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Wednesday, February 3, 1999 Published at 14:47 GMT

World: Europe

Serbs find KLA 'arms cache'

Serbs say arms for KLA fighters were in a truck coming from Croatia

Yugoslav authorities say police have seized weapons, ammunition and uniforms bound for ethnic Albanian rebels in Kosovo hidden in a lorry coming from Croatia.

Kosovo Section
Official Serbian sources say the cache, worth more than $500,000, is the biggest ever seized inside the embattled Serbian province.

Orla Guerin reports from a secret KLA training base
The police found "100 automatic weapons, several thousand bullets of various sizes, rockets, and uniforms bearing the insignia of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA)", according to the Serbian Information Centre in Pristina.

KLA spokesman in London, Pleurat Sejdiu: We are prepared
The KLA, which on Tuesday said it would take part in peace talks in Paris, is fighting for the independence of Kosovo, where the population is predominantly ethnic Albanian.

"We are prepared for such a conference," said a KLA representative in London, Pleurat Sejdiu, "but it's true that we did not think it would be so soon."

Mr Sejdiu said that the negotiating team would be more likely to be composed of political strategists and academics rather than members of the KLA's military wing.

Lorry tip-off

[ image: Arms meant for the KLA]
Arms meant for the KLA
The ammunition-packed lorry was intercepted near the village of Supkovac on the road between Pristina and Kosovska Mitrovica, the information centre said.

The centre added that Kosovo Verification Mission run by the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) had been informed of the incident.

Police were quoted as saying an anonymous tip-off had led them to a lorry abandoned by the roadside, and that the arms were found under a false floor in the trailer.

Peace talks due

The BBC's Ben Brown: "The KLA believes this is a war they can win"
The KLA is due on Wednesday to nominate its representatives to the peace talks scheduled in Paris for the end of the week.

Jakup Krasniqi, spokesman for the general headquarters of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA), confirmed on Tuesday that the KLA would "definitely" be taking its proposals to the Paris talks.

His statement contrasted with remarks made only hours earlier by the influential ethnic Albanian leader, Adem Demaci. Mr Demaci recommended that the rebels refuse to take part in the talks, arguing that the Yugoslav Government had consistently refused to negotiate in good faith or live up to agreements.

But other key players in the Kosovo conflict - the Serbs - have yet to decide on participation in the talks.

The Serbian Parliament, which last year rejected foreign mediation in Kosovo, is due to decide on Thursday whether to send a delegation to the peace conference.

The international contact group - the US, Russia, the UK, France, Italy and Germany - have told the warring sides to attend peace talks in France by 6 February or face military action.

Russia remains opposed to air strikes as a way of pushing for a political settlement in Kosovo, but Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov has also dismissed a Yugoslav demand for a UN Security Council meeting to try to deny Nato the right to use force against Yugoslavia.

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