NATO is awaiting clarification from the major powers on whether they still insist on a pullout of Yugoslav special units in Kosovo or are now more intent on securing a cease-fire pledge from both sides in the conflict.

"Clarification (of the policy) is urgently required," a NATO official told reporters. But, in a clear indication that military action was not imminent, he said it would probably not come until the middle of next week.Some Western diplomats say pressure to stop the conflict in Kosovo has not been applied even-handedly to the guerrilla army that has mushroomed over the past six months, challenging Yugoslav security forces for control of the province.

The policy was originally set to stop Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic using massive force against the guerrillas in a scorched earth strategy that left a trail of wrecked towns and villages and displaced more than 50,000 civilians.

The official said NATO had virtually completed contingency planning for a wide range of options, including direct military intervention, but was awaiting a political-military scenario setting out how phased pressure would continue to be applied.

That framework was expected to come from the six-power Contact Group - made up of the United States, Russia, France, Britain, Germany and Italy.