Britain Says All Yugoslavia
Open To Bombing Now
NATO Gets Go-Ahead To Broaden Raids
BELGRADE (Reuters) - NATO struck at targets around Belgrade and Kosovo on Wednesday after dismissing a cease-fire offer by Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic, and Britain said nowhere in Yugoslavia was "immune" from attacks.
While more refugees poured out of Kosovo in what one NATO spokesman called a "modern-day Great Terror", diplomatic sources in Brussels said the Western allies had given Supreme Commander General Wesley Clark the go-ahead to broaden the number, type and scope of targets.
But unfavorable weather was still limiting NATO's ability to hit the Yugoslav forces on the ground in Kosovo and stop what Clark has described as "an anti-humanitarian juggernaut" in the southern Serbian province.
In London, British Defense Secretary George Robertson told a news conference: "The Serbian war machine is the killing machine destroying human beings inside Kosovo. Nowhere is immune (in Yugoslavia) to these (NATO) attacks."
The head of the United Nations food agency meanwhile predicted that people in Kosovo might soon face starvation. "Without international relief assistance starvation is expected within 10 days to two weeks," World Food Programme executive director Catherine Bertini said in London.
In Bonn, German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer said the Western allies would let up only if Belgrade's forces stopped killing ethnic Albanians and forcing others to flee. But German Defense Minister Rudolf Scharping said attacks on the Yugoslav republic of Montenegro could end if its leaders continued to deny support to Belgrade's actions in Kosovo.
In the eighth day of air strikes, NATO missiles hit industrial suburbs of Belgrade and installations around the Kosovan capital Pristina, according to the official Yugoslav news agency Tanjug.
Russian Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov said in a televised interview shown on Wednesday that he was not discouraged by NATO's rejection of peace proposals made by Milosevic, whom he met in Belgrade on Tuesday.
But another senior official voiced a rare Russian criticism of the Yugoslav leadership. "Not only NATO but Milosevic as well is to blame," First Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Avdeyev told the upper house of parliament during a debate on Kosovo. He said that in 1989, Milosevic had "scrapped autonomy in Kosovo, where until then different ethnic groups had lived in peace".
Milosevic expressed readiness on Tuesday to withdraw some forces from Kosovo and resume a peace process with the ethnic Albanian majority there if NATO were to halt its action. U.S. President Bill Clinton and other alliance leaders swiftly rejected his proposals.
Milosevic said the air offensive posed a major threat to European security. "The people of Yugoslavia are heroically resisting NATO aggression against Yugoslavia. Yugoslavia cannot be brought down by weapons," Serb TV quoted him as saying.
In an ominous new development on Wednesday, hundreds more refugees arrived in Macedonia on a locked train, saying they had been herded onto carriages by Serb forces. The refugees said they had been rounded up from several districts in the Kosovan capital Pristina on Tuesday and put on a passenger train which was then locked. They waited several hours without food and water before the train moved off.
The train stopped at a field at the border where Macedonian police herded the passengers together for processing in the open air, where they waited in a cold drizzle. Macedonian police said they expected further arrivals of refugees by train.
The number of refugees crossing into Albania from Kosovo was nearing 100,000 on Wednesday and the influx showed no signs of letting up, OSCE monitors said.
Andrea Angeli, a spokesman for the Tirana office of the OSCE, said 18,000 ethnic Albanians had arrived in the past 24 hours.
In Paris, French President Jacques Chirac urged the European Union to coordinate a huge aid effort. Greek Foreign Minister George Papandreou said he would fly to Albania on Wednesday to help coordinate aid.
In Vienna, diplomats said about 20 local staff of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe were missing, in addition to one shot dead last week, since the pan-European security group withdrew its international observers before the NATO air strikes.
Belgrade says its forces in Kosovo are merely responding to aggression by separatist ethnic Albanian guerrillas and NATO, which it accuses of violating international law, sponsoring terrorism and seeking to dismember Serbia. State-run media say the West is lying about a humanitarian disaster in the province and that refugees are fleeing NATO bombing, not Serb repression.