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Officer Held for Alleged Aid to Serbs

November 03, 1998| Associated Press

PARIS — A French NATO commander has been arrested for allegedly supplying information on planned airstrikes to Serbian authorities during October's standoff over the province of Kosovo, judicial officials said Monday.

Pierre Bunel, a 46-year-old French army official posted in Brussels, faces charges of supplying "intelligence to a foreign power," said the officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity. He was arrested Thursday.

Sources close to the investigation, who also requested anonymity, said Bunel admitted to handing over the information, saying he did it because of pro-Serbian sympathies.

He has been placed under formal investigation--one step short of being charged--and faces up to 15 years in jail.

Western powers led by the U. S. threatened North Atlantic Treaty Organization airstrikes to force Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic to respect an Oct. 12 agreement calling for him to withdraw police and military forces in Kosovo to levels before a crackdown on ethnic Albanian separatists.

Kosovo is in southern Serbia, the larger of two republics constituting Yugoslavia.

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