Aid agencies have welcomed news of a peace deal agreement for Kosovo but warned that it could be many months before ethnic Albanian refugees can return home. The number of people forced to leave their homes in the province because of the conflict is estimated to be more than 850,000.

Members of the UN High Commission for Refugees are to return to Kosovo alongside the first NATO troops who enter the province. The UNHCR plans to send a military adviser and a liaison officer with NATO's office with the first peace keeping troops that goes into Kosovo following a Serb pull out. A spokesman said the UNHCR hopes to establish a base in Pristina and then branch out to provincial towns and other municipalities as these become safe and essentially accessible.

For the first time since the alliance began its air war on March 24th, Yugoslav media reported no NATO attacks throughout the country overnight. Crowds in the Yugoslav capital Belgrade celebrated the agreement with fireworks. However unconfirmed reports from the Kosovo capital Pristina said Serb soldiers, police and civilians have reacted angrily to the news.

After eleven weeks hundreds of civilians were killed in the bombardment. Serbia put the figure at 1,200, in addition, NATO said 5,000 Yugoslav soldiers had died. Estimates put the number of displaced Kosovar Albanians at 1.25 million.