The European Union has scheduled a peace mission to Kosovo next week, and the United States said it supports that effort but has not ruled out military force to stop the months of killing.
"We are prepared to act alone if necessary," Walter Slocombe, undersecretary of defense for policy, said Thursday following word of the EU mission. U.S. participation in a NATO operation in the southern Serbian republic also is possible, he said.In neighboring Macedonia, NATO's secretary general said the military alliance continues planning "a wide range of options."
"Our obligation is to be prepared if necessary," said Secretary General Javier Solana.
Ibrahim Rugova, a moderate leader of ethnic Albanians in Kosovo, demanded action Friday and warned violence could spill into neighboring regions.
"Serbian military and police forces continue with attacks and massacres against the Albanian population," Rugova said.
"We demand international protection for Kosovo and its people in order to stop further conflict that could spread to a wider region," he said.
Fighting waned in Kosovo on Thursday, but an aide to Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic targeted a top U.S. envoy with verbal salvos. The unusually harsh criticism was directed at Robert Gelbard by Ivica Dacic, spokesman for Milosevic's Socialist party.