- LONDON (Reuters) - Yugoslavia's
dramatic agreement to pull out of Kosovo came only three days after Britain
and the United States finalized plans for a massive ground invasion of
the province, according to a British Sunday newspaper.
- The invasion, code-named ``B-Minus,'' was to have been
launched in the first week of September if Serbian forces had refused
to withdraw from Kosovo, The Observer said.
- Britain had agreed to provide the largest contingent
of 50,000 troops to the 170,000-strong force, the newspaper said.
- The Observer quoted Britain's Chief of the Defense Staff,
General Sir Charles Guthrie, as saying that it would have stretched the
British army to contribute so many men.
- ``We were to be over 50,000,'' he said. ``It was going
to cause us great difficulty but we were capable of doing it.''
- The United States was to contribute between 30,000 and
40,000 troops with big deployments also expected from fellow NATO-members
France, Germany and Spain.
- Guthrie's deputy, Air Marshal Sir John Day, was confident
that other NATO members were willing to cooperate.
- ``At the point (Yugoslav President Slobodan) Milosevic
suddenly caved in, we were within a few days or a week of some pretty
big decisions needing to be made.
- ``By the first week of June the moment was not quite
right for most nations on ground troops, but I am sure that if it had
been required, it would have been done and many countries would have
contributed, but we never got to that stage,'' he said.
- NATO ended its 11-week bombing campaign on June 9 after
Milosevic pulled his troops out of Kosovo, paving the way for the return
to their homes of hundreds of thousands of ethnic Albanian refugees.