Serbia Unveils Kosovo Peace Plan
Nov. 21, 1998
BELGRADE, Yugoslavia (AP) _ Serbia published its own peace proposal for Kosovo on Saturday, envisioning a form of self-rule while keeping the province firmly within Serbia. An ethnic Albanian negotiator turned it down.
The plan, which comes only days after Serbia's president rejected a U.S. proposal, calls for an interim three-year agreement giving the province ``broad self-rule.'' Serbia is the dominant republic of Yugoslavia.
Published Saturday in the state-run daily, Politika, the plan stressed that any permanent settlement must respect Yugoslavia's territorial integrity.
The Serb plan also calls for elections in Kosovo within nine months.
Ilias Kurteshi, a member of the Kosovo Albanian negotiating team, told The Associated Press in Belgrade that the Serb proposal was ``one-sided'' and ``could not enhance the climate for talks on Kosovo.''
He said U.S. efforts in indirect talks have made progress and that ``a return to unilateral, ready-made, take-it-or-leave-it proposals was not contributing to the process.''
The Serb plan came amid escalating tensions in Kosovo following accusations that ethnic Albanian rebels ambushed a Serb police vehicle Friday, killing two policemen and severely wounding three others.
Guerrillas fired an anti-tank round into the vehicle of policemen and then followed up with small arms, according to the Serb Media Center, which carries the official government view.
Although the attack could not be independently confirmed, it indicated violence persists, despite an official cease-fire.
Serbian President Milan Milutinovic scheduled new talks with ethnic Albanian leaders for Wednesday in Kosovo's capital, Pristina. Kosovo Albanians, however, repeatedly have boycotted talks without international mediators present.
Milutinovic dismissed a U.S. draft proposal detailing future governing plans for Kosovo as giving too much power to the independence-minded ethnic Albanians, who comprise 90 percent of Kosovo's population of 2 million.
Several hundred people have been killed and hundreds of thousands have been displaced from their homes since Yugoslav president Slobodan Milosevic launched a crackdown on Kosovo separatists in February.