Albanian rebels declare cease-fire in Kosovo to pressure Milosevic

BELGRADE, Yugoslavia (AP) — Ethnic Albanian rebels fighting for independence for the Serbian province of Kosovo declared a unilateral cease-fire Thursday, putting more pressure on Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic to end his crackdown.
Tensions between Milosevic and the United States, which is pressing for NATO airstrikes against Serb-led troops, intensified as Secretary of State Madeleine Albright declared Thursday that time was running out for the Yugoslav president to comply with U.N. demands. Albright said a united NATO backs airstrikes.
About 20 carloads of U.S., British and Australian embassy staffers headed out of Belgrade as a safety measure, even as a U.S. envoy returned for more talks with Milosevic.
A statement distributed by the Kosovo Liberation Army in Kosovo’s capital Pristina said the rebel command “has decided to refrain from all military activity” starting today.
Despite international pressure and NATO threats, Milosevic has refused to openly declare a cease-fire, even though there has been no major fighting in Kosovo during the past week.
At the White House on Thursday, President Clinton said the United States would vote to authorize military strikes against Serbia if Milosevic “continues to defy the international community.”