YU army says Nato continues aggressive policy

BELGRADE, Sep 6, 2000 -- (Reuters) A Yugoslav army general said on Tuesday that NATO was continuing an aggressive policy against Yugoslavia aimed at destabilizing the situation and ousting the current authorities.

Lieutenant-General Vladimir Lazarevic, commander of Yugoslavia's Third army, spoke while touring its Pristina corps which is now stationed in Prokuplje outside Kosovo province, state news agency Tanjug reported.

Kosovo, whose capital is Pristina, has been under de facto international rule since Yugoslav forces withdrew to secure an end to NATO air strikes conducted in 1999 to halt repression of majority ethnic Albanians in the province.

Lazarevic said NATO planners "continue their aggression towards our country" with "propaganda, intelligence, subversive and terrorist activities".

"Their aim is to create a false image of the real situation in Kosovo ... provoke mass discontent and protests, remove the present (Yugoslav) government and install a new cooperative one that would pardon the crimes of NATO and Albanian terrorists."

Other NATO aims, according to Lazarevic, included weakening the morale of the army, creating divisions between Serbia and Montenegro, the two Yugoslav republics, and destabilizing the political and economic situation. His words echoed the Belgrade government, which regularly accuses the Western powers and the Serb opposition, which it describes as NATO "lackeys", of plotting to destroy Serbia.

The allegations have been stepped up ahead of September 24 elections in which the leftist-nationalist Belgrade authorities portray themselves as champions of independence against NATO states.

Original article