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Updated: 13 April 1999 Press Conferences

NATO HQ
Brussels

13 Apr. 1999

Press Conference

by Jamie Shea and General Wesley Clark

(Presentation Photo)

Jamie Shea: Ladies and Gentlemen, Good Afternoon, welcome to the briefing. Those of you who were here yesterday to cover the meeting of NATO Foreign Ministers will have heard the very clear message that that meeting sent to you and to the world, which is that NATO is in this operation, if necessary, for the long haul. The air campaign is working and the special briefer that we have today, General Clark, SACEUR, will have more to say on that in just a few moments. But the mood of the Foreign Ministers yesterday is that it may be a long haul and we have to be ready for it, we have to be patient and firm in our resolve.

We are becoming stronger and Milosevic is becoming weaker. The correlation of forces, if I may use that expression, is in our favour and will become increasingly in our favour. The air operations have been going on now for three weeks and this was an operation that NATO was reluctant to start. We would have preferred to have sorted out the Kosovo crisis through diplomacy and through a political solution. But once this operation was imposed on us we accepted it and we are determined to see it through to success.

And it is on the subject of the air operation that I have asked SACEUR to come here today and brief you, three weeks in as I said, and to give you a good assessment about what we have achieved thus far, how NATO has performed, what the military objectives are and how we are going to pursue them in the days ahead. I am very grateful to SACEUR for giving up his time to come here today to brief you. I now hand over to him and I will be happy to direct questions once he has finished.

General Clark: Thank you Jamie. I did want to come here, it has been three weeks and I wanted to be able to put the operation in perspective, to provide some details and to ensure that the results are understood and it is clear where it is going.

To do this I would like to begin with the period in late October. In late October, NATO supported the diplomacy of the United Nations, and OSCE and UN Representative-designate, Richard Holbrooke, by taking measures to move towards an Activation Order to authorise a phased air operation, should President Milosevic not comply with the requirements of the UN Security Council Resolution and the Contact Group.

Mr Holbrooke left Belgrade, he came back to the Council on a Monday night, the Council listened to the results, it was an agreement to put an OSCE Verification Mission in on the ground and to put an air verification mission in. The Council members asked what about the pull back of excess forces, there followed a discussion subsequent to which the Council voted the Activation Order.

Subsequent to that, Secretary General Solana, General Claus Nauman and I went to Belgrade. There were three trips all in all to Belgrade over a week and a half and they produced an agreement from President Milosevic to pull back his excess forces in compliance with the UN Security Council Resolution: to take the heavy weapons away from their police; to revert to normal peacetime policing activities; to respond with proportionate force to provocations.

It took several days before this agreement was fully implemented, but it was implemented under the threat of the phased air operation and on 11 November this is what the Yugoslav Army dispositions looked like on the ground, and this was the estimated strength of the MUP inside Kosovo. What was agreed was that Yugoslav forces could still protect the borders but that interior there would only be three company sized units protecting these lines of communications and this is what was worked out with General Peresic, General Georgovic, endorsed and actually signed by President Milosevic.

Now let me show you how these dispositions changed over time and why NATO and the international community had increasing cause for concern. By 23 December it was clear that reinforcements had moved in, a battalion here up near Podujevo, another battalion here on the line of communication from Stimyei, and these operations were billed as a training exercise, they were billed as routine, they were essentially not notified to OSCE in a timely fashion, as had been committed by President Milosevic and his advisers, and in our meetings in late December in Belgrade we reminded General Ordenic and General Georgovic that they were in non-compliance with promises to NATO, shown in red on this chart.

General Smarjic was retired as Commander of the Third Army as part of the reshuffling of command, but in leaving he made this statement, reported in the press. It didn't receive much notice at the time, but one of our alert correspondents in Belgrade did pick it up. Notice that he said: "It would be definitively solved, this problem, with a hot spring". We had been warning for weeks that subsequent to the October agreement there were only two to four months before a spring offensive would resume, seemingly this would confirm a widespread understanding in the Yugoslav Armed Forces as to what was being prepared.

23 January, more reinforcements, shown in red, non-compliance. 26 February more forces had been brought in. You may remember the battle and fighting around Busiturn and Kosovska, Mitrovica, and this is during the time of all of the meetings and work at Rambouillet, steady reinforcement, steady fighting, steadily preparing the battlefield for operations.

This is the situation at the time the air campaign began and we noted that there had been consistent reports of brigade sized forces on the outside of Kosovo waiting to reinforce, he has reinforced those forces, he has continued to mobilise and try to bring reserves into the area. This is the situation today, 13 April, and you can see some 23 battalion sized units are deployed in Kosovo today. So this is a clear pre-planned pattern of activity.

What was the result? Here are the destruction of Kosovar villages that we have reliable evidence on and we have had a lot of cloud cover, we don't have full coverage of this area and of course no-one is on the ground to verify this for us, so this is what we are quite confident in, based on reliable evidence.

Let me show you some examples of this. 260,000 people internally displaced inside the country, driven out of villages. Here are the burned structures, you can see the houses without any roofs all over town. This is the symptom of the ethnic cleansing, going in, throwing a grenade, starting a fire, turning on the gas before the grenade is thrown and it blows the roof off, we have seen it all over Bosnia and here it is. More burned structures, all of these are destroyed.

A destroyed farm complex, no roofs, here and here, all burnt out. Widescale destruction here, here, here and here. It is a whole set of communities which have been devastated. More burned structures here, here, up in here, over in here. And what you see when you look at this is a widespread systematic pattern of ethnic cleansing, it is the familiar pattern over the last 10 years. More. Here is where not only has he burned out the village, he is now moving in with military equipment in an effort to disguise himself and hide, and our analysts have picked out tanks hidden right up next to and inside these structures. Here is more armour concealed, right here, an SA9 air defence system and more destroyed villages. We have got the names of these little villages down here on the bottom of the slide. Infantry fighting vehicles. More tanks and reconnaissance vehicles.

So in addition to the destruction of the villages and all the homeless that are left, inside is internally displaced some 290,000, 102,000 in Fyra and 290,000 in Albania, and these are what we are reckoning since 24 March when this widespread campaign began. It is truly on a scale that would have been unbelievable if we had tried to forecast this in advance.

We are running major humanitarian assistance efforts here in NATO. Now humanitarian assistance is a responsibility of the United Nations and the lead responsibilities rest with the United Nations High Commissioner on Refugees, her organisation and the non-governmental organisations. But since we had resources readily available, NATO was asked to help to the extent it could to bridge the gap until sufficient humanitarian resources were available from the appropriate agencies to take full responsibility for all the activities, and this is what we are doing.

In Macedonia the Ace Rapid Reaction Corps, Lt General Mike Jackson is in the lead, he is working towards a planned camp capacity of 83,000. We are delivering between 30 and 50 flights every 24 hours and with medical supplies, food and so forth. It is our impression, and again we defer to the UNHCR on this, but it is our impression that the situation has become increasingly stabilised in Macedonia.

Albania, we are deploying the Allied Command Europe Mobile Force Land, Lt General John Reith, he is there on the ground now and he is assuming responsibilities for coordinating some troops from NATO nations that were already present and helping out - Italy and Greece - and many other nations have now volunteered to put their forces in to try to work this very urgent humanitarian problem. Camps are being built, food is being delivered, refugees are moving out of the highlands where they are in danger of being shelled and attacked into safer areas in central and southern Albania. So a great deal is going on in these humanitarian operations and it is a major point of effort for the NATO forces.

I could turn now to the air campaign, if I could. This is the intent of the air campaign: attack, disrupt, degrade, deter further Serb actions and keep it going and further degrade Serb military potential, and that is precisely what we intend to do.

We are operating on what I would call two axes of attack, or two lines of operations: we are going after the forces inside Kosovo and around Kosovo to destroy these forces, to isolate them, to interdict them and to prevent a continuation of their campaign or its intensification; and at the same time we are going after an array of more strategic target sets that have to do with forces that are possible to be used to reinforce bases of supply, the integrated air defence system which protects the entire array of targets around the country, and also higher level command and control, petroleum and many other factors here that feed this military and security juggernaut that was assembled. So that is the intent behind the air campaign.

We have worked very hard in this campaign. It is not a campaign against the Serb people, as we have said from the outset, it is directed specifically to cause President Milosevic to change his mind, to change his pattern of behaviour, to achieve some well articulated political aims and we don't want to hurt innocent people, innocent civilians in this campaign, so we are working very, very hard to prevent collateral damage. One of the things we are doing is we are using precision weaponry. This campaign has the highest proportion of precision weaponry that has ever been used in any air operation anywhere. We are going after militarily significant targets and we are avoiding, taking all possible measures to avoid civilian damage.

I wanted to show you the tape of the cockpit view of the missile that hit the railroad bridge and the train yesterday. It is hung up in a computer problem in my computer at Shape, we are trying to get it up here and if I can get it up here during the time we have the press briefing, if I can get it up here we will show it to you. But I want to describe it because this was a case where a pilot was assigned to strike a railroad bridge that is part of the integrated communications supply network in Serbia. He launched his missile from his aircraft that was many miles away, he was not able to put his eyes on the bridge, it was a remotely directed attack.

And as he stared intently at the desired target point on the bridge, and I talked to the team at Aviano who was directly engaged in this operation, as the pilot stared intently at the desired aim point on the bridge and worked it, and worked it, and worked it, and all of a sudden at the very last instant with less than a second to go he caught a flash of movement that came into the screen and it was the train coming in. Unfortunately he couldn't dump the bomb at that point, it was locked, it was going into the target and it was an unfortunate incident which he, and the crew, and all of us very much regret. We certainly don't want to do collateral damage.

The mission was to take out the bridge. He realised when it had happened that he had not hit the bridge, but what he had hit was the train. He had another aim point on the bridge, it was a relatively long bridge and he believed he still had to accomplish his mission, the pilot circled back around. He put his aim point on the other end of the bridge from where the train had come, by the time the bomb got close the bridge was covered with smoke and clouds and at the last minute again in an uncanny accident, the train had slid forward from the original impact and parts of the train had moved across the bridge, and so that by striking the other end of the bridge he actually caused additional damage to the train.

I don't know what the extent of the second strike was, but two bombs were put into that bridge and in both cases there was an effort made to avoid collateral damage. He couldn't, he saw what had happened, it is one of those regrettable things that happen in a campaign like this and we are all very sorry for it, but we are doing the absolute best we can do to avoid collateral damage, I can assure you of that.

We have been working through the weather, the weather makes it more difficult because the pilots can't see the targets, they are working through heavy overcast and clouds. We are in the 21st day of the campaign, we estimate we have had 7 days of favourable weather, we have had 10 days where more than 50% of the strikes were cancelled and I tell you this because I want you to appreciate the real power of this air campaign. Despite the cancellations I am going to show you what the results have been.

Sorties. There has been discussion among some informed observers about the numbers of sorties. At first we weren't releasing these because I wanted to be sure we had flexibility in our operations, that I understood exactly what was required to be protected in order to protect the air crews and that we really understood how to manage the war fighting process first with safety and operational effectiveness. We are releasing these numbers now and as you have noticed for the last several days we have been reporting on the number of sorties. This is a roll-up and what it shows is that we are continuing to be effective in our strikes. By comparison with previous campaigns there are a higher proportion of support sorties than there are strike sorties. There is a reason for that. First of all we are using protective combat air controls in 5 different, 6 different locations, sometimes 7 different locations around the area. We are guarding the skies all around Yugoslavia because we don't know what reaction he might have. You may recall that a couple of weeks ago 2 MiGs did penetrate Bosnian air space, they encountered one of these combat air patrols and they were quickly shot down, but it is necessary to maintain these patrols regardless.

We have a lot of tanker support and of the numbers of sorties that we have up there, about 2,000 of those are tanker support because we are operating at great distances from our bases and we are keeping aircraft aloft for a long time so there is a lot of support required. We are using a lot of ancillary support, reconnaissance and airborne warning and control aircraft and other things. In that respect this is the most heavily leveraged air campaign yet seen.

We are also using almost all precision strike weapons when the targets are point targets, and in some cases we are actually attacking individual tanks on the ground with laser guided weaponry. The reason for this is it is a very efficient means of attack, it reduces collateral damage and it reduces the continuing exposure of aircraft going after the same target. So by comparison with previous air campaigns you might recognise that this is a high ratio of support to strike. The reason is that the strike is very, very efficient and effective.

I would like to talk you through the battle damage assessments. This is the roll-up from 24 March through 13 April and we are using colour codes here. Green is destroyed, white is severely damaged and red is moderate damage, and we are showing each of the target areas with triangles, and what we are trying to portray here is the extent to which we have damaged certain key sets of targets. In many cases these targets are quite large, they are complex and they have many different what we would call aim points, and so it is not a matter of only going over the target and dropping a single bomb, the targets have to be revisited on several occasions.

So this is the air defence target set. You can see that we have worked heavily around the Belgrade area because this is the keynote for the air defence assets. He also had a lot of air defence deployed in the Pristina area and in central and south eastern Serbia.

In Montenegro there were some air defence assets that were deployed there at the outset. These were struck and have been damaged, we are watching Montenegro closely and we are firing in Montenegro in self-defence, as we did the other night, but in general we are focused on the air defence system and other targets in Serbia.

Here is a shot of an attack at Ponigla Airfield, this is a gun camera, you are going to watch another aircraft's bomb fall on a MiG that just happened to be on the runway at the wrong time. We were striking the airfield, we were going after hangars, we are not bombing runways normally, they tend to be relatively easily bypassed and repaired, but there was a, you can't quite make it out, there it is, you can see the large fireball there as the MiG was hit.

Here is a radar facility in Pristina, it is a radar and control facility. This is the area before it has been struck, and now after it has been struck.

These are the command and control targets we have done moderate, severe or total destruction on. These are primarily air defence command and control targets but there are some ground force targets here that had dual purposes. So for example, here is the Pristina Radio relay facility and this is one of the precision weapons we are using, you can see the tower coming into view right here, the building, here is the aim point of the weapon, it is getting closer, it is going in and it impacts. I think he was off by a small margin from the centre of the base of the tower, but we did get confirmation that that was a target destruction.

We have done a lot of attacks on PLL and support targets. I am not going to go through those, you have seen them on the nightly news from Belgrade for many nights. We have now achieved probably a 70% or so destruct rate on his PLL storage. He is scrambling to bring more fuel in, he is quite worried about this, he has taken fuel away from civilian consumption and trying to hoard it for military use. We know there have been disruptions in the supply chain where units have been told in Kosovo to cease operations, to hold back, conserve your fuel, get out of the way and wait. So we are having an impact on him with this.

Here is a storage facility at Rosovac in Kosovo. This is a precision-guided weapon, you can see the target right over here. There will be two struck actually in this sequence as I recall and then I think there is one that comes in over here as well. Yes, that is the kind of precision targeting, it is making a lot of noise for people in Yugoslavia and that is what is being reported at night, but almost without exception the targets are very precisely struck.

Here are the targets that we have gone against the Yugoslav Army, the VJ and the Ministerial Police. You can see they are concentrated in Kosovo, in the surrounding headquarters area at Nis and certain targets in Belgrade and even further north that are sustaining headquarters for the effort down here.

We are going after military supply routes, I think you have all seen pictures of the bridges that have been taken down and that campaign has taken down a number of other bridges that are shown here that have not made the television news from Serbia yet, but they have been taken down. This is part of the effort to isolate, interdict and cut off this force in Kosovo.

So if you were to make an assessment, and I am not making percentage assessments today, the experience has been that in the absence of being able to be on the ground and actually counting and working at what has been struck and what is out of commission and so forth, estimates made are generally pretty inaccurate. What we can say is the integrated air defence system has been damaged, it is degraded, it is still operational and it would recover rather quickly if we were to let go of our attack on it. But this is a race of our attack against his reconstruction and repair. He is losing this race right now and day by day his ability to control and integrate his early warning radars with his missiles and his fighters and have countrywide situational awareness of the air campaign, day by day that is being degraded.

Command and control overall is damaged. We know that there are numerous communications outages and difficulties that are being experienced by these forces, we see it in their response on the ground, in their inability to respond crisply and sharply as we saw in the early days of the campaign, so we suspect this is having some impact.

We are attacking forces on the ground, you have seen tapes and other briefings of the work that is being done on the ground in Kosovo where we engage tanks and trucks and other items. To be candid, most pilots don't consider that going after individual tanks on the ground from high altitude, it is not the preferred target set, it is high risk, it is difficult and it is slow, but it is effective and bit by bit we are taking away this force.

The Security Force's headquarters are being targeted and their vehicles and their movements also interdicted. Supply routes are being target and as I said we are probably at the 70% level on petroleum, oil and lubricants in terms of his storage capacity. As you may know, we struck again last night at the Pencevo Refinery outside Belgrade and we believe it sustained increasingly severe damage.

In summary, the air campaign is a methodical, systemic campaign, it is a progressive campaign, it is going to be increasingly intense and difficult for President Milosevic. We are limited by weather in collateral damage avoidance. The weather will be improving as we move into the coming weeks, we know that historically, we are going to do everything we can to continue to avoid collateral damage.

Clearly there are high stakes caused by President Milosevic's action and he has an apparent high degree of willingness to accept damage, but the damage he is going to accept is going to be greater, and greater and greater. Their supporting infrastructure and their security forces are vulnerable to collapse.

I just wanted to say, in terms of reinforcing the air campaign and showing you how it is becoming more intense, that more strike assets have arrived and more are on the way.

Just to conclude on a personal note, I have been working on problems here associated with Bosnia and the countries of former Yugoslavia now on an almost continuous basis for about 5 years. We are going to do everything we can to continue to work the air campaign in an effective and in a systematic manner that avoids needless casualties, avoids collateral damage and that achieves the objectives set out for this campaign. That is the commitment that I feel personally and I know that commitment is shared by all of the airmen, marines, sailors and soldiers in Allied Command Europe. That is our responsibility and we are going to fulfil it. Thank you.

Jamie Shea: SACEUR, thank you very much indeed for that comprehensive overview. We will go now to questions.

Jonathan Marcus (BBC): General, two points: One, you have shown us obviously evidence of the Yugoslav forces hunkering down in Kosovo itself; could you say a little bit more about the posture of those forces, do they appear to be digging in for a long stay or are there any signs of them moving out? Secondly, we're concentrating an awful lot on oil-storage depots and so on, I understand that there are still tankers coming into ports and unloading; are we sufficiently damaging the refinery capacity or do you think that additional steps need to be taken to halt tankers actually unloading?

General Clark: First of all, we've seen no evidence of any pull-back of Serb military or police forces, they are moving into defensive positions in some areas, in other cases they are continuing with the pattern of ethnic cleansing and village destruction and in a third set of instances, they are regrouping, refitting, reconstituting and preparing for future operations but we've not seen them leaving.

We have been working on POL as one of the target sets, we know that there are other sources of supply, that he's scrambling very hard to try to receive additional POL and I think that in coming days we will see additional measures, diplomatic and otherwise, taken to further constrain his POL resources.

Question: General, do you have any information on the two latest items of news, first that Yugoslav army troops have invaded Albania and secondly, of the suspected spy case in NATO which gave early warning to the Yugoslav side about targets in Belgrade and somewhere else?

General Clark: I have no independent confirmation of the new reports about the activities on the border between Yugoslavia and Albania, we'll be getting more information on that later and at tomorrow's press briefing I'll ask the SHAPE spokesman if he can provide a further up-date to you from our sources but at this time I have nothing further.

With regard to the second question on the spy, I've seen that story break. I don't really know what the origin of the story is but clearly NATO remains very vigilant in terms of protecting the security of its operations and we're taking what I believe are all necessary and appropriate measures in that regard.

Question: General, do you have an estimate about the cost of the operation?

General Clark: I don't have any idea of the cost, I'm not working the cost of the operation. I suspect it will be substantial but I would suspect it will be far more substantial for Yugoslavia.

Mark Laity (BBC): General, the way you described it, you've said that all of the targets are damaged, that most of them are moderately damaged rather than severe or destroyed. Can you give some idea of whether we are talking several weeks, months, to actually degrade them to the point that you could actually declare that you have achieved your military objective and can you actually say this military objective is achievable by air power alone?

General Clark: Remember, what we are trying to do by air power is degrade his forces, what we're trying to do by achieving that military objective is to achieve a political objective so it's the achievement of the political objective that is the real aim of the campaign.

With respect to the destruction of the facilities and installations, I think you can see where in some cases, for example the Pristina radio relay that we showed being struck, that that is clearly out of business, it is gone and an overhead image would show that there's really nothing there after having been struck by that very large weapon right at the critical point. But in general, he is scrambling to remove critical assets from known locations, to hide, conceal, to repair and it's a day-by-day effort by the intelligence analysts and others who are looking at the damage and where the target sets have been repaired, what we have to re-attack, where's there's a new target and this is very much the meat-and-potatoes hard work of an air campaign.

As we have said from the outset, this is likely to be as long and difficult as President Milosevic makes it and we're approaching it very systematically, methodically and increasingly intense and so as we make it more intense we are working very hard over those targets that may appear to have been moderately damaged. I will tell you that "moderate" is a relative term in this case, in some that are listed by the analyst as "moderate" because they have only a small hole in the roof, inside the damage may have been catastrophic but of course we are not on the ground to see that.

Question: I have two questions. First, is it true that you asked the Pentagon for 300 additional planes and when do you think you will obtain them? Secondly, do you have any information on the 100,000 people who disappeared overnight last week at the frontier inside Kosovo?

General Clark: On the first question, I have asked for additional aircraft, approximately 300 is the number that's being reported in the press which I requested from US sources but this is part of a NATO request and it is actually a larger total than that because we'll be asking NATO to provide sources, this is just the US share of this request.

It's our understanding that the people that were turned away from the Macedonian border were moved back into the vicinity of Irosovac (phon) and some moved up into the hills to the west of Irosovac, others are inhabiting what is essentially a ghost town in which houses and homes have been looted, burned and there is very little of value remaining in them.

Rick: General, we understand that the Foreign Ministers asked the Military Alliance to figure out a way to help those displaced people. What are some of the options that you're looking at?

General Clark: We've looked at a number of options. Of course, the one that comes first to mind is a humanitarian airlift. I would just tell you that inside Kosovo first, it's a very difficult air-defence environment. Even though we've experienced no real losses of aircraft there, we are engaged every night and last night three or four SAM-6s were fired at us and lots of AAA is fired but this fire is incapable thus far of doing any damage to our aircraft.

I am sure that's a source of great frustration to the Yugoslav military but a slow-moving transport plane would be vulnerable to such fire and I would have to assume in planning such an operation that the Yugoslav military would choose to engage such an aircraft, there is no reason to assume they wouldn't and it's not a matter of a single aircraft flying over and dropping a load, we're talking of a quarter of a million people, it's between 60 and 100 flights per day of substantial-sized cargo aircraft to deliver the kinds of food that are needed to sustain them and so our view on this is that, frankly, this is a question that is caused by President Milosevic and his policies; he needs to address this problem, these people are citizens of his country, that's what he has said all along, he needs to demonstrate his leadership and concern for his own citizens who are being held out there hostage, isolated and starved.

Question (National Public Radio): General, you showed in the beginning a very interesting sequence on the Yugoslav troop movements. Is it your impression that that was designed to carry out a campaign of ethnic cleansing that was basically randomly-scattered all the way across Kosovo territory or are you starting to discern a specific pattern to what he was trying to accomplish?

General Clark: I'm sure that there are documents - and we've seen references to them in the German press and others - as to what exactly what was intended in this operation. When General Naumann (phon) and I were in Belgrade in October, I recall being in a room with General Perisic, General Giorgovic (phon) and some others.

I asked General Giorgovic: "Where is this enemy that you're fighting and how many are there?" and he brought in a map and he showed me the individual locations where they believed that there were still elements of the KLA and he said then to me: "You know, you stopped us from totally destroying them, we only needed another two weeks and we would have finished this problem with military force" and I said to him: "Yes, and you've created about 400,000 homeless people in this process in a campaign that's totally disproportionate to any reasonable definition of a threat, it's a political problem and you've tried to solve it by force."

We had a long dialectical discussion on this point, as you might imagine, at that time but that's when I realised that there was still this very strong proclivity to believe that this problem was a problem which was appropriate to be solved by military force and the target would be the population since they couldn't get at the KLA directly and they would move the population, sift it, screen it and do whatever was required to try to eliminate the basis of support for this popular movement.

Whether it was planned that they force these people all out of Kosovo into neighbouring countries or that they just make them internally-displaced and shift them from side, wasn't clear. Last summer, it appeared that President Milosevic had decided the right way to handle the problem was to prevent being accused of creating a regional catastrophe by holding as many of the refugees as possible inside Yugoslavia. For whatever reason, this policy suddenly changed a week-and-a-half ago and now it's flip-flopped back again. I couldn't explain it.

Freddie: General, you gave a very clear indication of the military mission and the political objective which it is intended to achieve but it doesn't in fact make it clear how degrading the Serb forces can in fact get Milosevic to change his mind. Since there is no intention of putting in ground forces on the part of the Allies and since the statement that NATO doesn't intend to be the air force of a reconstituted KLA, there is really nothing on the ground to force Milosevic to change his mind unless further action is intended. Is this action intended?

General Clark: I can tell you that right now what we intend to do is continue to strengthen and intensify the air campaign. We are going to make it increasingly difficult for these forces to survive on the ground in Kosovo, we are going to make it increasingly difficult for them to be resupplied and reinforced from outside Kosovo and we are going to make it increasingly painful and difficult for President Milosevic to maintain his control and the high-level command and control of the armed forces and police which are essential to maintaining his authority but that is the nature of air campaigns.

As we recognised at the beginning, you cannot stop paramilitary murder on the ground with aeroplanes - we all knew that - but what we also said is that he values very highly his ability to use these forces and to keep them in readiness so that's what we're after.

Carlos: Thank you, Jamie. General Clark, you said that Mr. Milosevic has been planning this operation for three four months. Don't you think that NATO politicians have reacted too slowly to stop him? The second question, if I may, is will you ask the Atlantic Council for ???????

General Clark: First, let me say that you're asking judgements about political leadership which it's not appropriate for me to give but I will tell you that as in every democracy, in this Alliance we look for force as the last resort. We attempted to broker a peace agreement in faith. I had many conversations with Chris Hill and with the other diplomats who were engaged in this endeavour and there was every hope that President Milosevic was equally negotiating in good faith. Apparently, there was more to it than that.

Mrs.Savic, Novosti, Belgrade: General, we are listening all over again from you and other officials that you are not in quarrel with the Yugoslav people. How convinced you are that your bombs are received with joy and happiness by Yugoslav people? Do you receive any love letters from Novi Sad, Belgrade, Oranjovac (phon), Chupria (phon), Pristina and elsewhere?

General Clark: We haven't yet received such correspondence but we are receiving increasing indications that people in many of these cities are growing angry with the leadership of President Milosevic and that's important, that they recognise what his leadership is costing them.

Lindsay Hill (CH4 NEWS): You said that you've asked for 300 more planes from the US and other planes from elsewhere. This suggests that this is a much bigger, longer and more difficult job than you originally envisaged. Can you explain that to us and explain to us why it was envisaged to be less difficult than it appears to be?

General Clark: First of all, we always said that we did not seek a conflict with Yugoslavia so the air campaign was not prepared in advance with some sort of military objective that was final in mind, our hope was that President Milosevic would recognise the seriousness of NATO's resolve and that he would return in good faith to negotiate an agreement that would be in his own and his country's best interests. We also said as we started this campaign, that it would progressively intensify, we recognised that it would and we said it at the time and so it's very much on-track as we imagined it would be.

Augusto: General, there are reports that people in Kosovo are starving already, but NATO officials say the responsibility for their lives lies with Milosevic. Knowing how much he loves them, they will die. Is there any plan within NATO that you can make any fast air-drop or something like that?

General Clark: As I described, we are looking at a number of options including the idea of an air drop but the magnitude of the requirement is frankly staggering and it doesn't appear to be an easy solution at this time. We are looking at other options and at all other options.

Jim Clancy (CNN): General, you described the air defences in Kosovo as still being very formidable. How will that affect the deployment of the Apache, the task force Hawk, will you put them in as soon as they are ready or will you wait until it has developed into a more robust force perhaps even a month from now?

General Clark: They'll go in when it's the appropriate time for them to go in based on their mission, their capabilities, the threat, the targets and so forth. It is a complex calculation but it not intended that that be saved up for some later stage, it's going to be a matter of getting them there and then making the call that they are ready to go and do the job.

Margaret Evans (Canadian Broadcasting): I wonder if you could just give us your assessment of how much more difficult your job has been in fact and how much more difficult it has become to actually wage a war given the fact that so much of NATO's time is taken up with humanitarian aid, it has placed enormous pressure on the campaign, has it not? And could you also clarify the numbers? The map that you showed us said that there 260,000 people displaced within Kosovo, yesterday Secretary of State Albright said 700,000 - who has got the right number there?

General Clark: I don't know, I didn't see Secretary Albright's presentation. These were the figures that we've been using. I am not sure we'll get an answer for you, if we're wrong on our figure, we'll correct it at our press briefing tomorrow but that's the figure that I briefed the Council on yesterday.

With respect to your first question, it hasn't been much of a burden. In fact, the truth is that NATO forces were incredibly agile in picking up this burden. In Macedonia when the real storm broke a week ago Friday, Lt. General Mike Jackson was there, he was in meetings with the government and the very next day the NATO forces that morning moved out to begin assistance to the refugees, almost immediately aircraft began landing as early as early Sunday morning with relief supplies and other materials and on Saturday the combat stocks and other equipment of the NATO forces were put to immediate use to alleviate the plight of the refugees. In the meantime, the air campaign has continued.

George Foris (Hungarian TV): General, would you mind elaborating a little bit? Strictly from the military and strategic point of view, what makes it necessary to hit Borovadina (phon) so heavily? For Hungary and Germany it is quite difficult to send a story of the necessity at home and I know that there is a growing hostility against it.

General Clark: We've hit military targets wherever they may be throughout Serbia. We said at the outset that there was no sanctuary and as we've done our analysis, there are military targets in the Borovadina province which are used to support and sustain the effort in Kosovo.

I think we do have the video on the railroad bridge yesterday and I would like to show this for you because it completes the statement I was making about collateral damage:

(VIDEO)

The pilot in the aircraft is looking at about a 5-inch screen, he is seeing about this much and in here you can see this is the railroad bridge which is a much better view than he actually had, you can see the tracks running this way.

Look very intently at the aim point, concentrate right there and you can see how, if you were focused right on your job as a pilot, suddenly that train appeared. It was really unfortunate.

Here, he came back around to try to strike a different point on the bridge because he was trying to do a job to take the bridge down. Look at this aim point - you can see smoke and other obscuration there - he couldn't tell what this was exactly.

Focus intently right at the centre of the cross. He is bringing these two crosses together and suddenly he recognises at the very last instant that the train that was struck here has moved on across the bridge and so the engine apparently was struck by the second bomb.

As I said, the crew feel very badly about this, it certainly wasn't what they intended and we do take every possible measure to avoid collateral damage.

Thank you very much for your attention, I just want to say again we're going to do everything we can to conduct an effective professional campaign and avoid collateral damage.

Jamie Shea: And I'd like also to say a very big thanks to SACEUR for coming today, thank you!


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