BELGRADE, Yugoslavia (AP) _ Yugoslavia recalled its ambassador to the United States because he was unable to stop Congress from accusing Yugoslavia of human rights abuses, a newspaper said Tuesday.

Zivorad Kovacevic, Yugoslavia's envoy in Washington since 1987, returned to Belgrade on Monday. He served only half the usual four-year term as ambassador to Washington, said the newspaper Vjesnik published in Zagreb.

''It is no secret that Kovacevic was not viewed favorably by the political leadership of Serbia,'' the newspaper wrote. Serbia is the largest of Yugoslavia's six republics.

Kovacevic, a Serb, has come under fire from Serbian politicians and the republic's press since the U.S. Congress last month passed two resolutions claiming there were human rights violations in the strife-torn southern province of Kosovo.

Hundreds of protesters were given jail sentences following riots there in February and March by ethnic Albanians protesting constitutional changes that gave Serbia greater control over the province's internal affairs.

At least 238 prominent ethnic Albanian politicians, businessmen and intellectuals were detained after a state of emergency was declared in the province.

Serbian authorities said the measures were necessary to prevent ethnic Albanians, who make up 85 percent of Kosovo's population, from aharassing the minority Serbs.

Although no official reason has been given for Kovacevic's recall, Vjesnik said it followed Serbian accusations that he had not done enough ''to make the true situation in Kosovo known in Washington.''