsy, The Washington Times (Washington, DC)


NEW YORK - From Washington to Moscow, world governments moved cautiously yesterday toward endorsing a German peace proposal calling for a suspension of NATO bombing and an immediate withdrawal of Serbian troops from Kosovo.

But Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic gave the West no reason to believe he is ready to compromise, telling a Russian newspaper he would fight to the last Serb before he gives up the rebellious province.

The peace plan, outlined by Germany Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder to the European Parliament, calls for a heavily armed U.N. peacekeeping force to move into Kosovo as the Serbs withdraw - a proposal that Yugoslavia adamantly rejected at talks in France earlier this year.

The international force would be responsible for returning refugees to their villages and disarming KLA fighters.

American officials received the plan with cautious enthusiasm, while NATO spokesman Jamie Shea played it down as "an informal discussion paper."

"The work the Germans are doing is constructive," said White House spokesman Joe Lockhart. "We need to work toward a further statement how this will work."

He pointedly said the air strikes will continue.

"At the level it is now, it is not a full-fledged plan," Mr. Lockhart said. "If we get agreement on the NATO demands, and there is demonstration [of compliance], we're going to have to find a mechanism for ceasing the NATO air strikes."

But such a scenario "is well down the road," said Mr. Lockhart, who stressed that Mr. Milosevic "needs to capitulate."

Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright discussed the German proposal with Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov in Oslo yesterday.

"There had been a sense that Russia was isolated, and I believe that they're important," she said. …

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