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The BBC's Alastair Leithead
"The former Yugoslavia could yet again become the centre of world attention"
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The BBC's Jacky Rowland in Belgrade
"President Milosevic and his spin doctors do think that Kosovo is still a vote winner"
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Friday, 1 September, 2000, 09:06 GMT 10:06 UK
Milosevic warned over Kosovo
Slobodan Milosevic
Mr Milosevic is gearing up for presidential elections
By Jacky Rowland in Belgrade

Nato has warned Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic that he will be arrested if he carries out plans to personally take his election campaign to Kosovo.

Serbs rally in Kosovo
Yugoslav authorities say Serbs in Kosovo will be able to vote
Mr Milosevic - wanted by the UN for war crimes - will campaign throughout the country for presidential elections later this month, said Deputy Prime Minister Nikola Sainovic on Thursday.

But a UN official said later: "Kosovo is under UN administration, and Slobodan Milosevic is indicted for war crimes by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, which was created by the UN."

Nato's warning came as one of the Yugoslav army's units was preparing to perform military exercises in the south of Serbia in preparation for a return to Kosovo.

Nato 'immorality'

An army commander said the unit would return to Kosovo under United Nations resolutions.

The Yugoslav army and Serbian police withdrew from Kosovo, which is formally part of Yugoslavia but under international administration, in June last year as part of the agreement which ended the Nato bombing campaign.

The military exercises, which are scheduled to begin on Friday, are clearly part of the authorities' campaign for elections.

The authorities have accused the Nato-led peacekeeping force, K-For, of immorality, which, they say, has meant it has not been able to meet its obligations.

Military showcase

The head of the army's morality department, General Milan Simic, called on the international community to let the Yugoslav army and Serbian police re-establish order in Kosovo.

The manoeuvres, which are due to take place near the opposition-controlled town of Pirot, represent a rare public-relations exercise by the Yugoslav army.

Journalists have been invited to witness the event.

The government believes that appearing tough on Kosovo will be a vote-winner, not only with Serbs from the province but also with the electorate as a whole.

It may, however, have miscalculated.

Election fraud fears

Many ordinary people in Serbia are tired of the Kosovo conflict and want a government which will concentrate on improving their standard of living.

The European security organisation, the OSCE, said earlier this week that the laws governing the elections leave considerable scope for fraud and arbitrary decisions.

The OSCE says President Milosevic will be able to control the voting, the counting and any appeals.

It also says there aren't enough provisions for independent monitors - the Yugoslavs say they will not admit any from countries that took part in last year's Nato bombing.

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See also:

31 Aug 00 | Europe
Yugoslav election 'abuse' feared
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Serbia: The politics of bloodshed
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01 Aug 00 | Europe
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