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Russia, NATO Agree on Kosovo Plan

May 6, 1999

BONN, Germany (AP) _ Russia and Western powers agreed today on a common approach to seeking peace for Kosovo, including the basic terms of an international force to secure the return of refugees, diplomats said.

Foreign ministers of the Group of Eight countries meeting outside Bonn were expected to announce formal agreement shortly on a seven-point plan to be endorsed by the U.N. Security Council, German officials said on condition of anonymity.

The draft plan calls for the deployment of ``effective international civil and security presences″ in Kosovo that would be ``capable of guaranteeing the achievement of the common objectives.″

To secure Russian approval, the statement would make no mention of NATO’s role in the force.

At a news conference, German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer called the agreement ``a considerable step forward.″

Getting Russia, which opposes NATO airstrikes on Yugoslavia, into such a common front is designed to increase diplomatic pressure on Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic to settle on NATO’s terms, including an armed NATO-led international force to secure the return of Kosovo refugees.

Milosevic has so far said he would only accept an unarmed U.N. presence in Kosovo.

Clinton, on a visit to Germany to rally support for NATO’s 6-week-old air war, had said earlier today he was optimistic there would be an accord at the Group of Eight meeting.

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