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Voice of America, 99-03-28

Voice of America: Selected Articles Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Voice of America <gopher://gopher.voa.gov>


CONTENTS

  • [01] ANTI-NATO DEMOS (L-ONLY) BY ANDRE DE NESNERA (WASHINGTON)
  • [02] KOSOVO PLANE LOST? (L) BY JIM RANDLE (PENTAGON)
  • [03] KOSOVO / PLANE LOST / L BY JIM RANDLE (PENTAGON)
  • [04] KOSOVO PLANE LOST (S) UPDATE BY JIM RANDLE (PENTAGON)
  • [05] KOSOVO / KUTLIN-PODUJEVO (L-ONLY) BY PHILIP SMUCKER (SKOPJE, MACEDONIA)
  • [06] KOSOVO-REFUGEES (L) BY LISA SCHLEIN (GENEVA)
  • [07] KOSOVO REFUGEES (L) BY NICK SIMEONE (MACEDONIA-KOSOVO BORDER)
  • [08] KOSOVO-RUSSIA (L-ONLY) BY STEFAN BOS (BUDAPEST)
  • [09] KOSOVO/RUSSIA (L-ONLY) UPDATE BY STEFAN BOS (BUDAPEST)
  • [10] RUSSIA SHOTS (L/S VER) BY EVE CONANT (MOSCOW)
  • [11] RUSSIA/GUNSHOTS UPDATE (L) BY EVE CONANT (MOSCOW)
  • [12] RUSSIA-GUNSHOTS (S&L-2ND UPDATE) BY EVE CONANT (MOSCOW)
  • [13] KOSOVO/BRITAIN (S/L) BY LAURIE KASSMAN (LONDON)
  • [14] U-S / KOSOVO (L-ONLY) BY ANDRE DE NESNERA (WASHINGTON)
  • [15] NATO-KOSOVO (L) BY RON PEMSTEIN (BRUSSELS)
  • [16] NATO ATTACKS / SUNDAY (L) BY JIM RANDLE (PENTAGON)
  • [17] MILOSEVIC / NEWSMAKER 2ND CQ BY LAURIE KASSMAN (LONDON)
  • [18] FRANCE TUNNEL (L/S VER) BY JULIAN NUNDY (PARIS)

  • [01] ANTI-NATO DEMOS (L-ONLY) BY ANDRE DE NESNERA (WASHINGTON)

    DATE=3/28/99
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=2-247316
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT: INTRO : DEMONSTRATIONS CONDEMNING THE U-S-LED NATO STRIKES ON YUGOSLAVIA WERE HELD IN CITIES AROUND THE WORLD SUNDAY. SOME TURNED VIOLENT. CORRESPONDENT ANDRE DE NESNERA REPORTS FROM WASHINGTON.

    TEXT: DEMONSTRATORS VENTED THEIR ANGER AGAINST PRESIDENT BILL CLINTON AND OTHER LEADERS OF NATO COUNTRIES AS THE WESTERN ALLIANCE ESCALATED ITS ATTACKS ON SERB MILITARY TARGETS AND SECURITY FORCES. IN SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA, ABOUT SEVEN-THOUSAND PEOPLE SMASHED STORE WINDOWS AND HURLED STONES AT POLICE WHO WERE FORCED TO CALL IN SPECIAL RIOT SQUADS. THE PROTESTERS WAVED SERB FLAGS AND SOME HELD UP POSTERS DEPICTING PRESIDENT CLINTON AS ADOLF HITLER. IN MELBOURNE, ABOUT TWO-THOUSAND ANTI-NATO DEMONSTRATORS GATHERED OUTSIDE THE U-S CONSULATE TO HEAR SPEECHES CONDEMNING THE AIR CAMPAIGN. IN MOSCOW, SEVERAL PEOPLE HAVE BEEN DETAINED AFTER POLICE FOILED A GRENADE ATTACK ON THE U-S EMBASSY. HOWEVER, THE BUILDING -- IN DOWNTOWN MOSCOW -- WAS STRAFED BY MACHINE-GUN FIRE. A KREMLIN SPOKESMAN SAID THE INTERIOR MINISTRY WILL INVESTIGATE THE INCIDENT.

    SINCE NATO BEGAN ITS BOMBING CAMPAIGN WEDNESDAY, THE U-S EMBASSY IN MOSCOW HAS BEEN THE FOCUS OF MOSTLY PEACEFUL ANTI-AMERICAN DEMONSTRATIONS. SENIOR RUSSIAN OFFICIALS HAVE STRONGLY CRITICIZED THE NATO ATTACKS ON SERBIA -- A TRADITIONAL RUSSIAN ALLY.

    IN SALZBURG, AUSTRIA, ABOUT 35-HUNDRED PEOPLE GATHERED TO DENOUNCE THE AIRSTRIKES AND TO VOICE THEIR SUPPORT FOR YUGOSLAV PRESIDENT SLOBODAN MILOSEVIC. THEY WAVED YUGOSLAV FLAGS AND CARRIED ANTI-NATO POSTERS. IN PARIS, MORE THAN ONE-THOUSAND SERBS DEFIED POLICE ORDERS AND GATHERED IN PROTEST. THEY THREW EGGS, EMPTY CANS AND FIRECRACKERS AT SECURITY FORCES. THE PROTEST BROKE UP AFTER NEARLY THREE HOURS.

    IN SPAIN'S CAPITAL -- MADRID -- SERB MEMBERS OF SPANISH FOOTBALL TEAMS WRAPPED THEMSELVES IN YUGOSLAV FLAGS -- WHILE IN BUDAPEST, HUNGARY, 250 ANGRY SERBS SHOUTED ANTI-NATO SLOGANS.

    AND IN THE CITY OF PODGORICA -- IN THE YUGOSLAV PROVINCE OF MONTENEGRO -- ANGRY PROTESTERS BURNED PICTURES OF PRESIDENT CLINTON AND SECRETARY OF STATE MADELEINE ALBRIGHT. THEY ALSO CARRIED BANNERS SAYING "YANKEE GO HOME." (SIGNED)
    NEB/ADEN/RRM
    28-Mar-99 5:11 PM EST (2211 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America


    [02] KOSOVO PLANE LOST? (L) BY JIM RANDLE (PENTAGON)

    DATE=3/27/99
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=2-247285
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    INTRO: SERBIAN TELEVISION IS SHOWING PICTURES OF WHAT IT SAYS IS THE WRECKAGE OF A NATO WARPLANE SHOT DOWN OVER YUGOSLAVIA. V-O-A'S JIM RANDLE REPORTS FROM THE PENTAGON, WHERE OFFICIALS WON'T CONFIRM THE REPORTS BUT SAY THEY TAKE THEM SERIOUSLY.

    TEXT: IF THE REPORT IS TRUE, IT WOULD BE THE FIRST NATO AIRCRAFT LOST IN THE CURRENT BOMBING CAMPAIGN OF SERBIAN TARGETS IN YUGOSLAVIA. TELEVISION PICTURES SHOW GRAY PAINTED WRECKAGE, FLAMES, AND THE INSIGNIA OF THE U-S AIR COMBAT COMMAND.

    SERB TELEVISION REPORTS SAY THE PLANE WAS AN F-117 STEALTH FIGHTER, BASED AT HOLLIMAN AIR FORCE BASE IN NEW MEXICO.

    U-S AIR FORCE SPOKESMAN ED WORLEY SAYS STEALTH FIGHTERS HAVE BEEN BROUGHT DOWN BY MECHANICAL PROBLEMS, BUT NONE HAS EVER BEEN LOST IN COMBAT BEFORE. HE SAYS THE STEALTH IS MADE OF SPECIAL MATERIALS IN A UNIQUE SHAPE THAT MAKE IT HARD TO TRACK ON RADAR AND USUALLY EFFECTIVE AT HITTING HEAVILY DEFENDED TARGETS.

    /// WORLEY ACT 007 ///

    (IT HAS) THE ABILITY TO GET INTO A TARGET AREA, LOW OBSERVABLE, NOT BE SEEN BY THE ENEMY AND BE ABLE TO DELIVER ITS ORDINANCE (BOMBS) AND THEN GET OUT OF THE AREA.

    /// END ACT ///

    THE AIRCRAFT IS FLOWN BY ONE PILOT AND USES LASERS TO GUIDE 900 KILOGRAM BOMBS TO TARGETS WITH GREAT ACCURACY. (SIGNED)
    NEB/JR/KL
    27-Mar-99 8:19 PM EST (0119 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America


    [03] KOSOVO / PLANE LOST / L BY JIM RANDLE (PENTAGON)

    DATE=3/27/99
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=2-247288
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    INTRO: THE UNITED STATES HAS RESCUED THE PILOT OF A NATO WARPLANE THAT CRASHED IN YUGOSLAVIA, DURING BOMBING RAIDS ON SERB TARGETS, SATURDAY. V-O-A'S JIM RANDLE REPORTS FROM THE PENTAGON, WHERE OFFICIALS SAY THE PLANE WAS AN F-117 STEALTH FIGHTER -- ONE OF THE MOST SOPHISTICATED IN THE U-S AIR FORCE.

    TEXT: PENTAGON SPOKESMAN KEN BACON SAYS THE AMERICAN PILOT IS SAFE AT AN ALLIED BASE, AFTER BEING PLUCKED FROM DEEP IN SERBIAN TERRITORY BY A GROUP OF SPECIALLY-TRAINED AND EQUIPPED RESCUERS.

    HE WILL NOT GIVE THE PILOTS NAME, HIS TARGET IN SATURDAY'S AIR RAID OR ANY WORD ABOUT THE RESCUE MISSION NEAR BELGRADE.

    /// BACON ACTUALITY ///

    THERE MAY WELL BE OTHER TIMES WHEN WE HAVE TO RESCUE PILOTS AND THE LESS SAID ABOUT OUR TECHNIQUES FOR RESCUING PILOTS THE BETTER FOR THE SAFETY OF THE PILOTS.

    /// END ACTUALITY ///

    THE AIR FORCE SAYS THIS IS THE FIRST STEALTH FIGHTER LOST IN COMBAT. THE ODD-LOOKING PLANES ARE USED TO ATTACK THE MOST HEAVILY-DEFENDED TARGETS BECAUSE THEIR SPECIAL SHAPE AND EXOTIC MATERIALS MAKE THEM DIFFICULT TO TRACK WITH RADAR.

    PRESIDENT CLINTON SAYS HE IS PROUD OF THE SKILL AND BRAVERY OF THE STEALTH PILOT AND THE PEOPLE WHO RESCUED HIM. HE SAYS NATO WILL CONTINUE ITS ATTACKS ON YUGOSLAV FORCES DESPITE THE LOSS OF THE ADVANCED AIRCRAFT. THOSE ATTACKS HAVE BEEN FALLING MOSTLY ON YUGOSLAVIA'S FORMIDABLE AIR DEFENSE SYSTEM FOR THE FIRST FOUR DAYS OF THE AIR ASSAULT. BUT ALLIANCE OFFICIALS ANNOUNCED SATURDAY THEY WOULD SHIFT THEIR FOCUS TO THE SERB-LED YUGOSLAV FORCES OPERATING IN OR NEAR KOSOVO.

    THOSE FORCES -- CONTROLLED BY YUGOSLAV PRESIDENT SLOBODAN MILOSEVIC -- ARE ACCUSED OF ATTACKING ETHNIC ALBANIANS WHO MAKE UP THE MAJORITY OF THE POPULATION IN THE SERBIAN PROVINCE.

    /// BACON ACTUALITY ///

    THE MISSION IS TO DIMINISH MILOSEVIC'S ABILITY TO CONTINUE HIS MURDEROUS WAYS IN KOSOVO. THOSE WAYS ARE CONTINUING TODAY, THERE ARE SIGNS THAT THEY HAVE BEEN INTENSIFYING. AND WE WILL INTENSIFY OUR EFFORTS TO STOP THAT.

    /// END ACTUALITY ///

    PENTAGON OFFICIALS SAY THERE ARE ABOUT 40 THOUSAND SERB-LED YUGOSLAV TROOPS AND MORE THAN 300 TANKS OPERATING IN OR NEAR THE SERBIAN PROVINCE OF KOSOVO. (SIGNED).
    NEB / WD / WD
    27-Mar-99 11:57 PM EST (0457 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America


    [04] KOSOVO PLANE LOST (S) UPDATE BY JIM RANDLE (PENTAGON)

    DATE=3/27/99
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=2-247286
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    INTRO: THE UNITED STATES HAS RESCUED THE PILOT OF A NATO WARPLANE THAT WAS SHOT DOWN OVER YUGOSLAIVA DURING BOMBING RAIDS ON SERB TARGETS SATURDAY. V-O-A'S JIM RANDLE REPORTS FROM THE PENTAGON, WHERE OFFICIALS SAY THE PLANE WAS AN F-117 STEALTH FIGHTER.

    TEXT: PENTAGON SPOKESMAN KEN BACON SAYS THE AMERICAN PILOT IS SAFE AT "AN ALLIED BASE, AFTER BEING PLUCKED FROM DEEP IN SERBIAN TERRITORY BY A GROUP OF SPECIALLY TRAINED AND EQUIPPED RESCUERS.

    MR. BACON WONT GIVE THE PILOTS NAME, DETAILS OF HIS MISSION OR ANY WORD ABOUT THE RESCUE MISSION. HE SAYS YUGOSLAIVA HAS A ROBUST AIR DEFENSE AND OTHER PILOTS MAY NEED RESCUING BEFORE OPERATION ALLIED FORCE IS FINISHED.

    THE AIR FORCE SAYS THIS IS THE FIRST STEALTH FIGHTER LOST IN COMNBAT, AND MR. BACON SAYS IT IS NOT CLEAR IF IT WAS SHOT DOWN OR CRASHED DUE TO MECHANICAL PROBLEMS. (SIGNED)
    NEB/SD
    27-Mar-99 11:08 PM EST (0408 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America


    [05] KOSOVO / KUTLIN-PODUJEVO (L-ONLY) BY PHILIP SMUCKER (SKOPJE, MACEDONIA)

    DATE=3/28/99
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=2-247317
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    INTRO: WESTERN DIPLOMATS SAY THOUSANDS OF ETHNIC ALBANIANS ARE ON THE RUN INSIDE KOSOVO. THOSE WHO ARRIVE IN MACEDONIA TELL TALES OF BRUTALITY. PHILIP SMUCKER REPORTS FROM SKOPJE, MACEDONIA.

    TEXT: ETHNIC ALBANIAN MALE REFUGEES SAY THAT SERBIAN SECURITY FORCES ARE SYSTEMATICALLY DIVIDING THEM FROM THEIR FAMILIES. MEANWHILE, WESTERN DIPLOMATS IN MACEDONIA SAY THEY HAVE CREDIBLE REPORTS THAT SERBIAN PARAMILITARY GANGS ATTACKED THE TOWN OF PODUJEVO IN NORTHERN KOSOVO ON SUNDAY. THEY SAY THAT ETHNIC ALBANIAN SOURCES REPORT THAT FIVE-THOUSAND TO SEVEN-THOUSAND REFUGEES ARE ON THE RUN FROM PODUJEVO AND ARE MOVING SOUTH IN THE DIRECTION OF THE PROVINCIAL CAPITAL, PRISTINA.

    A GROUP OF MALE REFUGEES INTERVIEWED ON THE MACEDONIAN BORDER SAY THAT MEN IN THE VILLAGE OF KUTLIN, IN SOUTHERN KOSOVO, HAD BEEN ROUNDED UP AT GUNPOINT BY SERBIAN SPECIAL POLICE ON THURSDAY -- AFTER THE FIRST NATO AIR ATTACK ON SERBIA.

    THEY SAY THE SERB FORCES MARCHED THE MEN TO A VILLAGE WATER FACILITY AND BEAT THEM THERE FOR FOUR HOURS. ONE MAN WHO HID BEHIND A WATERFALL ALL DAY SAID HE HEARD CONSTANT BEATING. ANOTHER MAN SAW SERBIAN POLICE UNITS FORCE THE ALBANIAN MEN INTO A COVERED WATER FACILITY BEFORE TOSSING A BOMB IN. THE REPORT COULD NOT BE INDEPENDENTLY CONFIRMED.

    THE MEN WHO ESCAPED FROM KUTLIN SAY THEY BELIEVE THEIR FELLOW VILLAGE MALES ARE NOW DEAD. THEY SAY THE WOMEN AND CHILDREN IN KUTLIN WERE TAKEN ON TRUCKS BY SERB FORCES TO THE NEARBY TOWN OF KACANIK.

    SENIOR WESTERN OFFICIALS IN SKOPJE ARE CALLING FOR TOUGHER NATO ACTION TO STOP THE ALLEGED SERBIAN ATROCITIES. SOME SPEAK ABOUT THE URGENT NEED FOR NATO GROUND TROOPS IN KOSOVO.

    NATO FORCES IN MACEDONIA SAY THEY HAVE NOT BEEN ASKED BY MACEDONIA TO HELP WITH THE REFUGEE CRISIS. A SPOKESMAN FOR THE NATO FORCE SAYS IT HAS ONLY LIMITED INFORMATION ABOUT WHAT IS HAPPENING INSIDE KOSOVO. (SIGNED)
    NEB/PS/RRM
    28-Mar-99 5:26 PM EST (2226 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America


    [06] KOSOVO-REFUGEES (L) BY LISA SCHLEIN (GENEVA)

    DATE=3/28/99
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=2-247303
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    INTRO: THE U-N REFUGEE AGENCY SAYS ALBANIAN AUTHORITIES REPORT BETWEEN EIGHT-THOUSAND AND 10-THOUAND REFUGEES FROM KOSOVO CROSSED THE BORDER INTO ALBANIA LATE SATURDAY. LISA SCHLEIN IN GENEVA SAYS THE REFUGEES WERE ORDERED TO LEAVE BY SERBIAN SECURITY FORCES.

    TEXT: U-N-H-C-R SPOKESWOMAN JUDITH KUMIN SAYS, IF CONFIRMED, THIS COULD INDICATE THE START OF A MASS EXODUS OUT OF KOSOVO. UNTIL NOW, PEOPLE HAVE BEEN TOO INTIMIDATED BY SERB SECURITY FORCES TO SEEK ASYLUM AND ONLY A SMALL NUMBER OF REFUGEES HAVE TRICKLED INTO NEIGHBORING MACEDONIA AND ALBANIA.

    MS. KUMIN SAYS THE SERB AUTHORITIES APPEAR TO BE CHANGING THEIR TACTICS.

    /// KUMIN ACT ///

    IT IS NOT ENTIRELY CLEAR WHAT IS HAPPENING YET. BUT THIS IS THE SECOND GROUP OF PEOPLE ENTERING ALBANIA WHO HAVE TOLD US THAT THEY WERE ORDERED OUT OF THEIR HOMES AND SHOWN THE WAY TO THE BORDER. SO OVER THE NEXT HOURS, WHEN WE HAVE HAD A CHANCE TO DO SOME MORE INTERVIEWS WITH NEW ARRIVALS, WE SHOULD HAVE A BETTER PICTURE. BUT, IT DOES LOOK AS IF THESE PEOPLE WERE ESSENTIALLY EXPELLED FROM THEIR VILLAGES.

    /// END ACT ///

    MS. KUMIN SAYS REFUGEES ARRIVING IN ALBANIA ARE BEING HOUSED WITH LOCAL FAMILIES. ONCE THIS IS EXHAUSTED, SHE SAYS THE AGENCY WILL PUT REFUGEES IN COLLECTIVE CENTERS AND TENTS.

    /// 2ND KUMIN ACT ///

    WE DO HAVE A STOCK OF BOTH FOOD AND OTHER ITEMS -- BLANKETS, MATTRESSES, ET CETERA. IN ALBANIA FOR THE NEW ARRIVALS. OTHER U-N AGENCIES ARE THERE AS WELL AS QUITE A LARGE NUMBER OF N-G-O'S. SO WE ANTICIPATE THERE WILL BE A MAJOR RELIEF EFFORT AND THERE WILL BE A MAJOR COMMITMENT TO THIS RELIEF EFFORT BOTH FROM AID AGENCIES AND FROM GOVERNMENTS.

    /// END ACT ///

    MS. KUMIN SAYS THE NUMBER OF PEOPLE DISPLACED BY THE WAR IN KOSOVO IS QUITE ALARMING. SHE SAYS IT IS APPROACHING THE ONE-HALF-MILLION MARK, FULLY ONE-QUARTER OF THE PRE-WAR POPULATION. THE U-N SPOKESWOMAN SAYS THE DIMENSIONS OF THE PROBLEM ARE GROWING BY THE MINUTE. (SIGNED)
    NEB/LS/ALW/RAE
    28-Mar-99 8:38 AM EST (1338 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America


    [07] KOSOVO REFUGEES (L) BY NICK SIMEONE (MACEDONIA-KOSOVO BORDER)

    DATE=3/28/99
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=2-247310
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    INTRO: NATO SAYS ONE-HALF-MILLION PEOPLE IN KOSOVO PROVINCE HAVE BEEN DISPLACED BY INTENSIFIED ATTACKS BY SERB FORCES. MACEDONIA'S GOVERNMENT SAYS 20-THOUSAND REFUGEES HAVE CROSSED ITS BORDER. CORRESPONDENT NICK SIMEONE REPORTS FROM MACEDONIA THE KOSOVAR REFUGEES ARE SEEKING SHELTER WITH FRIENDS AND RELATIVES.

    TEXT: ETHNIC ALBANIANS CONTINUE TO CROSS INTO MACEDONIA, BRINGING WITH THEM ACCOUNTS OF A RAMPAGE BY SERB FORCES. THEY SAY VILLAGES ARE BEING BURNED WHILE TERRIFIED MEN, WOMEN, AND CHILDREN ARE FORCED TO PAY BRIBES IN EXCHANGE FOR SAFE PASSAGE OUT.

    ACCOUNTS FROM REFUGEES SUGGEST NATO AIR STRIKES DESIGNED TO END SERB ATTACKS ARE HAVING JUST THE OPPOSITE EFFECT. THIS MAN WAS DRIVING A CAR FULL OF REFUGEES ACROSS THE BORDER (SUNDAY).

    //// ACT 1 ///

    (SIMEONE): CAN YOU DESCRIBE THE SITUATION ON THE OTHER SIDE (IN KOSOVO)? (DRIVER): BOMBING EVERYTHING. (SIMEONE): THE SERBS? (DRIVER): OF COURSE. NOT ALBANIA. (SIMEONE): HOW DID YOU GET OUT? (DRIVER): BY PAYING MONEY.

    /// END ACT ///

    BY SOME ACCOUNTS A HALF-MILLION ETHNIC ALBANIANS HAVE BEEN DISPLACED FROM THEIR HOMES, WITH MANY TRYING TO GET OUT ANYWAY THEY CAN. EITHER OVER THE BORDER INTO MACEDONIA, OR INTO ALBANIA AND MONTENEGRO.

    IT SEEMS TERROR IS DRIVING WHAT COULD BE A SERB STRATEGY OF FORCED REMOVAL OF ETHNIC ALBANIANS ON A MASS SCALE. MACEDONIANS SAY MANY OF THESE REFUGEES ARE BEING GIVEN SHELTER BY RELATIVES WHO LIVE ON THIS SIDE OF THE BORDER.

    LIKE THIS REFUGEE, THOSE MAKING IT ACROSS THE BORDER SAY THEY ARE PLACING TRUST IN NATO TO STOP THE SERB AGGRESSION.

    /// ACT 2 ///

    THE ONLY POSSIBILITY TO STOP MILOSEVIC IS TO GO TO AN AGREEMENT.

    /// END ACT ///

    JUST A FEW KILOMETERS AWAY, NATO TROOPS STAND GUARD IN TANKS, THEIR GUNS DRAWN, EYES TRAINED ON THE MOUNTAINS, WHERE JUST BEYOND EYEWITNESS ACCOUNTS SUGGEST A HUMANITARIAN CATASTROPHE MAY BE UNFOLDING. (SIGNED)
    NEB/NJS/RAE
    28-Mar-99 2:38 PM EST (1938 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America


    [08] KOSOVO-RUSSIA (L-ONLY) BY STEFAN BOS (BUDAPEST)

    DATE=3/28/99
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=2-247305
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    INTRO: WHILE NATO CONTINUES ITS AIR STRIKES AGAINST YUGOSLAVIA, A RUSSIAN DELEGATION HELD TALKS WITH U-S ENVOY RICHARD HOLBROOK IN BUDAPEST BEFORE LEAVING FOR BELGRADE TO MEET WITH THE YUGOSLAV LEADERSHIP. BUT AS STEFAN BOS REPORTS FROM BUDAPEST, MR. HOLBROOK MADE IT CLEAR THAT WHILE RUSSIA AND AMERICA REMAIN DIVIDED OVER THE MILITARY ACTION, A DIALOGUE SHOULD CONTINUE.

    TEXT: AT THE BUDAPEST AIRPORT WHERE HE MET THE RUSSIANS, MR. HOLBROOK TOLD REPORTERS THERE WAS NO CHANGE IN THE AMERICAN POSITION THAT LED TO NATO'S AIR STRIKES. HE HAD DISCUSSED THE SITUATION WITH A DELEGATION LED BY FORMER REFORMIST PRIME MINISTER YEGOR GAIDAR.

    /// HOLBROOKE ACT ///

    I REVIEWED WITH MR. GAIDAR AND HIS ASSOCIATES THE AMERICAN POSITION ON ALL THESE MATTERS, WHICH I THINK YOU ARE ALL FAMILIAR WITH. THERE HAS BEEN NO CHANGE IN THAT POSITION. IN A SENSE THERE IS A CLEAR DISAGREEMENT BETWEEN THE RUSSIAN GOVERNMENT AND NATO. BUT A DISAGREEMENT DOES NOT MEAN THAT WE SHOULD NOT KEEP IN CONTINUED CLOSE CONTACT.

    /// END ACT ///

    MR. GAIDAR TOLD V-O-A NEWS THAT DURING THIS PRIVATE VISIT, HE AND HIS DELEGATION WANT TO PERSUADE YUGOSLAV PRESIDENT SLOBODAN MILOSOVIC TO SEEK A PEACEFUL SETTLEMENT. BUT MR. GAIDAR SAYS THIS DOES NOT MEAN HE WOULD TRY TO FORCE THE YUGOSLAV LEADER TO SIGN UP TO THE KOSOVO PEACE PLAN PROPOSED DURING THE PEACE TALKS IN RAMBOUILLET, FRANCE.

    /// GAIDAR ACT ///

    WE HAVE SOME PROPOSALS TO MR. MILOSOVIC HOW, FROM OUR POINT OF VIEW, TO MAKE A FEW STEPS FORWARD TO END THIS HOSTILITIES. IT DOES NOT INCLUDE AN ULTIMATUM TO MR. MILOSOVIC TO SIGN THE RAMBOUILLET (PEACEPLAN FOR KOSOVO), IMMEDIATELY AS A PRE-CONDITION. IT DOES NOT INCLUDE THIS.

    /// END ACT ///

    THE RUSSIAN POLITICIAN SAYS HE WANTS TO PUSH A DEAL WITH PRESIDENT MILOSOVIC THAT COULD END BOTH THE FIGHTING AND THE OPPRESSION OF MINORITIES IN KOSOVO.

    BUT THERE WERE INDICATIONS MR. MILOSOVIC WAS HAVING SECOND THOUGHTS ABOUT THE PROPOSED MEETING. MR. GAIDAR AND FORMER DEPUTY PRIME MINISTERS BORIS NEMTSOV AND BORIS FYODOROV HAD NOT RECEIVED VISAS BY THE TIME THEY LEFT HUNGARY FOR BELGRADE BY CAR.

    /// OPT. SECOND GAIDAR ACT ///

    THE MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS IS NOW IN NEGOTIATIONS WITH THE FOREIGN MINISTRY OF YUGOSLAVIA. THEY TOLD US THAT THIS PROBLEM WILL BE RESOLVED WHEN WE ARE AT THE BORDER. SO WE GO TO THE BORDER, AND I HOPE THIS PROBLEM WILL BE RESOLVED UNTIL WE ARE THERE.

    /// END ACT // END OPT ///

    THE RUSSIAN DIPLOMAT ADDS THAT HE UNDERSTANDS BELGRADE'S WORRIES, BECAUSE ALL DIPLOMATIC EFFORTS TO STOP THE AIR STRIKES HAVE SO FAR FAILED. MR. GAIDAR SAYS HE HOPES THE WEST WILL REMAIN SENSITIVE TO THE RUSSIAN PROPOSALS, BECAUSE HE FEARS CONTINUATION OF THE AIR STRIKES BY NATO COULD LEAD TO A RE-EMERGENCE OF THE COLD WAR. (SIGNED).
    NEB/SB/ALW/RAE
    28-Mar-99 10:47 AM EST (1547 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America


    [09] KOSOVO/RUSSIA (L-ONLY) UPDATE BY STEFAN BOS (BUDAPEST)

    DATE=3/28/99
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=2-247315
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    /////

    UPDATES INTRO DROPS TEXT GRAF 6-7 AND FIRST SENTENCE OF LAST GRAF OF CR2-247305. MAKE TAPE CONFORM TO TEXT. /////

    INTRO: A RUSSIAN DELEGATION IS IN BELGRADE TO MEET WITH YUGOSLAV LEADERS IN AN EFFORT TO FIND A DIPLOMATIC END TO THE CRISIS IN SERBIA'S KOSOVO PROVINCE. EARLIER (SUNDAY) THE RUSSIANS MET WITH U-S ENVOY RICHARD HOLBROOK IN HUNGARY. AS STEFAN BOS REPORTS FROM BUDAPEST, MR. HOLBROOK MADE IT CLEAR THAT WHILE RUSSIA AND AMERICA REMAIN DIVIDED OVER THE ISSUE, A DIALOGUE SHOULD CONTINUE.

    TEXT: AT THE BUDAPEST AIRPORT WHERE HE MET THE RUSSIANS, MR. HOLBROOK TOLD REPORTERS THERE WAS NO CHANGE IN THE AMERICAN POSITION THAT LED TO NATO'S AIR STRIKES. HE HAD DISCUSSED THE SITUATION WITH A DELEGATION LED BY FORMER REFORMIST PRIME MINISTER YEGOR GAIDAR.

    /// HOLBROOKE ACT ///

    I REVIEWED WITH MR. GAIDAR AND HIS ASSOCIATES THE AMERICAN POSITION ON ALL THESE MATTERS, WHICH I THINK YOU ARE ALL FAMILIAR WITH. THERE HAS BEEN NO CHANGE IN THAT POSITION. IN A SENSE THERE IS A CLEAR DISAGREEMENT BETWEEN THE RUSSIAN GOVERNMENT AND NATO. BUT A DISAGREEMENT DOES NOT MEAN THAT WE SHOULD NOT KEEP IN CONTINUED CLOSE CONTACT.

    /// END ACT ///

    MR. GAIDAR TOLD V-O-A NEWS THAT DURING THIS PRIVATE VISIT, HE AND HIS DELEGATION WANT TO PERSUADE YUGOSLAV PRESIDENT SLOBODAN MILOSOVIC TO SEEK A PEACEFUL SETTLEMENT. BUT MR. GAIDAR SAYS THIS DOES NOT MEAN HE WOULD TRY TO FORCE THE YUGOSLAV LEADER TO SIGN UP TO THE KOSOVO PEACE PLAN PROPOSED DURING THE PEACE TALKS IN RAMBOUILLET, FRANCE.

    /// GAIDAR ACT ///

    WE HAVE SOME PROPOSALS TO MR. MILOSOVIC HOW, FROM OUR POINT OF VIEW, TO MAKE A FEW STEPS FORWARD TO END THIS HOSTILITIES. IT DOES NOT INCLUDE AN ULTIMATUM TO MR. MILOSOVIC TO SIGN THE RAMBOUILLET (PEACEPLAN FOR KOSOVO), IMMEDIATELY AS A PRE-CONDITION. IT DOES NOT INCLUDE THIS.

    /// END ACT ///

    THE RUSSIAN POLITICIAN SAYS HE WANTS TO PUSH A DEAL WITH PRESIDENT MILOSOVIC THAT COULD END BOTH THE FIGHTING AND THE OPPRESSION OF MINORITIES IN KOSOVO.

    MR. GAIDAR SAYS HE HOPES THE WEST WILL REMAIN SENSITIVE TO THE RUSSIAN PROPOSALS, BECAUSE HE FEARS CONTINUATION OF THE AIR STRIKES BY NATO COULD LEAD TO A RE-EMERGENCE OF THE COLD WAR. (SIGNED).
    NEB/SB/ALW/RAE
    28-Mar-99 4:01 PM EST (2101 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America


    [10] RUSSIA SHOTS (L/S VER) BY EVE CONANT (MOSCOW)

    DATE=3/28/99
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=2-247299
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    /////

    ED'S: UPDATES EARLIER SHORT WITH NEW DETAILS IN TEXT AND INTRO /////

    INTRO: THE UNITED STATES EMBASSY IN DOWNTOWN MOSCOW WAS THE TARGET (SUNDAY) OF GUNFIRE REPORTEDLY FROM AN AUTOMATIC WEAPON. RUSSIAN NEWS REPORTS SAY POLICE HAVE DETAINED THREE SUSPECTS. CORRESPONDENT EVE CONANT REPORTS ANTI-NATO DEMONSTRATORS WERE OUTSIDE THE EMBASSY AT THE TIME OF THE ATTACK.

    TEXT: MACHINE-GUN BULLETS HAVE BEEN FIRED AT THE U-S EMBASSY IN MOSCOW, THE SCENE OF ANTI-NATO PROTESTS AGAINST THE BOMBING OF YUGOSLAVIA.

    EYEWITNESSES SAY A GUNMAN WEARING A SKI MASK AND CAMOUFLAGE TRIED TO FIRE TWO GRENADE LAUNCHERS TOWARD THE BUILDING, BUT TOSSED THE EQUIPMENT AWAY WHEN IT FAILED TO WORK. THE MAN THEN OPENED FIRE ON THE EMBASSY WITH AN AUTOMATIC WEAPON.

    WITNESSES SAY BYSTANDERS COVERED THEIR HEADS AND FLUNG THEMSELVES TO THE GROUND. THERE ARE NO REPORTS OF INJURIES.

    THOUSANDS OF RUSSIANS HAVE BEEN PROTESTING OUTSIDE THE U-S EMBASSY SINCE NATO AIRSTRIKES BEGAN LAST WEDNESDAY IN YUGOSLAVIA A TRADITIONAL RUSSIAN ALLY.

    /// REST OPT FOR LONG ///

    THE INTERFAX NEWS AGENCY REPORTS THREE YOUNG MEN HIJACKED A POLICE VEHICLE JEEP, BUT LATER ABANDONED IT NEAR THE EMBASSY. POLICE SAY A MANHUNT IS UNDERWAY.

    THE EMBASSY BUILDING IS ALREADY COVERED WITH INK STAINS AND EGGS FROM FOUR DAYS OF ANTI-NATO PROTESTS. DEMONSTRATORS HAVE ALSO BEEN THROWING BOTTLES AGAINST THE BUILDING, SMASHING WINDOWS AND BURNING AMERICAN FLAGS AND DOLLAR BILLS (CURRENCY) IN PROTEST. (SIGNED).
    NEB/EC/PCF/RAE
    28-Mar-99 7:59 AM EST (1259 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America


    [11] RUSSIA/GUNSHOTS UPDATE (L) BY EVE CONANT (MOSCOW)

    DATE=3/28/99
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=2-247304
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    /////

    ED'S: CHANGES FIRST LINE INTRO, GRAPH 2, GRAPH 3, ADDS GRAPH 4-7, CHANGES GRAPH 9 TO UPDATE WITH YELTSIN REACTION, ADDS OPT ENDING. /////

    INTRO: RUSSIAN NEWS AGENCIES SAY THREE SUSPECTS HAVE BEEN DETAINED FOLLOWING AN ATTACK INVOLVING AUTOMATIC GUNFIRE ON THE U-S EMBASSY (SUNDAY) IN MOSCOW. V-O-A'S EVE CONANT REPORTS ANTI-NATO DEMONSTRATORS WERE OUTSIDE THE EMBASSY AT THE TIME OF THE ATTACK.

    TEXT: MACHINE-GUN BULLETS WERE FIRED AT THE SIDE OF THE EMBASSY IN DOWNTOWN MOSCOW. RUSSIA'S "N-T-V" TELEVISION ALSO BROADCAST PICTURES SHOWING A MAN HOLDING A GRENADE LAUNCHER STEPPING FROM A WHITE JEEP ON THE BUSY STREET IN FRONT OF THE EMBASSY. ANOTHER MAN INSIDE THE CAR ALSO IS SEEN AIMING A GRENADE LAUNCHER AT THE BUILDING. THE MAN OUTSIDE THE CAR, IN A SKI MASK AND CAMOUFLAGE [CLOTHING], TOSSES HIS EQUIPMENT AWAY AND JUMPS BACK INTO THE CAR AFTER POLICE BEGIN FIRING PISTOL SHOTS, SHATTERING THE WINDOWS OF THE CAR. THERE IS A BURST OF RIFLE FIRE FROM THE VEHICLE BEFORE IT SPEEDS OFF.

    // OPT //

    THE TELEVISION ALSO SHOWS BYSTANDERS -- MOST LIKELY ANTI-NATO PROTESTERS -- COVERING THEIR HEADS AND FLINGING THEMSELVES TO THE GROUND. THERE ARE NO REPORTS OF INJURIES.

    // END OPT //

    A KREMLIN SPOKESMAN SAYS PRESIDENT BORIS YELTSIN HAS ORDERED RUSSIA'S INTERIOR MINISTER TO INVESTIGATE THE INCIDENT.

    A TOP EMBASSY OFFICIAL WHO ASKED NOT TO BE NAMED SPOKE BY CELLULAR PHONE WITH V-O-A AS HE DROVE TO THE SITE OF THE SHOOTING. HE SAYS HE BELIEVES ANGRY PROTESTS WILL CONTINUE.

    /// ACTUALITY OF OFFICIAL ///

    I EXPECT WE PROBABLY HAVE NOT SEEN THE END OF IT.

    /// END ACT ///

    THE AMERICAN OFFICIAL SAYS HE WILL ORDER SECURITY TO BE STEPPED-UP EVEN FURTHER AT THE EMBASSY. // OPT // WHEN ASKED IF HE FEARS FOR HIS PERSONAL SAFETY, HE REFUSES TO GIVE DETAILS.

    /// SECOND ACT OF OFFICIAL///

    NO I DO NOT HAVE ANY COMMENT ON THAT. WE ARE JUST DOING OUR JOB HERE.

    ///END ACT/////END OPT//

    THOUSANDS OF RUSSIANS HAVE BEEN PROTESTING OUTSIDE THE U-S EMBASSY SINCE NATO AIR STRIKES BEGAN LAST WEDNESDAY OVER YUGOSLAVIA -- A TRADITIONAL RUSSIAN ALLY.

    THE EMBASSY BUILDING IS COVERED WITH INK STAINS AND EGGS FOLLOWING FOUR DAYS OF ANTI-NATO PROTESTS. DEMONSTRATORS HAVE ALSO BEEN THROWING BOTTLES AGAINST THE BUILDING, SMASHING WINDOWS, AND BURNING AMERICAN FLAGS AND DOLLAR BILLS (EDS: CURRENCY) IN PROTEST.

    /// REST OPT ///

    THIS IS NOT THE FIRST TIME THE U-S EMBASSY IN MOSCOW HAS COME UNDER ATTACK. IN 1995 A MASKED ATTACKER FIRED A ROCKET-PROPELLED GRENADE AT THE BUILDING, WHICH EXPLODED IN AN EMPTY OFFICE. THAT ATTACK CAME ONE-DAY AFTER KREMLIN OFFICIALS ACCUSED NATO OF COMMITTING GENOCIDE AGAINST BOSNIAN SERBS. (SIGNED)
    NEB/EC/PCF/RAE
    28-Mar-99 10:15 AM EST (1515 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America


    [12] RUSSIA-GUNSHOTS (S&L-2ND UPDATE) BY EVE CONANT (MOSCOW)

    DATE=3/28/99
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=2-247309
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    ///// USE OPT. MATERIAL FOR LONG REPORT. /////

    INTRO: RUSSIAN NEWS AGENCIES SAY THREE SUSPECTS HAVE BEEN DETAINED FOLLOWING AN ATTACK INVOLVING AUTOMATIC GUNFIRE SUNDAY ON THE U-S EMBASSY IN MOSCOW. V-O-A'S EVE CONANT REPORTS ANTI-NATO DEMONSTRATORS WERE OUTSIDE THE EMBASSY AT THE TIME OF THE ATTACK.

    TEXT: MACHINE-GUN BULLETS WERE FIRED AT THE SIDE OF THE EMBASSY IN DOWNTOWN MOSCOW. RUSSIA'S N-T-V TELEVISION ALSO BROADCAST PICTURES SHOWING A MAN HOLDING A GRENADE LAUNCHER STEPPING FROM A WHITE JEEP ON THE BUSY STREET IN FRONT OF THE EMBASSY. THE MAN, IN A SKI MASK AND CAMOUFLAGE (CLOTHING), TOSSES HIS EQUIPMENT AWAY AND JUMPS BACK INTO THE CAR AFTER POLICE BEGIN FIRING PISTOLS, SHATTERING THE WINDOWS OF THE CAR. THERE IS A BURST OF AUTOMATIC-RIFLE FIRE FROM THE VEHICLE BEFORE IT SPEEDS OFF.

    /// OPT ///

    THE FOOTAGE ALSO SHOWS BYSTANDERS -- MOST LIKELY ANTI-NATO PROTESTORS -- COVERING THEIR HEADS AND FLINGING THEMSELVES TO THE GROUND. THERE ARE NO REPORTS OF INJURIES. /// END OPT///

    A KREMLIN SPOKESMAN SAYS PRESIDENT BORIS YELTSIN HAS ORDERED THE INTERIOR MINISTER TO INVESTIGATE THE INCIDENT. FOREIGN MINISTRY OFFICIALS HAVE EXPRESSED REGRET OVER THE ATTACK.

    /// REST OPT FOR LONG ///

    A TOP EMBASSY OFFICIAL, WHO ASKED NOT TO BE NAMED, SPOKE BY CELLULAR PHONE WITH V-O-A AS HE DROVE TO THE SITE OF THE SHOOTING. HE SAYS HE BELIEVES ANGRY PROTESTS WILL CONTINUE.

    /// OFFICIAL'S ACT ///

    I EXPECT WE PROBABLY HAVE NOT SEEN THE END OF IT.

    /// END ACT ///

    THE AMERICAN OFFICIAL SAYS HE WILL ORDER SECURITY TO BE STEPPED UP EVEN FURTHER AT THE EMBASSY.

    // OPT //

    WHEN ASKED IF HE FEARS FOR HIS PERSONAL SAFETY, HE REFUSES TO GIVE DETAILS.

    /// SECOND OFFICIAL'S ACT ///

    NO I DO NOT HAVE ANY COMMENT ON THAT. WE ARE JUST DOING OUR JOB HERE.

    /// END ACT // END OPT ///

    THOUSANDS OF RUSSIANS HAVE BEEN PROTESTING OUTSIDE THE U-S EMBASSY SINCE NATO AIR STRIKES BEGAN WEDNESDAY ON YUGOSLAVIA -- A TRADITIONAL RUSSIAN ALLY. THE EMBASSY BUILDING IS COVERED WITH INK STAINS AND EGGS FOLLOWING FOUR DAYS OF ANTI-NATO PROTESTS.

    DEMONSTRATORS HAVE ALSO BEEN THROWING BOTTLES AGAINST THE BUILDING, SMASHING WINDOWS, AND BURNING AMERICAN FLAGS AND DOLLARS BILLS IN PROTEST.

    THIS IS NOT THE FIRST TIME THE U-S EMBASSY IN MOSCOW HAS COME UNDER ATTACK. IN 1995 A MASKED ATTACKER FIRED A ROCKET-PROPELLED GRENADE WHICH EXPLODED IN AN EMPTY EMBASSY OFFICE. THAT ATTACK CAME ONE-DAY AFTER KREMLIN OFFICIALS ACCUSED NATO OF GENOCIDE AGAINST BOSNIAN SERBS. (SIGNED).
    NWB/EC/ALW/RAE
    28-Mar-99 12:28 PM EST (1728 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America


    [13] KOSOVO/BRITAIN (S/L) BY LAURIE KASSMAN (LONDON)

    DATE=3/28/99
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=2-247298
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    INTRO: BRITAIN IS SENDING MORE BOMBERS TO THE BALKANS TO SUPPORT THE INTENSIFIED NATO AIR CAMPAIGN AGAINST YUGOSLAVIA'S MILITARY. CORRESPONDENT LAURIE KASSMAN REPORTS FROM LONDON.

    TEXT: BRITISH DEFENSE SECRETARY GEORGE ROBERTSON SAYS THE FIRST WAVE OF BOMBINGS HAS DEGRADED YUGOSLAVIA'S AIR DEFENSE SYSTEM ENOUGH TO REFOCUS NATO ATTACKS AGAINST PRESIDENT SLOBODAN MILOSEVIC'S MILITARY MACHINERY IN KOSOVO PROVINCE.

    /// ROBERTSON ACT ///

    THE WHOLE INTENTION BY BROADENING THE NUMBER OF TARGETS, THE RANGE OF TARGETS AND THE INTENSIFY OF THE ATTACKS, IS TO MAKE A DIRECT IMPACT ON THE ABILITY OF MILOSEVIC'S MILITARY THUGS -- BECAUSE THAT IS WHAT THEY ARE, THESE SO-CALLED SECURITY FORCES -- TO DAMAGE THEIR CAPABILITY AND THEIR ABILITY TO ATTACK INNOCENT CIVILIANS AS THEY ARE DOING AT THE MOMENT.

    /// END ACT ///

    BRITAIN IS SENDING FOUR MORE HARRIER JETS AND EIGHT TORNADO BOMBERS TO THE BALKANS TO JOIN THE NEW WAVE OF ATTACKS.

    /// OPT THE REST FOR LONG CR ///

    DEFENSE SECRETARY ROBERTSON SAYS NATO'S AIM NOW IS TO STOP ATROCITIES IN KOSOVO PROVINCE THAT ARE BEING COMMITTED BY SERB SPECIAL FORCES AND PARA-MILITARY GROUPS WHO HAD ONCE BRUTALIZED BOSNIA.

    /// ROBERTSON ACT ///

    AND THIS JUDGMENT WAS STRENGTHENED YESTERDAY WHEN WE RECEIVED REPORTS THAT THE NOTORIOUS PARAMILITARY LEADER, KNOWN AS ARKAN, HAS BEEN OPERATING WITH THE SERBIAN FORCES IN THE REGION OF PRISTINA. /// OPT /// ARKAN WAS LINKED WITH A NUMBER OF ATROCITIES IN BOSNIA, INCLUDING THE KILLINGS AT VUKOVAR AND SEJAK. HE IS A NOTORIOUS AND OBNOXIOUS THUG. /// END OPT///

    /// END ACT ///

    /// BEGIN OPT ///

    MR. ROBERTSON SAYS THE AIM OF THE WESTERN ALLIES IS TO STOP THE REPRESSION AND RESTORE PEACE AND STABILITY TO KOSOVO. BUT ONCE AGAIN HE SAYS NATO TROOPS WILL NOT GO INTO KOSOVO PROVINCE UNINVITED.

    /// OPT ROBERTSON ACT THREE ///

    THE POLITICAL ENDGAME IS A PEACE AGREEMENT THAT HAS GOT NATO TROOPS ON THE GROUNDS TO IMPLEMENT IT. OUR MILITARY OBJECTIVES ARE CONFINED TO DISRUPTING THE VIOLENCE THAT IS CURRENTLY GOING ON AND LIMITING THE POWER AND ABILITY OF THE SERBS TO DO IT IN THE FUTURE.

    /// END ACT ///

    /// END OPT ///

    NATO IS INCREASING ITS AIR DEFENSE SYSTEMS IN NEIGHBORING MACEDONIA ARE TO PROTECT NATO PEACEKEEPING TROOPS BASED THERE FROM ANY POTENTIAL SERB MILITARY ATTACKS. (SIGNED)
    NEB/LMK/ALW/RAE
    28-Mar-99 7:48 AM EST (1248 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America


    [14] U-S / KOSOVO (L-ONLY) BY ANDRE DE NESNERA (WASHINGTON)

    DATE=3/28/99
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=2-247313
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    INTRO: U-S OFFICIALS SAY NATO'S BOMBING CAMPAIGN AGAINST SERB TROOPS AND SECURITY FORCES IN SERBIA'S ETHNIC ALBANIAN REGION OF KOSOVO WILL CONTINUE UNABATED. AT THE SAME TIME, THERE ARE NO PLANS TO SEND IN U-S GROUND FORCES TO THE SERB PROVINCE. CORRESPONDENT ANDRE DE NESNERA REPORTS FROM WASHINGTON.

    TEXT: PRESIDENT CLINTON SAYS THE BRUTAL REPRESSION BY SERB FORCES OF ETHNIC ALBANIANS IN KOSOVO UNDERSCORES THE NEED FOR CONTINUED NATO BOMBING STRIKES.

    IN A BRIEF STATEMENT TO REPORTERS AFTER MEETING HIS NATIONAL SECURITY STAFF, MR. CLINTON SAID NATO REMAINS UNITED IN ITS STANCE AGAINST YUGOSLAV PRESIDENT SLOBODAN MILOSEVIC.

    // CLINTON ACT //

    IN THE LAST 24 HOURS, I HAVE BEEN IN CLOSE CONTACT WITH KEY NATO ALLIES, INCLUDING (BRITISH) PRIME MINISTER TONY BLAIR, (FRENCH) PRESIDENT (JACQUES) CHIRAC, (GERMAN) CHANCELLOR (GERHARD) SCHROEDER AND (ITALIAN) PRIME MINISTER (MASSIMO) D'ALEMA. ALL OF THEM SHARE OUR DETERMINATION TO RESPOND STRONGLY TO MR. MILOSEVIC'S CONTINUING CAMPAIGN OF INHUMANITY AND VIOLENCE AGAINST THE KOSOVAR ALBANIAN PEOPLE.

    // END ACT //

    U-S OFFICIALS HAVE CONFIRMED REPORTS BY REFUGEES THAT SERB TROOPS AND SECURITY FORCES HAVE STEPPED UP THEIR ATTACKS ON ETHNIC ALBANIANS IN KOSOVO.

    SECRETARY OF STATE MADELEINE ALBRIGHT, (APPEARING ON THE C-B-S TELEVISION PROGRAM "FACE THE NATION"), DESCRIBED WHAT SHE CALLED A "SYSTEMATIC CAMPAIGN OF ETHNIC CLEANSING."

    // ALBRIGHT ACT //

    THERE ARE TERRIBLE REPORTS ABOUT MEN AND WOMEN -- MEN BEING SEPARATED FROM WOMEN AND CHILDREN, THEN BEING TAKEN OFF AND EXECUTED; VILLAGES BEING TORCHED; PEOPLE ARRIVING ACROSS THE BORDER WITH NO SHOES AND LITERALLY TOLD TO LEAVE THEIR VILLAGES. SO IT IS A VERY, VERY BAD THING.

    // END ACT //

    MS. ALBRIGHT SAYS NATO BOMBINGS WILL ENSURE THAT MR. MILOSEVIC PAYS A HEAVY PRICE FOR HIS CAMPAIGN AGAINST ETHNIC ALBANIANS. SENIOR YUGOSLAV OFFICIALS HAVE DENIED ATROCITIES ARE OCCURING, SAYING THEY ARE FIGHTING TERRORISTS -- THEIR DESCRIPTION OF THE "KOSOVO LIBERATION ARMY" REBEL GROUP. MEANWHILE, U-S MILITARY OFFICIALS SAY THE NATO AIR CAMPAIGN WILL CONTINUE AND WILL BE INTENSIFIED. GENERAL HENRY SHELTON -- CHAIRMAN OF THE JOINT (MILITARY) CHIEFS OF STAFF -- (APPEARING ON N-B-C'S "MEET THE PRESS" PROGRAM) -- SAYS THE BOMBINGS - SO FAR - HAVE BEEN SUCCESSFUL.

    // SHELTON ACT //

    THE AIR CAMPAIGN HAS BEEN VERY EFFECTIVE AGAINST THE OBJECTIVES THAT WERE LAID OUT. INTIALLY, OF COURSE, AS MOST COMMENTATORS HAVE SAID, WE HAD TO GO AFTER THEIR INTEGRATED AIR DEFENSE. WE HAVE BEEN DEGRADING THAT AIR DEFENSE -- BUT WE ALSO SIMULTANEOUSLY HAVE BEEN STRIKING COMMAND AND CONTROL (CENTERS), THE SERBIAN ARMY AND SECURITY FORCES AS WELL, BOTH IN KOSOVO AS WELL AS IN SERBIA.

    // END ACT //

    GENERAL SHELTON SAYS THE SKIES ABOVE YUGOSLAVIA CONTINUE TO BE VERY DANGEROUS FOR U-S PILOTS, GIVEN THAT COUNTRY'S STRONG AIR DEFENSE CAPABILITIES. // OPT // MEANWHILE, MILITARY OFFICIALS ARE STILL TRYING TO DETERMINE WHAT CAUSED AN AMERICAN F-117 STEALTH FIGHTER TO CRASH DURING A BOMBING RUN. THE PILOT WAS LATER RESCUED. // END OPT //

    SOME MILITARY ANALYSTS HAVE INDICATED A BOMBING CAMPAIGN ALONE WILL NOT FORCE YUGOSLAV PRESIDENT MILOSEVIC TO CAPITULATE. THEY SAY NATO WILL INEVITABLY BE FORCED TO SEND IN GROUND TROOPS IN KOSOVO. BUT DEFENSE SECRETARY WILLIAM COHEN (APPEARING ON N-B-C'S "MEET THE PRESS") REPEATED THE ADMINISTRATION'S NEGATIVE VIEW ON SENDING IN GROUND TROOPS.

    // COHEN ACT //

    THE PRESIDENT HAS MADE IT VERY CLEAR -- HE HAS NOT ONLY NO PLANS, BUT NO INTENT TO PUT GROUND TROOPS INTO A HOSTILE ENVIRONMENT. IF THERE IS A PEACE SETTLEMENT, THEN HE HAS INDICATED WE WOULD BE PREPARED TO CONTRIBUTE A SMALL AMOUNT TO A PEACEKEEPING FORCE OUT OF THE TOTAL. (FOUR-THOUSAND OUT OF A TOTAL NATO FORCE OF 28-THOUSAND) BUT ABSENT THAT, WE WILL CONTINUE WITH THE AIR CAMPAIGN.

    // END ACT //

    SINCE THE INTRODUCTION OF NATO GROUND FORCES APPEARS NOT TO BE CONSIDERED AT THIS TIME, SOME SENATORS HAVE INTRODUCED THE IDEA OF ARMING THE "KOSOVO LIBERATION ARMY." BUT U-S OFFICIALS HAVE REJECTED SUCH A MOVE. (SIGNED)
    NEB/ADEN/RRM
    28-Mar-99 3:11 PM EST (2011 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America


    [15] NATO-KOSOVO (L) BY RON PEMSTEIN (BRUSSELS)

    DATE=3/28/99
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=2-247308
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    INTRO: NATO HAS STARTED BROADENING ITS AIR ATTACKS AGAINST YUGOSLAV MILITARY FORCES IN THE SERBIAN PROVINCE OF KOSOVO. RON PEMSTEIN REPORTS FROM NATO HEADQUARTERS, THE UPSURGE IN ALBANIAN REFUGEES IS CHANGING THE TARGET LIST.

    TEXT: SATURDAY, NATO ATTACKED 17 TARGETS, 11 OF THEM IN THE BELGRADE AREA, JUST TWO IN THE SERBIAN PROVINCE OF KOSOVO. UNDER NEW ORDERS GIVEN TO NATO'S COMMANDER, THAT APPROACH IS STARTING TO CHANGE.

    INSTEAD OF FOCUSSING ON YUGOSLAVIA'S AIR DEFENSE NETWORK, NATO IS BROADENING ITS ATTACKS TO THE TANKS, ARTILLERY, AND MILITARY UNITS OF THE YUGOSLAV ARMY AND SPECIAL POLICE FORCES. THE REASON IS AN UPSURGE IN THE NUMBER OF ALBANIAN REFUGEES FLEEING WHAT NATO SPOKESMAN JAMIE SHEA DESCRIBES AS -- A YUGOSLAV ETHNIC-CLEANSING CAMPAIGN.

    /// SHEA ACT ///

    IT SEEMS AS IF (YUGOSLAV PRESIDENT SLOBODAN) MILOSEVIC IS TRYING TO CREATE A NEW SITUATION ON THE GROUND, IN HIS VIEW IRREVERSIBLE AND AT THE SAME TIME BY PROVOKING THESE OUTFLOWS OF REFUGEES INTO NEIGHBORING COUNTRIES, COUNTRIES WHICH ARE NOT OBVIOUSLY WELL EQUIPPED AT THE MOMENT TO HANDLE AN ADDITIONAL INFLOW OF REFUGEES, HE IS TRYING TO DE-STABILIZE THE ENTIRE AREA.

    /// END ACT ///

    MR. SHEA DENIES NATO'S AIR STRIKES ARE CONTRIBUTING TO A YUGOSLAV POLICY OF REVENGE. HE SAYS THIS SCORCHED EARTH POLICY HAS BEEN SEEN BEFORE.

    /// SECOND SHEA ACT ///

    IN FACT WE ARE LIVING A KIND OF "ACTION REPLAY" OF WHAT WE WERE EXPERIENCING LAST SUMMER IN KOSOVO WITH THE SWEEP OPERATIONS OF THE YUGOSLAV ARMY AND M.U.P. SPECIAL POLICE FORCES PURSUING A TRULY SCORCHED EARTH POLICY. THIS IS NO LONGER A POLICY OF ATTACKING U-C-K (KOSOVO LIBERATION ARMY) STRONGHOLDS. THIS IS NOW A SYSTEMATIC CAMPAIGN AGAINST THE KOSOVAR ALBANIAN POPULATION AT LARGE.

    /// END ACT ///

    MR. SHEA SAYS KOSOVO POLITICAL LEADER, IBRAHIM RUGOVA, IS IN HIDING AFTER HIS HOUSE WAS BURNED BY YUGOSLAV UNITS THAT ARE PILLAGING THE COUNTRYSIDE. A NATO MILITARY SPOKESMAN SAYS AIR STRIKES ARE STARTING AGAINST THOSE UNITS IN KOSOVO. THAT TAKES LOWER FLYING "TANK BUSTER" AIRCRAFT THAT ARE MORE VULNERABLE TO SHOULDER-FIRED MISSILES.

    NATO ACKNOWLEDGES A HIGH FLYING STEALTH FIGHTER CRASHED WEST OF BELGRADE, BUT DOES NOT CONFIRM SERB CLAIMS THEY SHOT IT DOWN. WHILE THE 45-MILLION-DOLLAR AIRCRAFT WAS DESTROYED, THE AMERICAN PILOT WAS RESCUED AND RETURNED TO THE AVIANO AIR BASE IN ITALY. (SIGNED)
    NEB/RP/ALW/RAE
    28-Mar-99 11:25 AM EST (1625 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America


    [16] NATO ATTACKS / SUNDAY (L) BY JIM RANDLE (PENTAGON)

    DATE=3/28/99
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=2-247318
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    INTRO: NATO HAS LAUNCHED A FIFTH STRAIGHT NIGHT OF AIR ATTACKS ON SERB TARGETS IN YUGOSLAVIA (SUNDAY). YUGOSLAV MEDIA REPORT EXPLOSIONS AND MISSILE STRIKES IN THE SERB PROVINCE OF KOSOVO. V-O-A'S JIM RANDLE REPORTS FROM THE PENTAGON

    TEXT: THE FIRST EXPLOSIONS SUNDAY NIGHT WERE REPORTED NEAR PRISTINA, THE CAPITAL OF KOSOVO. THIS FOLLOWS NATO'S STATEMENT THAT IT WOULD BROADEN ITS ASSAULT TO TARGET GROUND FORCES IN KOSOVO, WHERE THE SERBS ARE BELIEVED TO BE ATTACKING ETHNIC ALBANIAN CIVILIANS.

    EARLIER NATO ATTACKS HAD CONCENTRATED ON KNOCKING OUT YUGOSLAVIA'S AIR-DEFENSE SYSTEM AND COMMAND-AND-CONTROL CENTERS.

    THE NATO ASSAULT IS BEING CARRIED OUT BY HEAVY BOMBERS, ELECTRONIC WARFARE PLANES AND SOME RADAR-EVADING STEALTH FIGHTERS.

    THE ONLY NATO LOSS DURING THE FIVE-DAY OFFENSIVE SO FAR HAS INVOLVED A U-S F-117 STEALTH FIGHTER, WHICH CRASHED NEAR BELGRADE DURING SATURDAY NIGHT'S NATO ATTACKS. THE AMERICAN PILOT WAS LATER RESCUED AND IS REPORTED TO BE IN GOOD CONDITION.

    BRITISH OFFICIALS SAY THEY WILL ADD SOME AIRCRAFT TO THE NATO ASSAULT FORCE SOON, AND U-S OFFICIALS WILL ADD MORE THAN SIX BOMBERS TO THE 200 AMERICAN PLANES ALREADY IN THE ARMADA. (SIGNED).
    NEB/JR/RRM
    28-Mar-99 6:04 PM EST (2304 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America


    [17] MILOSEVIC / NEWSMAKER 2ND CQ BY LAURIE KASSMAN (LONDON)

    DATE=3/28/99
    TYPE=BACKGROUND REPORT
    NUMBER=5-42968
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    /////

    CORRECTS SPELLING TO M-I-R-J-A-N-A IN TEXT GRAF 5 OF TEXT OF 5-42967. /////

    INTRO: FOR NATO ALLIES BOMBING YUGOSLAVIA'S MILITARY MACHINERY, PRESIDENT SLOBODAN MILOSEVIC IS THE OBSTACLE TO PEACE IN THE BALKANS. BUT WHO IS HE? LONDON CORRESPONDENT LAURIE KASSMAN TALKED WITH A BRITISH DIPLOMAT WHO KNOWS MR. MILOSEVIC WELL, AND OFFERS AN ASSESSMENT.

    TEXT: DIPLOMATS WHO HAVE DEALT WITH THE 58-YEAR-OLD PRESIDENT MILOSEVIC ARE UNANIMOUS IN THEIR VIEW THAT HE SURVIVES ON CRISIS.

    DIPLOMAT PAULINE NEVILLE-JONES LED BRITAIN'S DELEGATION TO THE DAYTON NEGOTIATIONS FOR A PEACE SETTLEMENT IN BOSNIA. SHE SAYS THE THIRST FOR POWER IS WHAT DRIVES MR. MILOSEVIC.

    /// NEVILLE-JONES ACT ///

    I THINK IT IS HIS OWN POSITION AT THE END OF THE DAY, HIS OWN AMBITION AND HIS NEED TO RETAIN HIS POSITION. AND THAT IS THE SINGLE MOST IMPORTANT THING IN HIS LIFE.

    /// END ACT //

    FOR THAT REASON, MISS NEVILLE-JONES SAYS PRESIDENT MILOSEVIC REMOVES ANYONE FROM HIS INNER CIRCLE WHO DISAGREES. SHE POINTS TO THE RECENT PURGE OF HIS TOP MILITARY COMMANDERS.

    IF HE RELIES ON ANYONE'S ADVICE AT ALL, IT IS MIRJANA MARKOVIC -- HIS WIFE AND CHILDHOOD SWEETHEART.

    /// SECOND NEVILLE-JONES ACT ///

    SHE IS AN EXTREME LADY, MORE EXTREMIST THAN HE IS. PERHAPS LESS OF A NATIONALIST AND MORE OF AN IDEOLOGUE, BUT I AM SURE SHE WILL SNUFF OUT ANY TEMPTATION THERE MIGHT BE TO SOFTEN THE LINE.

    /// END ACT ///

    THE DRIVE FOR POWER HAS COST PRESIDENT MILOSEVIC MOST OF YUGOSLAVIA. REPUBLIC AFTER REPUBLIC HAS SLIPPED FROM HIS GRIP SINCE HE ASSUMED POWER A DECADE AGO. WILL KOSOVO PROVINCE BE NEXT? AGAIN, DIPLOMAT NEVILLE-JONES:

    /// THIRD NEVILLE-JONES ACT ///

    HE IS TOUGH AND HE IS CALCULATING. //OPT// I THINK THE PROBLEM ABOUT HIM IS LOOK AT HIS TRACK RECORD -- HE ROSE TO POWER IN THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF YUGOSLAVIA -- A LARGE COUNTRY. NOW HE IS LEFT WITH A TINY PART OF IT AND HE IS NOW BEHAVING IN A WAY CALCULATED TO LOSE PART OF THAT AS WELL. // END OPT // HE IS A GAMBLER AT THE END OF THE DAY WHO, THOUGH HE THINKS HE IS A WILY TACTICIAN, ALWAYS OVERPLAYS HIS HAND.

    /// END ACT ///

    MISS NEVILLE-JONES SAYS SOME OF THE YUGOSLAV LEADER'S BEHAVIOR CAN BE EXPLAINED BY A SERB SENSE OF ANTAGONISM TOWARD THE REST OF THE WORLD. SHE SAYS THE IDEA OF COMPROMISE FOR THEM IS EQUATED WITH DEFEAT.

    /// FOURTH NEVILLE-JONES ACT ///

    AND IN THE END, THEY HAVE TO GO RIGHT TO THE END AND THEN THEY GET A DEFEAT. AND THEN THEY SAY THAT IS HISTORY AGAIN -- THAT IS WHAT HAPPENS TO US. WE ARE LIKE THAT.

    /// END ACT ///

    SOME ANALYSTS DESCRIBE MR. MILOSEVIC AS A UNLIKELY DICTATOR WHO MAKES FEW PUBLIC APPEARANCES AND HAS LITTLE CHARISMA. HE HAS BEEN DESCRIBED AS A LONER, HOSE CHILDHOOD WAS MARRED BY THE SUICIDES OF HIS PARENTS -- BOTH DESCRIBED BY ANALYSTS AS DEPRESSIVES.

    BUT MISS NEVILLE-JONES SAYS THE YUGOSLAV LEADER CAN BE DISARMINGLY CHARMING IN NEGOTIATIONS AND RARELY SAYS "NO" TO YOUR FACE (DIRECTLY).

    /// OPT // FIFTH NEVILLE-JONES ACT ///

    HE LISTENS. HE DOES ENGAGE IN DIALOGUE. HE CALCULATES. I THINK UNDERNEATH THAT HE IS A POKER PLAYER AND A GAMBLER. HE CAN TURN ON THE CHARM -- HE IS NOT WITHOUT SOCIAL GRACES AND HE CAN BE QUITE ENTERTAINING. AND HE UNDOUBTEDLY KNOWS IT IS A QUALITY HE HAS AND SO HE TRIES TO SEDUCE HIS INTERLOCUTORS.

    /// END ACT/////END OPT//

    IN RECENT NEGOTIATIONS OVER THE FUTURE OF KOSOVO PROVINCE, MR. MILOSEVIC WAITED UNTIL THE FINAL MOMENTS TO RAISE NEW OBJECTIONS. HE REFUSED TO BUDGE ON THE ISSUE OF PLACING NATO PEACE MONITORING TROOPS IN THE MOSTLY ETHNIC-ALBANIAN PROVINCE. INSTEAD, HE CHOSE TO DO BATTLE WITH NATO.

    ANALYSTS SAY IT WOULD BE TOO HARD FOR MR. MILOSEVIC TO GIVE UP CONTROL OF KOSOVO. HE ROSE TO POWER AS THE CHAMPION OF SERB RIGHTS IN THE PROVINCE, WHICH IS CONSIDERED THE CRADLE OF THE SERB NATION. STILL, THOSE WHO HAVE FOLLOWED THE POLITICAL CAREER OF SLOBODAN MILOSEVIC DO NOT RULE OUT HIS GIVING UP KOSOVO -- IF HE BELIEVES THAT IS WHAT IT TAKES FOR HIM TO STAY IN POWER. (SIGNED)
    NEB/LMK/PCF/RAE
    28-Mar-99 6:57 PM EST (2357 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America


    [18] FRANCE TUNNEL (L/S VER) BY JULIAN NUNDY (PARIS)

    DATE=3/28/99
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=2-247301
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    INTRO: THE DEATH TOLL FOLLOWING LAST WEDNESDAY'S FIRE IN THE MONT BLANC TUNNEL HAS RISEN TO 40. FIRE FIGHTERS FINALLY MANAGED TO SUFFICIENTLY COOL DOWN THE ALPINE ROAD LINK BETWEEN FRANCE AND ITALY TO EXAMINE THE WRECKAGE AT THE CENTER OF THE TUNNEL. JULIAN NUNDY REPORTS FROM PARIS.

    TEXT: IT TOOK TWO DAYS AFTER THE FIRE WAS FINALLY EXTINGUISHED FOR FIRE-FIGHTING TEAMS USING WATER SPRAYS TO COOL DOWN THE TUNNEL WALLS, ALLOWING INVESTIGATORS INTO THE SITE. THEIR FOCUS OF ATTENTION WILL BE THE BELGIUM TRUCK WHICH CAUGHT FIRE AND TURNED THE ROAD PASSAGE INTO AN INFERNO.

    AS THE TEMPERATURE INSIDE DROPPED TO A STILL HOT, BUT TOLERABLE, 30-DEGREES CELSIUS, BULLDOZERS CLEARED A WAY FOR POLICE AND FIRE VEHICLES TO PASS ALONG THE LENGTH OF THE 11-KILOMETER TUNNEL. AT THE HEIGHT OF THE BLAZE, TEMPERATURES ROSE ABOVE ONE-THOUSAND DEGREES CELSIUS.

    FIRE-FIGHTERS AND POLICE SAY THE SCENE INSIDE THE TUNNEL IS NIGHTMARISH AND MACABRE, WITH CHARRED SKELETONS INSIDE MOLTEN VEHICLES OFTEN ALL THAT IS LEFT OF MANY WHO DIED. POLICE SAY SOME BODIES WERE REDUCED TO ASHES. NEARLY 40 VEHICLES, ABOUT HALF OF THEM TRUCKS, WERE BLOCKED AND DESTROYED IN THE FIRE.

    /// CUT HERE FOR SHORT VERSION ///

    THE SCENE IS SO DISTRESSING THAT TEAMS OF PSYCHOLOGISTS HAVE BEEN ASSIGNED TO THE TUNNEL EXITS TO GIVE INSTANT THERAPY TO OFFICERS WHEN THEY LEAVE THE TUNNEL.

    AS THE TEMPERATURE DROPPED AND POLICE TEAMS WENT IN TO RECOVER THE LAST BODIES AND ESTABLISH A FINAL DEATH COUNT, A LIGHTING SYSTEM WAS INSTALLED TO HELP THEM START THE INVESTIGATION INTO THE CAUSES OF THE TRAGEDY.

    THE ONLY FRENCH NATIONAL SUNDAY NEWSPAPER, "LE JOURNAL DU DIMANCHE," SAID ITS REPORTERS HAD UNCOVERED SEVERAL WEAK POINTS IN THE TUNNEL'S SAFETY ARRANGEMENTS. IT SAID AT LEAST TWO EMERGENCY TELEPHONES WERE OUT OF ORDER WHEN THE FIRE STARTED AND ONLY ONE FIRE SERVICE OFFICER WAS ON DUTY ON THE FRENCH SIDE OF THE TUNNEL.

    THE NEWSPAPER QUOTED FRENCH FIRE-FIGHTERS WHO SAID THEY HAD NEVER BEFORE TRIED OUT MODERN BREATHING APPLIANCES ISSUED TO THEM TWO-YEARS AGO. THEY ALSO SAID THEY DID NOT HOLD REGULAR TRAINING EXERCISES IN THE TUNNEL. THE 33-YEAR-OLD SINGLE-TUBE TUNNEL, IN WHICH TRAFFIC RUNS BOTH WAYS, OPERATES A TOLL SYSTEM THAT MAKES A YEARLY PROFIT OF MORE THAN EIGHT-MILLION DOLLARS. MOST OF THIS COMES FROM TRUCK TRAFFIC.

    THE TUNNEL WILL BE CLOSED FOR REPAIRS FOR SEVERAL MONTHS, AND SOME LOCAL POLITICAL LEADERS AND ENVIRONMENTAL GROUPS IN THE REGION HAVE BEGUN A CAMPAIGN TO BAN TRUCKS FROM THE MONT BLANC TUNNEL, HOPING IT WILL CUT THE RISK OF FUTURE TRAGEDIES. (SIGNED)
    NEB/JWN/PCF/RAE
    28-Mar-99 8:22 AM EST (1322 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America


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