|Updated: 9 May 1999||Press Conferences|
9 May 1999
given by NATO Spokesman, Jamie Shea and SHAPE Spokesman, Major General Walter Jertz(Presentation )
Jamie Shea : Ladies and Gentlemen, good afternoon. Welcome to the daily briefing. You see General Jertz once again beside me up here.
I would first of all like to give you an idea of the events that will be taking place next week as far as NATO Headquarters is concerned. It will be, as you would expect, a busy one. Tomorrow morning the Council will meet and will hear Ambassador Eiff. Ambassador Eiff is a German diplomat who is currently serving as our political representative in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and he will be coming to brief on the situation and on his activities.
Tomorrow afternoon the Secretary General will travel to Bremen to participate in the Ministerial meeting of the Western European Union. And also towards the middle of the week the Secretary General is planning to visit Albania and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. We are still finalising the details and the timetable of the trip. I will obviously give them to you as soon as they are ready. But he will be going to those two countries with three things in mind: firstly of course to meet the political leaders and to reassure them of NATO's solidarity and practical assistance in this grave situation which they are currently facing; secondly he wants, as you would imagine, to visit the NATO troops in both countries and to see the good work they are doing to assist with the refugees and to thank them on behalf of the Alliance for those efforts; and thirdly, he wants to see the situation of the refugees at first hand and to reassure them of NATO's determination to make sure that they will ultimately all be able to go back to their homes under international protection.
Let me just say a few words about the humanitarian situation. In Albania yesterday 5,000 new refugees arrived at Kukes. Today so far I understand that 4,000 people have crossed the border from Kosovo and most of these people seem to be coming from the region of Pec, and many of them tell the usual stories of beatings, of forced expulsions, little time to leave, not being able to take any of their possessions with them. So again this does seem to imply that there is a systematic expulsion campaign going on, targeting particular areas and that there is nothing random about this at all.
In Albania the AFOR forces under NATO command are committing now all of their engineering units and manpower to build as many refugee centres as possible in both western and southern Albania, with the aim of having ten camps up and running by the latest by the end of June. The engineers of these forces are also repairing the road between Puke and Kukes to enable more evacuations from border areas to take place by road. Indeed on Friday we were able to move 3,500 refugees from Kukes to safer accommodation elsewhere. This is one of our priorities.
I can tell you that one of the things that AFOR forces are also looking into is guarding all of the tractors because many of the refugees have as you know escaped Kosovo using their tractors, and so there are very large numbers of tractors that are now parked at the border. We want to make sure that these tractors remain in safe hands because obviously they will be needed to restart agriculture in Kosovo once the refugees are able to return home.
I am also pleased that yesterday, and thanks to a very big effort by the United Arab Emirates, the airstrip at Kukes has been repaired and up-graded and that a C130 transport aircraft in a test was able to land there, and this availability of an airstrip at Kukes will further help on refugee evacuation, take some of the pressure off the roads, some of the pressure off of the helicopters.
In the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, NATO forces have been working to expand the refugee centre at Segrani and in particular to put up extra tent space so that all of the refugees there, numbering 31,000 at the moment, can be securely accommodated under tents of course, very important that all refugees should have some kind of shelter.
We still have plans to help to move, on behalf of the UNHCR, up to 6,000 refugees from the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia to Albania, but of course this depends upon the willingness of those refugees to actually leave and to be resettled in this way and the transfer has not yet taken place. At the same time, every day we are assisting in the temporary evacuations of refugees to other countries, they are now running at the rate of about 2,000 a day and Italy in particular, along with all of the countries, is making a big effort, accepting about 500 of these refugees every day for temporary accommodation.
I would like just to make a few extra points in the way of up-dating your information. The first is to let you know that the Russian inspection team has arrived in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and under the terms of the Vienna document 1994 on troop inspections, is carrying out an inspection which involves NATO forces in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, that is going very smoothly, the Russians have split into two teams: one covering the eastern part of the country; the other the western part. NATO is co-operating fully with that inspection and yesterday one Russian team visited the Petrovec airfield and observed the training activities of the UK Fourth Armoured Brigade, the other Russian team went to Kuminovo, which is as you know where the barracks are for many of the NATO forces, and received a briefing on NATO's humanitarian efforts by Dutch, German and UK Commanders.
Finally, I would like to draw your attention to an extremely serious event that occurred yesterday but was overshadowed of course by the other very serious event which occurred yesterday, and that is of course the fate of Mr Femi Ogani, an adviser to Ibrahim Rugova, and as you know one of the key members of the Kosovar Albanian delegation at the Rambouillet talks, and indeed one of the must illustrious of the Kosovar Albanian leaders in recent years.
We have seen reports, and you have as well, that he has apparently been killed after having been detained by the Serb police. And Mr Ogani, who is as you know a man of dialogue, a champion of a peaceful solution in Kosovo, had been in hiding since 29 March. At a news conference in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia yesterday, Mr Ogani's son, Sheped Ogani, told the press that his father had been arrested out of a train by Serb police while attempting - and not for the first time - to be able to leave the country. And according to Mr Ogani's son, the family members in Pristina have now identified the body. A family member who had asked the police for further information was apparently beaten.
Now a number of Allies have already demanded a full investigation of this case by the government in Belgrade. The persons responsible for the death of Mr Ogani must be punished, and the information that we have so far clearly points in the direction of the Serb police forces who detained Mr Ogani, even though Tanjug has reported that some in Belgrade believe that the UCK may have been responsible, but that does not seem to be the way in which the evidence is pointing at the moment. This looks like yet another case for the International Criminal Tribunal in The Hague.
Having said that, I now ask General Jertz to give you his daily operational up-date.
General Jertz : Thank you Jamie. Good Afternoon Ladies and Gentlemen. Yesterday and last night our operations were affected again by weather, particularly in Kosovo. Still, over 500 NATO sorties were flown and we were able to attack many of our planned targets. Within Kosovo we struck targets, shown here, including Pristina airfield and a Serbian military assembly area at Suvareka.
Speaking of operations within Kosovo, if you will recall on Thursday when I gave you a comprehensive overview on what we achieved against fielded forces in Kosovo so far, I showed you a couple of slides which showed you the decreases in Serbian military activity in Kosovo over the past few weeks. I would again like to show you a comparison of Serbian military and special police activity from 29 March, and the activity we have noted in the past 24 hours. You will note a very significant decrease in Serbian operations throughout Kosovo. One trend we have observed, and you can see this by the circles on the slide, is that as Serbian military units are destroyed or driven into hiding, there is a resurgence of UCK activity. Although when we look at where the hundreds of thousands of internally displaced Kosovar Albanians are taking shelter, these locations very often coincide with many of the UCK controlled areas. In fact it appears that some sanctuary is being provided for these unfortunate people within these areas. It appears that our operations against Serbian military and special police in Kosovo may be allowing the UCK to provide some protection for their kinfolk.
Turning now to our other air operations. This slide shows our fixed targets. As you can see, we struck air defence and command and control targets, including again the radio relay sites at Kosovac, at Ivanlica, plus airfields at Sienica and Nis. We also struck petroleum production facilities, lines of communication and other military targets as shown.
I have two images to show you from our attacks the night before last night. First you will remember one of the targets we struck was the residence of President Milosevic which actually housed a command and control bunker. Here are both the pre and post-strike photos showing the significant damage to the site. The second image shows the Ivanica satellite communications facility which was an important command and control communications node as you know.
Serbian air defences were light and all of our aircraft, I am happy to say, returned safely.
I would like now to turn to our humanitarian efforts also. This topic is already covered by Jamie, but as it is a political as well as military issue, including of course non-governmental organisations, let me give you some more information on that. In the past 24 hours the refugee relief aid effort continued. There were 19 aid flights into Albania. Likewise there were 21 aid flights to the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. In fact we received a report this morning, as has already been mentioned, that at least the refugees in Segrani are now all in tents or under shelter.
Just to give you a better feel for how this airlift is working, let me elaborate a little bit. These two flights from a couple of days ago are typical for our operations. As you can see, this German C160 aircraft delivered 8 tons of supplies, including flour, milk powder, clothing and blankets. Likewise, a Dutch 707 transport delivered 37 tons of medical supplies, blankets, clothing and other supplies. You can imagine these are all used to feed, to nourish and to help people survive. This slide shows you a summary of our total deliveries thus far.
Finally you may be aware of the excellent work which has been done to build up the Kukes airfield. This one was also mentioned, but I also wanted to show you a picture on that, so Jamie I hope you don't dislike it that I am a little better than you this time by also showing pictures. This is an important example of truly international efforts which are helping to improve the humanitarian situation in Albania. This image shows this airstrip. Engineers from the United Arab Emirates established this landing strip to facilitate the movements of airlift aircraft up to the size of C130 Hercules or C160 Transal. And we are all sure that this airfield will significantly improve the situation in the Kukes area because it will allow for the faster and more efficient delivery of humanitarian goods to northern Albania.
Thank you, Ladies and Gentlemen, that concludes my part of the briefing.
Neil: Jamie, we have often heard in this room that time was on NATO's side, but I am curious whether this weekend hasn't shown, to the extent that NATO has found itself in an uncomfortable box, in all that it can do is continue to accelerate and pound away at Serbia, but I am wondering to what extent you don't fear losing the propaganda war before you win the actual win, in that the more that one has to accelerate this, the more that one has to go after increasingly sensitive and delicate targets, especially in the centres of large cities, and we are not going to see more of this kind of damage that then does extraordinary damage to NATO's own reputation.
Jamie Shea : Neil, as you well know, armed conflicts always bring their fair share of accidents and mishaps, that has been the same throughout human history and no doubt it will be the same in all future conflicts as well, no matter how much the technology moves on, and that is one reason of course why NATO would have greatly preferred to have not been obliged to have recourse to force. That is why we had a long period of one year in which we were trying to seek a way out without having to use force, because clearly it is never an easy option. But Milosevic had different ideas for us, as you well know. But having started the campaign, despite the obvious problems that one will have from time to time along the way, we recognise that, we are determined to push it through because we believe that to stop now would simply hand Milosevic ethnic cleansing on a plate. In other words, that we are not going to follow a mistake by the even greater mistake of allowing ourselves to be intimidated or to stopping before we have achieved our goals. That would serve no purpose and nobody's interest except those of President Milosevic.
At the same time, I believe that we have been conducting this campaign in a professional as well as a deliberate way. We have so far struck at 1,900 aim points, that is the number of individual targets even if they may sometimes be on the same building, like an oil refinery, 1,900 aim points. We know that we have dropped around 9,000 pieces of ordnance, missiles and bombs. Only 12 have gone astray as a result of either mechanical error, or some other error, or the mistake that occurred yesterday. If you do a mathematical computation you are talking about a fraction of 1%, and so we continue to be accurate. Obviously I understand that sometimes international attention, or TV pictures, prefer to focus on the 12 that went astray, as opposed to the 8,988 that didn't go astray. But let's remember that if you look at the big picture, the overwhelming majority of these weapons are landing every day and every night accurately against legitimate military targets.
And you have seen after yesterday, with our apologies, with our regrets to the Chinese authorities, that we have continued this operation because we know that at the end of the day it is the only way that we can secure peace with justice for the people in Kosovo. And do not forget that sometimes again when you have a dramatic event like what happened yesterday, you tend to forget that other things in the meantime were going on elsewhere in Yugoslavia, particularly in Kosovo. I have mentioned the 5,000 refugees that were thrown out of their homes and forced over the border yesterday, the 4,000 this morning, the death of Mr Ogani, all of the other accounts which are now all over the newspapers of individual suffering, of mass executions and so on. I am afraid the tally of destruction is still overwhelmingly on the side of Milosevic, so let's not lose the wood for the trees, that would be my main message today.
Mark: General Jertz, do we have any more details on yesterday's bombing of the Chinese Embassy, notably which aircraft used it, which kinds of weapons were being used? And secondly, seeing the targets in Kosovo, the overlap of the KLA activity helping the internally displaced people, does that suggest that you should be directly trying to assist the KLA in their fighting seeing as they are protecting refugees in a way that you find difficult, given that it is an air campaign? And are you in fact deliberately trying to help them with the attacks on the border where they are trying to put troops and materials across the border with Albania, are you actually directly trying to aid them and prevent the Serbians actually getting at the KLA?
General Jertz : Thank you very much for this question. Let me for the first part hand over to Jamie, because I think he would be the one to answer the question on the Chinese part.
Jamie Shea : I have no further information on the incident with the Chinese Embassy yesterday. I referred this morning, as you know, to the statement that was put out in the United States yesterday and which make it clear that the error started in the intelligence gathering, obviously went through the system and was not identified. But as for the operational details I don't have anything to add to what was said yesterday.
General Jertz : On the UCK, let me state the first sentence. We are not the Air Force of the KLA, this is very important and we should all bear that in mind. And we are not supporting the UCK either directly or indirectly. Our goal in Kosovo is to attack FRY forces, Serb forces and keep down their fighting capability, and by doing that UCK might take advantage of what we are doing but there are no direct links between them and us.
Question (Cnn): A follow-up to the first question, how do you account for the fact that there are still such widely-held views by people in the NATO countries and especially beyond, that what has happened here is that NATO has taken a disaster - and I don't underestimate the disaster that confronted you - but NATO has taken a disaster and turned it into a catastrophe?
Jamie Shea : Your words, not mine. I think we have done what anybody would do in these circumstances, first of all we have acknowledged responsibility clearly, unambiguously, quickly; we have expressed our regrets to the Chinese authorities; we have acknowledged where the error occurred quickly, honestly, in the intelligence-gathering process; we have also stated just as quickly, just as clearly, that the procedures have been reviewed to make it very unlikely that such an error would occur again; finally, we have also done the responsible thing which is not allowing one mistake, no matter how tragic, to divert us from the fundamental purpose of why we are doing this which is to save hundreds of thousands of lives in Kosovo, to repair one of the worst crimes in Europe in the 20th century - a century by the way which has not been short of major crimes - and to allow those refugees to go home.
Nobody in the international community would thank us if we were blown off course because of one mistake. We are not going to be blown off course and I think that is the clear message that came out of the meeting of the North Atlantic Council yesterday. We have acknowledged this but we are moving on and we will move on, we will move on not only on the military front, as we demonstrated yesterday, but we are going to move ahead on the diplomatic front and when you speak of "catastrophe", I don't see anything either in terms of the military campaign or in terms of the way in which the diplomatic activities are ongoing today which suggests that this was a catastrophe. It was not, it was a mistake but no more than that.
Same Questioner: A follow-up please, Jamie. I wasn't referring specifically and only to the hit on the Chinese embassy and the question was your thoughts on why then so many people in the world do not get your message and prefer to see this differently to the way you insist it is.
Jamie Shea : There are always going to be people in democracies who will see things differently, that is why of course we are fighting this particular conflict, to uphold the standards of people being able to dissent and have their view, even against our own air campaign, without being put in prison or without being murdered as a result. There, I believe, is where the fundamental difference is in this whole operation and accidents, mistakes or no mistakes, will continue to occur until the very end.
Doug: I have two questions about the Chinese embassy for you. One is to clarify a slight difference in statements. The one that came from SHAPE during the night appeared to say that the intended target was the weapons warehouse of the Federal Directorate of Supply & Procurement, a later statement said it was the Federal Directorate itself. Which was the target and is the weapons warehouse in a different place and if so, where is it?
Secondly, does NATO have any information that there was in fact secret collaboration between China and Belgrade, that China was giving intelligence on the conflict to Belgrade and that Serbia had moved equipment and people into the Chinese embassy making at least one part of that embassy a legitimate target?
General Jertz : I don't see too much of a difference in the wording of what we were attacking, headquarters or warehouse, because they both serve the same purpose and it is a kind of procurement installation and as we already indicated, we thought it was there where we attacked so I don't see a difference between what we said in the morning message and later on.
On the second question, this is an intelligence matter. We still and will continue to degrade Milosevic's command-and-control facilities wherever they are and wherever we can find them and we are in the process of finding and defining those targets.
On collaboration, I could only speculate as I already indicated yesterday but I'm not going to do that.
Question: A question for both of you. Jamie, there is less and less information about the internally-displaced persons and about your plans for air-dropped food for Albanians inside Kosovo. Does that mean that you have abandoned all these plans or that there will be something to air-drop soon?
Jamie Shea : No, we haven't abandoned those plans, we've never said we were going to do this but we did say that we would do some planning. We've done some planning and that planning is there.
I think the focus internationally in the last few days is where it should be, quite frankly, which is try to get humanitarian relief organisations into Kosovo; they are in the best position, both professionally and being on the ground, to identify the problem and obviously to bring food in in large quantities, much more than you can do using aircraft and more reliably, making sure that the food actually gets to the people to whom it should be given.
As you know, there is a mission under way of the UN Secretary General to see first of all if the UN can have access and then to try to assess the needs particularly in terms of seeing in what actual physical and mental condition these people are. NATO totally supports that, we will co-operate with it in every way and Secretary General Annan of the UN has written to the Secretary General of NATO, Mr. Solana, to ask for that co-operation and the UN will have it.
Secondly, there are other initiatives under way by various private, non-governmental organisations, the Greeks in particular and Medicines du Monde have had some success at least in transporting medical supplies in. Milosevic should allow these humanitarian organisations to operate under the terms of their charter and we will co-operate with those types of missions.
Craig Whitney (New York Times) I have a question for both of you which is whether the statement that was issued late last night by the Defence Department and the CIA constitutes the last word that we're going to hear about the investigation which I assume you are saying is complete because the statement says: "a review of our procedures has convinced us that this anomaly is unlikely to occur again". Does this mean that SHAPE and whoever else was involved in the targeting have completed the review and that we won't hear any more results than this because it leaves a lot of things vague, it says "those involved in targeting". If you read between the lines, you could say that's the CIA and by implication also the Defence Department, including SHAPE, but it doesn't say, that is hanging in the air.
Another thing hanging in the air, General Jertz, is did you really mean to say that if you discovered collaboration between the Chinese embassy and the Serb athorities, that the Chinese embassy or places like that could become targets because that was the implication in the answer you just gave?
General Jertz : I hope it was not just because my English is not as good as yours. No, we will never target anybody except military targets directly related to Milosevic so I'm really thankful for the question just to clarify it. We will continue to use the targeting process which is very robust, which is very systematic, to identify targets which are valid, to downgrade, to degrade all the capabilities Milosevic has and these will be the only targets which are going to be attacked also in the future. I thank you once again for the question so that I had a chance to clarify that.
Jamie Shea : Yes, Craig, we don't consider embassies to be targets, as you well know, we made that abundantly clear yesterday.
As for the question you addressed to me, we ascertained quickly that the error was in the intelligence process unlike when you have a pilot error or some technological or mechanical error and as intelligence, particularly with targeting policy, Craig, is something that obviously has to be carefully guarded for strict operational reasons, I am certainly not going to give you any promise that we will have further information. The North Atlantic Council will be briefed on the circumstances as ambassadors asked yesterday but I am not going to promise any more information at the present time.
Nick (Deutsche Welle): General, with the Apaches, OK, they are deployed there at the moment, there are a lot of training missions going on but has the military got the go-ahead, the authority, to actually use these Apaches in a combat situation as opposed to training, has it actually got the authority to use them?
Regarding the Chinese embassy, coming back to this again, with the investigations what happens in military intelligence circles? Is someone held responsible or are people held responsible, does the commander walk, what actually happens here because this is actually by most people considered to be gross incompetence, knocking out someone's embassy, it's not just a mistake, it's just incompetence and surely someone is going to walk for this?
Jamie Shea : Nick, I think the most important thing is to try to find out why you made a mistake - and this is what has been happening - identify where it came from to see if it was because of some problem in the system as it were and then to take steps to make sure by tracking back to first origins that you ensure that that sort of mistake is not going to happen again and that is clearly what has happened and that is of course the priority. We don't want this thing to happen again and therefore we need a system that almost guarantees that it doesn't happen again so that is the focus. I am not going to comment on the question of any individual responsibility.
General Jertz : On the Apache side of course, you all know that just one-and-a-half weeks ago - I don't know the exact number because at that time I wasn't here - plans had been set up to have the Apaches stationed in Albania and these plans are well under way and the Apaches are still training and bear in mind as I think I already indicated two or three days ago, that of course it takes a little while until the Apaches finally can be employed because it is a completely different terrain and they have to be trained according to the geographic area they will be working in. You also have to bear in mind that we have to make sure on the military side of the house that once we employ them every precaution has been taken to really make sure that they will be employed so that on the one hand they can attack with success and on the other hand not be shot down by anybody who is trying to shoot them down so the plans are under way and as I already indicated several times, in the near future the Apaches will be also in the fight.
Jamie Shea : If I could just trespass on General Jertz's domain, I also would like to point out that you should not have the impression that because the Apaches haven't been used that we are not hitting Serb tanks and artillery. With the assets we have at the moment, every night we hit a number of Serb tanks, artillery, vehicles and everything else. The Apaches are a useful addition to this capability but it is not the 7th Cavalry, it's not in other words that we cannot get on with the job perfectly adequately with the tools that we have at the moment, we have them and we are doing the job.
Alexander: This is a follow-up on the question about aid to the internally-displaced persons in Yugoslavia, about this Greek/Russian/Swiss initiative to move the aid directly into the Yugoslavian hospitals etc. What security guarantees can the convoys of Russian, Greek or Swiss trucks have coming into these areas?
Jamie Shea : Alexander, first of all, we will co-operate to the extent we can, for example the other day we knew in advance through co-operation with the Greek authorities about the Medicines du Monde convoy and having that information is very valuable to our military commanders and that convoy arrived perfectly safely intact in Pristina which is of course what counts so we obviously need to have the information and that is what we would like but the air campaign is going to go on, let us make that clear, for the simple reason that we are not going to allow President Milosevic to divert us away from our aim so that he can continue to expel large numbers of people.
The problem, as I pointed out, for the Kosovars is not simply a question of supplies, it is also a question of bullets, it is a question of physical violence, not simply shortages of supplies no matter how serious they are and therefore we can only stop the humanitarian crisis when we stop the war, the war is producing all of this and so we have to get to the problem at source and therefore the air campaign is going to go on until those Serb forces leave, then we can really tackle - and not simply in a short-term way but in a durable way - the humanitarian crisis both by making sure that those internally-displaced persons inside Kosovo are adequately cared for, sheltered, provided with food, provided with protection, that we give them assistance to rebuild their homes, to reconstitute their livestock, their farms and get the economy going again and in terms of settling the refugees. The answer is that we will co-operate to the extent we can with all of these initiatives, which we welcome, but we will continue at the same time the air operations because unless we stop the war, we cannot stop the suffering.
Question: I have a two-tier question for General Jertz. Some unconfirmed rumours coming from Belgrade are saying that the radio station belonging to the daughter of Milosevic which was bombed a few days ago started broadcasting again and most of the broadcasts, as it was tv station, were Chinese programmes. Is there a possibility that these programmes would have been broadcast from the Chinese embassy and that the missile would have been homing-in on the broadcast?
Secondly, in Washington the sources commenting on the Chinese embassy bombing said they had a problem with the local intelligence source. Is there any possibility that a manipulation could have taken place to push the Americans towards bombing the Chinese embassy?
General Jertz : On the first question, I do have to elaborate it because I am not aware that this radio relay station is used to broadcast Chinese-made programmes so I would have to go into the military details if this relay station is really already working again. I am not in a position at the present time to give you an answer on that but I will come to you later on once I have found it out.
On the other question, I already mentioned that we cannot go into speculations. We really do not know so far if there were any tricks or traps or collaboration as I already indicated so I also cannot elaborate on that because that would be speculation and as I already promised you when I started my job here I am not going to do that when I don't have evidence.
Question: Today, the Chinese Vice-Premier made a speech televised nation-wide in China concerning the NATO attack on the Chinese embassy and the violation of international law and saying NATO must take full responsibility for that. How do you comment on the violation of international law and what would be the result of Chinese doubts expressed for only an apology and regrets?
Jamie Shea : Thank you very much for that question and let me again, particularly to you here in the audience, express the regret of NATO for the attack upon the embassy of your country. Obviously, I listened to the Vice-Premier today, I watched him on television and we have taken the responsibility already for the mistaken attack on the embassy so there is no ambiguity about that.
Secondly, I was encouraged by the fact that he called for restraint and calm by the Chinese people particularly in terms of the demonstrations around various US and other NATO embassies. As you know, it is the responsibility of governments to ensure that embassies and diplomatic personnel are protected and that all demonstrations remain peaceful. Those demonstrations are totally legitimate but obviously we would hope that they would remain peaceful and I was encouraged that the government clearly shares that view and intends to keep those demonstrations calm and peaceful.
Third, Chancellor Schrder of Germany will be visiting Beijing this week, I know that he will convey on behalf of the Alliance again the expression of our regrets but he will also be making the point that this was a mistake and no more than a mistake, it has no political significance and the Chinese government, as a member of the Security Council, hopefully will work with us, with Russia, with the Allies, towards the elaboration of a Security Council resolution which will stop the war. What I believe the Chinese government wants to do is exactly what the NATO governments want to do which is to be able to resolve the crisis and stop the fighting but we can only do that if we manage to secure, with the help of the UN, compliance with the essential five conditions of the Allies.
The idea that we can have peace with something less than those five conditions is an illusion, it is simply buying a breathing space before the next bout of killing and mayhem begins; we know that, we have had that experience since 1991 and therefore I hope that the Chinese, despite the anger that clearly they feel at the moment and which I wholly understand, will put the long-term interests of all of the international community in stopping the fighting in Kosovo on the basis of the five conditions ahead of other considerations and will accept our apologies for what is a bad mistake but nonetheless nothing more than a mistake.
Same Questioner (Inaudible)
Jamie Shea : I think that the violation of international law in Kosovo is on one side which is in the hands of Belgrade. NATO would never be there in the first place, there would never have been any strikes at all, we would not have had six weeks of NATO air operations if President Milosevic had first and foremost obeyed international law, if he had listened to three UN Security Council resolutions which your country, China, along with the other members helped to pass and which called on him to stop this fighting and to pull his forces back and take immediate steps to assist the Kosovar people and so I believe that if we are talking about international law, we have a good case for doing what we are doing.
Luc Rozenzweig, Le Monde: L'erreur que vous avez signale pour laquelle vous vous tes plusieurs reprises excus n'est pas une erreur mineure, c'est une erreur majeure. Donc, ce que j' aimerais savoir c'est si le niveau de responsabilit de cette erreur a d'ors et dj t tabli et deuximement s'il va y avoir des sanctions publiques contre les responsables de cette erreur.
Jamie Shea :Quelqu'un d'autre a dj pos cette question et donc je pense avoir dj rpondu. Nous avons tabli que l'erreur provient d'une dfaillance dans le systme d'intelligence et que les mesures ont t prises biensr pour encore minimiser la possibilit d'un renouvellement d'une telle erreur. Et quant la responsabilit individuelle, je n'ai aucun commentaire faire.
Augustine:Jamie, you mentioned the fate of Mr. Fehmi Agani. Do you have any information about the other Albanians who disappeared, who are missing knowing that Agani was a key member of the Kosovar delegation in Rambouillet which helped to build a common front of Albanians, to get together the KLA and the LVK? What is your comment now on the position of Ibrahim Rugova whose best friend is killed and is giving no statement about that?
Jamie Shea : I can imagine that Mr. Rugova is very deeply affected by the death of Mr. Agani so I don't have any comment on what statement he would make. The position of the Allies is very clear.
I have no other information as to the fate of those Kosovar Albanian leaders that are still in hiding in Kosovo but the fate of Mr. Agani suggests that they have every reason to be in hiding and I hope that they will be able to remain in hiding until the international community can liberate them from their Calvary and obviously ensure that they are able to go about their normal political activities as any of us in a democratic society would believe to be necessary so obviously I don't have any information but the fate of Mr. Agani suggests that we have every reason to be very deeply preoccupied with their fate.
Ladies and Gentlemen, thank you! Normal update tomorrow at 10.30, briefing in the afternoon at 3 p.m.