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Britain Warns Slobodan Milosevic

October 9, 1998

LONDON (AP) _ Britain’s foreign secretary emerged from a meeting of Contact Group nations on Thursday and warned of grave consequences if Yugoslavia does not halt a crackdown against ethnic Albanians in Kosovo.

Foreign Secretary Robin Cook also said Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic should not underestimate the resolve behind a U.N. resolution demanding an end to the Serb offensive in the independence-minded province in southern Yugoslavia.

``If Milosevic does not comply with the Security Council resolution, he will be responsible for the consequences, and they will be grave,″ Cook said after the meeting with representatives from the United States, Russia, Britain, France, Germany and Italy.

The meeting was requested by the Americans in a bid to consolidate support for NATO airstrikes. The six-nation group has been attempting to bring peace to Kosovo since the conflict erupted there in late February.

While Britain and the United States strongly back military action against the Serbs, international support is lukewarm. Russia has warned that NATO action would lead to further bloodshed in Kosovo.

``Time is running out. The humanitarian situation has not improved. There has to be some action,″ Secretary of State Madeleine Albright said after the meeting.

While she left open ``a chance″ for a diplomatic solution, Albright said NATO stood ready to take action and said Russia’s objections would not affect NATO involvement.

However, the statement agreed to by the Contact Group only called on Milosevic to meet the U.N. resolution, and didn’t mention the threat of military action.

Meanwhile, the Vatican’s foreign minister, Monsignor Jean-Louis Tauran, said the Holy See ``always views with great concern the use of armed force to resolve political and humanitarian problems.

``Despite this, the principle that it is necessary to disarm the aggressor is always valid,″ the official said.

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