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NATO To Step Up Kosovo Plans

June 23, 1998

BRUSSELS, Belgium (AP) _ The NATO allies are expected this week to ask their military to intensify planning for possible armed intervention to stop the violence in Kosovo.

Ambassadors from the 16 nations of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization met at NATO headquarters Tuesday to review the state of military planning and will continue their talks Wednesday.

The planners are focusing on the possible use of NATO air power to deter the forces of Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic from continuing a crackdown on ethnic Albanians in the secessionist Serbian province.

Plans include possible strikes against Serbian air defenses and other targets both inside Kosovo and in the rest of Yugoslavia.

Ahead of Wednesday’s meeting of ambassadors, NATO Secretary General Javier Solana was scheduled to hold talks at alliance headquarters with the Ibrahim Rugova, a leader of ethnic Albanians in Kosovo.

Earlier this month, NATO defense ministers ordered their planners to start preparing a range of military options to end the conflict in Kosovo which has killed more than 300 people.

The ambassadors are expected on Wednesday to ask the military to move to the next, more detailed phase of planning, NATO officials said.

The planners are looking at three categories of possible action: intensification of NATO maneuvers and advisory missions to Kosovo’s neighbors, Macedonia and Albania; deployment of NATO troops to those nations to prevent the violence spreading; armed intervention, including air strike or _ as a last resort _ ground troops.

NATO officials stressed the threat of intervention was aimed to stop fighting both by Serbian troops and the separatist Kosovo Liberation Army.

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