U.N demands cease-fire in Kosovo, threatens further action

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — Hoping to stave off a humanitarian crisis in the hills of Kosovo, the Security Council today demanded a cease-fire in the Yugoslav province and threatened further action if fighting continues.
The resolution was intended to increase pressure on Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic to loosen his grip on Kosovo, where ethnic Albanians are fighting Serb forces for independence.
The British and French drafted resolution is militarily enforceable, but it doesn’t explicitly authorize NATO intervention to stop the Serb offensive on ethnic Albanian separatists.
And it requires the council to revisit the issue before any U.N. authorization of force is granted.
The resolution “sends a clear, unequivocal message to the authorities in Belgrade that the council is demanding that they change their behavior and live up to their responsibilities,” said deputy U.S. Ambassador Peter Burleigh.
China abstained from the vote, which passed 14-0. “We do not see the situation in Kosovo as a threat to international peace and security,” said Chinese ambassador Qin Huasun.
Russia, which has opposed force in the past, went along with the resolution because it didn’t specifically authorize military intervention, Russian ambassador Sergey Lavrov said.
Hundreds of people have been killed, and over a quarter million have fled the fighting since a Serb crackdown began in February.