Yugoslav soldiers clashed with militants on the border with Albania on Monday. The army said at least three militants died, but ethnic Albanians in the restive province of Kosovo said up to a dozen were slain.

The latest violence further weakened the chances of a negotiated solution on the future of Kosovo, where Albanians - the 90 percent majority - want independence, an option ruled out by the government of Serbia, the dominant republic of Yugoslavia.Quoting the Yugoslav army corps in the Kosovo capital of Pristina, the Serb government's press office said the Albanian militants trying to smuggle weapons into Kosovo were slain after attacking a Yugoslav army border unit early Monday.

The army fired back, killing or wounding seven and forcing the others to flee.