BRUSSELS, Belgium (AP) _ U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan said today the threat of force in Kosovo is essential to bring about a negotiated settlement, and his NATO counterpart, Javier Solana, was to issue just such a threat later in the day.
``I am pushing very hard for a political settlement,″ Annan told reporters after a meeting with Solana and a speech to the North Atlantic Council, the alliance’s policymaking body. ``If force becomes necessary we will need to look at that. The threat is essential.″
NATO’s 16 ambassadors, who make up the Council, have been meeting all week to fine tune the wording of a threat to all parties in the Kosovo conflict, including allied airstrikes against Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic.
This threat, finally agreed Wednesday night, is to precede a plan for autonomy in Kosovo, the poor southern province of Serbia, which is the largest of the two republics in the Yugoslav federation.