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Situation in Kosovo



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M ED IA RELEASE MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS ALEXANDER DOWNER

Λ . A U S T R A L IA ,.^ -

FA76 5 June 1998

SITUATION IN KOSOVO

The Australian Government is gravely concerned at reports of a serious escalation of the conflict in Kosovo over the past week.

It is clear that the situation has deteriorated and we are very concerned at reports of a number of casualties and large numbers of refugees crossing the border into Albania.

I call on the government of Federal Republic of Yugoslavia to take immediate action to achieve a peaceful resolution of the conflict and to stop the threat of violence.

These events show that finding a settlement to the conflict in Kosovo becomes more urgent every day if the international community is to avoid a repeat of the tragedy that occurred in Bosnia.

The escalation in fighting increases the onus on both sides to reach a political settlement through direct dialogue. I hope that it will be possible for another round of talks between the government of Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and the Kosovar Albanians to be scheduled in tne near future and that it is able to make progress toward that end.

Australia calls for a political solution which provides an enhanced status for Kosovo in Yugoslavia and protects the human rights of all the people of Kosovo.

For more information: Innes Willox 0411414 695

Media releases and speeches are available from DFAT via the internet, http://www.dfat.gov.au/