Yugoslav army to occupy another area of Presevo valley

The Yugoslav army prepares to move into Sector D of the security zone along the Kosovo frontier, as Albanian rebels continue to violate the ceasefire agreement. Before the Yugoslav Army can move in, the unexploded shells and cluster bombs dropped by NATO have to be cleared, an operation which is already under way. The Yugoslav Army made an official communication yesterday, claiming to have carried out the explosion of cluster bombs and other explosive projectiles left by the NATO bombers. In the Presevo Valley, the fighting continues despite a ceasefire having been signed. The UCPMB wants to add the enclave of Presevo-Medveja-Bujanovac to an independent Kosovo, claiming that this area of southern Serbia is populated mainly by ethnic Albanians. In an attack on a Serb police checkpoint at Cerevajka, an Albanian commander, “Mekra” was killed by the police. The Albanians are reported to have attacked the checkpoint with several shells. , although the Albanian spokesman for the UCPMB said it was the police who fired first. Whatever the case, the Albanians attacked a European Union observation vehicle which arrived at the scene, strafing it with gunfire. There were no casualties reported by the EU monitoring team, which confirmed that the attack took place. Further attacks have been made by Albanian extremists in recent days against Serbian policemen in Marovac and in Lucane. It is difficult for the Albanians to claim the role of innocents in the light of all these reports of violence. Meanwhile, the United Kingdom is reported to have stationed an extra 400 soldiers along the border between Kosovo and Macedonia to halt the supplies reaching the rebels. That the Kosovar Albanians actively support the UCK (Ushtria Clirimtare Kombetere) in Macedonia, there is no doubt. Yesterday, thousands of Kosovar Albanians gathered in Pristina, the Capital of Kosovo, to express their support for the Albanian extremists fighting in Macedonia. 17 Albanians were arrested in Kosovo yesterday for possessing illegal firearms and ammunition. That the situation remains tense, there is no doubt. The determination of all sides in addressing the problem of the Albanian extremists has been excellent, apart from one flagrant example of incompetence – at best, and connivance, at worst – the case of the United States Army allowing armed Albanian terrorists to cross the border into Macedonia in the sector they were supposed to be covering. TIMOTHY BANCROFT-HINCHEY, PRAVDA.RU, LISBON

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