U.S. envoys urge Milosevic to end Kosovo attack Dole says he witnessed 'catastrophe in the making'

September 08, 1998|By LOS ANGELES TIMES

BELGRADE, Yugoslavia -- Senior U.S. envoys sought yesterday to step up the pressure on Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic to call off his offensive against ethnic Albanian guerrillas in the breakaway Kosovo province.

John Shattuck, assistant secretary of state for human rights, and former Sen. Bob Dole of Kansas told a Belgrade news conference that in a weekend visit to Kosovo, they witnessed an unfolding human disaster.

Yesterday they pressed Milosevic to allow Red Cross visits to detained men suspected of being guerrillas and to allow outside experts to investigate allegations of atrocities by both sides.

Milosevic's forces are waging "war against civilians for political purposes" during a six-week summer offensive, said Dole.

"This weekend, I saw them up close and in person: women and children, the elderly living in fear without adequate food and shelter," said the former Senate majority leader who was the Republican party's presidential nominee in 1996.

"These hungry masses will within weeks face winter and the freezing conditions that come with it. This is a humanitarian catastrophe in the making," he said.

The United Nations estimates that 265,000 people in Kosovo have been driven from their homes since February, most of them ethnic Albanians who make up a majority of the population in Serbia's southernmost province. More than 900 people have been killed in the fighting, most of them ethnic Albanians.

Shattuck said Milosevic promised that Red Cross representatives will be allowed to visit detained ethnic Albanian guerrillas of the secessionist Kosovo Liberation Army. About 450 young men were rounded up as suspected guerrillas in Serbian police action last week.

Pub Date: 9/08/98

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