U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright said today she is talking to European allies about combining the threat of force and political action to settle the situation in Kosovo.
"There is a need to act quickly," she said, expressing fear the conflict between Serbs and ethnic Albanians seeking independence for the province will worsen.
After talks with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, Ms. Albright told reporters that "we obviously have been concerned about the deteriorating situation" in Kosovo.
"We have been working to try to quicken a political solution there, keeping in mind what can be done through military pressure and the threat of force," she said.
U.S. officials said the effort aims to confront Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic with a detailed formula for maximum self-rule for Albanians within a few weeks. The official cited several remaining hurdles, including a clear warning to Milosevic that the NATO military alliance is expected to issue at a meeting today in Brussels, Belgium.
"The more credible the threat, the more likely that we can succeed in the political objectives," said James P. Rubin, State Department spokesman.
Ms. Albright discussed her proposal Tuesday in Moscow with Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov but was unable to persuade the Russians to support a NATO bombardment of Serb positions if Milosevic turns down the plan, U.S. officials said.