Europe South Asia Asia Pacific Americas Middle East Africa BBC Homepage World Service Education

Front Page



UK Politics







Talking Point

In Depth

On Air

Low Graphics

Friday, April 9, 1999 Published at 19:11 GMT 20:11 UK

World: Europe

Mission to free soldiers fails

The delegation was shown the results of the Aleksinac bombing

Talks in Belgrade have failed to secure the release of three US soldiers being held by Yugoslavia.

Kosovo: Special Report
According to the Cypriot envoy and former President Spyros Kyprianou, a mission to win the release of the three men failed because of intensified Nato bombing.

He said that attacks occurred in the Belgrade area and elsewhere within hours of his arrival on Thursday in the Yugoslav capital.

"It was expected ... that during my stay at least some respect should have been shown and some understanding until I had finished my consultations," he said.

Washington has been swift in saying the failure of Mr Kyprianou's mission is not a surprise.

Bomb damage inspections

Stephen Sackur in Virginia: Political momentum is growing for troop deployment
Mr Kyprianou met President Slobodan Milosevic for 90 minutes on Friday.

The Yugoslavian government first invited him to inspect damage caused by a Nato air raid in a residential area of the town of Aleksinac.

[ image: Kyprianou: Met Mr Milosevic]
Kyprianou: Met Mr Milosevic
Mr Kyprianou expressed concern at the extent of the damage he saw.

"I am not a military expert but I have seen things that shocked me," he said.

A BBC correspondent in Belgrade said the authorities were keen to exploit the propaganda value of Nato's error which, according to the most recent figures from the official state news agency, caused the deaths of 18 civilians.

Propaganda value

before the meeting, Mr Kyprianou's aides said they were optimistic about securing the freedom of the three Americans.

But one of Yugoslavia's Deputy Prime Ministers, the hardliner Vojislav Seselj, said on Thursday there was no question of the prisoners being allowed to return home.

The soldiers - Andrew Ramirez, 24, Christopher Stone, 25, of Michigan and Steven Gonzales, 24, of Texas, were captured by Serbian security forces on the border between Yugoslavia and Macedonia on 31 March.

Nato said the soldiers were part of a non-combat peacekeeping force and that they were snatched while on a routine patrol near the Yugoslav border in Macedonia, while Belgrade insisted they were on Yugoslav territory.

Advanced options | Search tips

Back to top | BBC News Home | BBC Homepage | ©

Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East | South Asia

Relevant Stories

09 Apr 99 | Europe
Human chains guard Nato targets

08 Apr 99 | Americas
Albright denies prosecuting 'personal war'

09 Apr 99 | Europe
Journalists freed after stand-off

08 Apr 99 | Europe
War crimes call grows

08 Apr 99 | UK
Blair: No troops for Kosovo

08 Apr 99 | Europe
Missing refugees traced

08 Apr 99 | Europe
Serb media a 'legitimate target'

08 Apr 99 | Europe
Picture gallery: Images of war

08 Apr 99 | Kosovo
Analysis: Nato's air campaign moves up a gear

07 Apr 99 | Europe
Analysis: Discord mars EU refugee effort

Internet Links

Serbian Ministry of Information

Kosova Press


International Committee of the Red Cross

Oxfam International

UNHCR: Latest figures

Institute for War and Peace Reporting


International Crisis Group

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.

In this section

Violence greets Clinton visit

Russian forces pound Grozny

EU fraud: a billion dollar bill

Next steps for peace

Cardinal may face loan-shark charges

From Business
Vodafone takeover battle heats up

Trans-Turkish pipeline deal signed

French party seeks new leader

Jube tube debut

Athens riots for Clinton visit

UN envoy discusses Chechnya in Moscow

Solana new Western European Union chief

Moldova's PM-designate withdraws

Chechen government welcomes summit

In pictures: Clinton's violent welcome

Georgia protests over Russian 'attack'

UN chief: No Chechen 'catastrophe'

New arms control treaty for Europe

From Business
Mannesmann fights back

EU fraud -- a billion-dollar bill

New moves in Spain's terror scandal

EU allows labelling of British beef

UN seeks more security in Chechnya

Athens riots for Clinton visit

Russia's media war over Chechnya

Homeless suffer as quake toll rises

Analysis: East-West relations must shift