The American envoy, Richard Holbrooke, has arrived in Belgrade for what is described as a last ditch effort to persuade the Yugoslav President, Slobodan Milosevic, to sign the internationally-backed peace agreement on Kosovo. Mr Holbrooke said he would warn Mr Milosevic to call off the military offensive against ethnic Albanian separatists and accept an autonomy plan for Kosovo, or face devastating NATO bombing. Mr Holbrooke was in Brussels this morning for meetings with senior NATO officials and European Foreign Ministers before travelling on to Belgrade for talks with President Milosevic.

Meanwhile, the White House says it is very concerned about increased violence in Kosovo, and has warned that Mr Milosevic will face the consequences if he fails to end the violence.

NATO's military Chief-of-Staff, General Klaus Naumann, has warned the Serbs that the treaty forces are prepared for a long and protracted bombing campaign if President Slobodan Milosevic does not agree to the international peace plan for Kosovo. The General said Mr Milosevic was "seriously mistaken" if he thought NATO was not united in its determination to act if the Serbs failed to sign a peace agreement.

Britain's Foreign Secretary Robin Cook, who has been meeting Western leaders in Brussels today described the current situation as grave and issued a stern warning to Mr Milosevic.