Copyright 1988 Reuters Ltd Reuters 

                                  July 30, 1988, Saturday, PM cycle 

LENGTH: 505 words 


BYLINE: By Andrej Gustincic 



As Serbs in strife-torn Kosovo province threatened to stage one of the biggest protests in Yugoslavia's history, state leaders and parliament on Friday called for more federal control over the province.

Parliament asked all federal bodies to take immediate steps to stem migration of non-Albanians from the area because of alleged persecution by its ethnic Albanian majority.

The Yugoslav Communist Party Central Committee on Friday began a heated plenary session to defuse the ethnic crisis in Kosovo. The meeting continued late into Friday night.

"The Federal Assembly (parliament) and the government will take steps to establish the personal and joint responsibility of those who fail to carry out tasks embodied in the Yugoslav program on Kosovo," the Yugoslav news agency Tanjug said.

"The measures employed against them will include recalls and removals from office," it said, indicating a major shake-up of the political establishment may come soon.

Kosovo, an autonomous province of Yugoslavia's biggest republic Serbia, has a population of 1.7 million ethnic Albanians and some 200,000 non-Albanians, mostly Serbs.

Thousands of Serbs flee the area every year, alleging that the ethnic Albanians are persecuting them in order to drive them out and create an ethnically pure, all-Albanian Kosovo.

Serb activists in Kosovo said that if the plenum failed to meet their expectations, they would mount massive protests on a scale that would dwarf anything seen so far in this country.

Belgrade television quoted people throughout Yugoslavia as saying they believed the plenum was the most important political meeting in Yugoslavia for decades.

Vice-President Stane Dolanc told the plenum the country's collective State Presidency might soon boost the role of federal bodies in Kosovo including a special paramilitary unit.

"The presidency is increasingly worried about the escalation of nationalism," Dolanc said. He said recent protests threatened state security and the presidency might expand the role of a heavily armed 380-man special federal police unit sent to Kosovo last November after mass protests by Serbs in Kosovo.

Yugoslavia's six republics and two provinces enjoy great autonomy and tend to resist control by the federal authorities.

Serbian Communist Party leader Slobodan Milosevic is pushing constitutional reforms to give Serbia direct control over its provinces -- Kosovo in the south and Vojvodina in the north.

He has sparked a conflict with provincial leaders by encouraging Serbs to stage mass protests in Vojvodina to pressure local leaders there into adopting the changes.

At the plenum, he said their protests were justified and against humiliation.

"When part of the population in Kosovo is suffering because it's a minority, accusations that they pressure and threaten others amount to great political cynicism," Milosevic said.

He said the protests had proven that the proposed changes in the constitutional position of the provinces were the wish of the Serbian people.

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