Belgrade Makes Major
Military Moves For
War With NATO
WASHINGTON (AFP) - Belgrade is bracing for war with NATO, moving armor and troops to Kosovo's border with Macedonia apparently in response to a buildup there of British, French and German forces, the Pentagon said Tuesday.
The Yugoslav army has also been moving surface-to-air missiles and anti-aircraft guns around Serbia and continuing a buildup of forces along the border with Kosovo, Pentagon spokesman Kenneth Bacon said.
"They certainly are bracing for war but they continue to participate in the talks," Bacon said, referring to peace talks which resumed Monday in France.
Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic has rejected the proposed deployment of a 28,000-strong NATO-led force to enforce a peace agreement in Kosovo that would give the province autonomy but not independence.
NATO's military presence in Macedonia has grown to some 12,000 troops as British, French and German soldiers move in to form the "enabling" force that would enter Kosovo if a peace agreement is reached. The NATO presence includes a 2,600-strong French-led extraction force deployed last fall to protect international monitors in Kosovo.
But in the meantime, the Yugoslav army has built up its forces inside Kosovo and on the province's perimeter.
"There also has been concentration of Serb troops along the border between Kosovo and Macedonia," Bacon said. "And that's been building for several weeks." Bacon estimated the Yugoslav army's presence in Kosovo at 14,000 to 18,000 troops, and another 16,000 to 21,000 on the perimeter. (c) 1999 Agence France Presse)