23 Feb. 1999

Statement by the Secretary General of NATO,
Dr. Javier Solana,
on the outcome of the Rambouillet talks

NATO welcomes the substantial progress made in the Kosovo Peace Talks in Rambouillet towards a political settlement which will give Kosovo a significant degree of autonomy and help bring stability to the region. However, a final agreement has not yet been reached. I appeal to the parties to accept rapidly the Contact Group Peace Plan in its entirety, including its military aspects, and at the very latest by the time of the implementation conference in France on 15th March.

During the period until the 15th March, NATO expects the parties to work constructively to bring about a peace settlement. In particular they must respect the cease fire, refrain from all provocations and carry out all of the provisions of the UNSC Resolutions on Kosovo. The Federal Republic of Yugoslavia must comply fully with all of its commitments under its agreement of October 25th, 1998 with NATO. The OSCE Kosovo Verification Mission must be allowed to carry out its work and both parties must ensure the safety of its personnel.

NATO will continue to watch the situation on the ground very closely. We are very concerned by the violence in Kosovo in recent days. We remain ready to use whatever means are necessary to bring about a peaceful solution to the crisis in Kosovo and to prevent further human suffering. Those who prevent the achievement of an interim agreement, provoke violent incidents or threaten the security of the Kosovo Verification Mission personnel will be held fully responsible for their actions.

Since the beginning of the crisis, NATO has fully supported the efforts of the international community to bring peace to Kosovo and to help achieve a negotiated political solution. Our stance in putting the threat of force at the service of diplomacy has helped to create the conditions for the Rambouillet talks to make progress. The Alliance remains ready to lead an international military force in Kosovo which would guarantee the implementation of an interim political settlement. I call on both parties to build on the considerable progress that has been achieved at Rambouillet and to seize this opportunity to achieve a lasting settlement for the benefit of all the peoples of the region. NATO stands ready to help them in this endeavour.

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