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Updated: 17 May 1999 Press Conferences

NATO HQ

Brussels

Press Conference

given by NATO Spokesman, Jamie Shea
and SHAPE Spokesman, Major General Walter Jertz

(Presentation Photo)

Jamie Shea : Ladies and Gentlemen, Good Afternoon. Welcome to NATO, welcome to our daily 3.00 pm briefing. General Jertz, as always ever present by my side to give you the military operational up-date in just a few moments.

I would just like to start off by informing you that Ibrahim Rugova will be at NATO to meet with the Secretary General at 9.00 tomorrow morning.

Today, when the NATO Ambassadors held their meeting, they were very concerned about the humanitarian situation in Kosovo of course. We are concerned also by reports that yesterday 150 Kosovar Albanian refugee men were turned back at the border while trying to cross into Albania, and at other stories of young men being taken off refugee buses en route to the Albanian border.

Today also we have had the disturbing news that a train carrying upwards of 2,000 refugees towards the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia has been turned back as well. Given the very difficult circumstances in Kosovo at the moment, the last thing we want to see is refugees being turned on and off like a tap. It is very important that those who wish to leave, to be secure in the neighbouring countries, to be looked after in refugee camps, should be able to go, and being turned back at the border after many of them have been attempting for days and weeks in difficult circumstances to leave, is obviously a very cruel blow.

At the same time, in Albania the situation for refugees is stable, no major health problems have been reported, although the summer of course is now on its way. AFOR troops are focusing very much on the provision of adequate clean water supplies for the summer period when consumption of course will need to be higher, and again helping the relief organisations to evacuate refugees from the town of Kukes, yesterday 2,500 were evacuated.

Another camp, Camp Hope this time, is now operational near Fier, Albania.. Despite this disturbing incident with the train, yesterday over 1,000 refugees arrived, but we have indications from those refugees that up to 40,000 more may be making their way southwards towards the border and attempting to cross.

Today in Belgrade the UN humanitarian mission, with 9 UN agencies represented, gets under way. As you know, this is being headed up by the Under Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs, Mr Viera De Melo, and his team is due to go to Kosovo next week for two and a half days. NATO is obviously counting on Belgrade to keep its undertaking to Under Secretary General Viera de Melo to allow his team to go wherever they want to in Kosovo, to see whatever they want to and need to, and to be able to establish a balanced, fair and full report.

At the same time, we are very encouraged, and this was made clear by the NATO Ambassadors this morning, by the increasing number of humanitarian convoy missions into Yugoslavia, and of course including Kosovo, 16 alone yesterday, and 13 today, with another 12 planned for tomorrow. But again I stress that it is very important that these humanitarian convoys be allowed to distribute the food and medical supplies to all, all, the peoples of Yugoslavia, particularly those clearly who are the most in need - the Kosovars, the internally displaced Kosovars that remain inside Kosovo - and again I reiterate that NATO will provide every support and help we can to those humanitarian convoys, but it is very important also that they notify us of their route maps, the times of departure and so on, so that we are aware of their activities.

Yesterday I noticed that President Milosevic took time out from his hectic schedule to present some decorations and to award promotions to 15 Serb policemen from the Interior Ministry, the MUP Interior Ministry Forces, from the Prizren district. And the citation that was made said that over the last year these 15 policemen, and the MUP in general, had achieved two significant results: the first was the defeat of the Kosovo Liberation Army which, I quote from the citation, "no longer exists as either a formation or an organisation"; and the second citation was for the valiant efforts made by the MUP in ensuring the protection "of the personal security and the security of the property of the citizens of Kosovo". If those are the two standards by which policemen are decorated and promoted in Yugoslavia today then indeed there should have been a Court Martial ceremony yesterday, not a promotion ceremony.

First of all, when it comes to the Kosovo Liberation Army, I always recall those words of Mark Twain that you are all familiar with - "Reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated." And indeed yesterday we here in the Alliance noticed renewed fighting between MUP forces and elements of the Kosovo Liberation Army, first of all along the Pec/Pristina line of communication, and then elsewhere between Kormorani and Kijevo, where indeed far from defeating the Kosovo Liberation Army, the MUP forces are forced to use mortars and self-propelled anti-aircraft guns against their opponents.

But more importantly, I was disturbed by the claim that the MUP have protected the citizens of Prizren, because indeed it is a sorry state of affairs when the police in a society are not there to protect human rights, but to commit human rights abuses, and Prizren, the city where these 15 policemen are stationed, is one which has probably suffered the most over the last months in the whole of Kosovo. The first report we had of atrocities in Prizren was on 20 March, before the NATO campaign began, when 30 Kosovar Albanians were executed, the ethnic cleansing began in earnest on 2 April when the Kosovar inhabitants were given two hours notice to leave and robbed of their identity documents. The Serb forces surrounded Prizren on 2 May and then stepped up the campaign of forced evacuations. And just a couple of weeks ago we also heard many refugees say that men had been conscripted in Prizren and forced to undertake forced labour, notably digging of military trenches and the construction of revetments along the Prizren/Azure route. And lately we have been disturbed at the fact that shops in Prizren have signs up saying "No bread for Albanians", and that the price of staple foods in that part of Kosovo has gone up by about 500% over the last month. So again I fail to see how the police have done a good job of protecting either the lives or the property of the citizens of that town.

Indeed Kosovo today is the place where innocent citizens run away from the police and do not seek their protection. Indeed we have been tracking over the last few days here two large concentrations of internally displaced persons in the general area of Junic, and since 12 May we have been tracking up to 70,000 internally displaced persons west of Orasevac, trying to head towards the Albanian border. Refugee reports also tell us that 40,000 internally displaced persons are currently blocked by MUP forces from moving out of the region between Orasevac and Glinali. And Serb forces have been periodically now for some months firing mortars into the village of Nekovica which is 10 km south of Glogavac, so indeed the sorry state of affairs continues.

Indeed over the last few days we have also heard of three new stories of Kosovar Albanians being used as human shields. The first one is from the middle of April in the town of Presovo in which 500 young Albanians were pressed into military service, forced to wear the uniform of the Yugoslav Army and told that they would be used as human shields "as soon as a NATO troops offensive began". We have also a report from the town of Sures where over 10,000 people at the end of March were taken away and forced to serve as human shields in the ammunition factory at Sebrica. And the final report that has come to us in recent days comes from Doganovic where on 6 April the Serb police rounded up 4,000 people and forced them to be human shields in a quarry.

And indeed tracking the story of these atrocities over the last few weeks, we now have over 40 separate incidents that have come to our notice which concern either the deliberate destruction of villages, the shelling of large concentrations of internally displaced persons, family separations, particularly men of military age which in Yugoslavia is classified as anything between 18 - 65, and summary executions.

But if the Yugoslav police, despite their decorations at Prizren, will not protect the people of Kosovo then NATO will. I just want to say that every atrocity story represents the equivalent of a megawatt of added energy and determination to NATO's effort to stop this human tragedy going on.

Eli Weisel, the winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1986, once said: "What hurts the victims most is not the cruelty of the oppressor, but the silence of the bystander". Well NATO is not going to be a silent bystander, we are going to be a vocal actor and we are going to ensure, as soon as we can, that all of these suffering people are allowed to go back to their homes.

Thank you and now I will ask General Jertz to give you his daily operational up-date.

Major General Jertz : Thank you very much, Jamie. Good Afternoon Ladies and Gentlemen.

Overall about 350 total missions were flown in the past 24 hours. Despite generally bad weather, we struck ground forces in the morning in south-west Kosovo. These targets included vehicles and artillery. We did hit targets elsewhere in Serbia. Among these targets we once again struck the airfield at Cenica. You may wonder why we continue to hit the airfields. The answer is mainly battle damage repair. The Serb Air Force works very hard to get their bases back into operation each time we shut them down. Our continued strikes keep the Serbs off balance and their bases out of action. This helps our pilots maintain air superiority and, which is of even more importance, prevents the Serbs using aircraft freely to support their ethnic cleansing operations in Kosovo.

On the ground we still see no indications that Serb ground forces, or special police units, or paramilitary forces, are withdrawing from Kosovo. Their operations continue.

A summary of ground activity within Kosovo is shown on this slide. We see some limited action in central Kosovo, but the majority of operations continue in the western and south western sectors. Artillery, mortars and other weapons are being used in these areas.

You should all please keep in mind that as these heavy weapons are used in continuing ground combat, there are large groups of internally displaced people across Kosovo trying to find safe shelter. Most of these people are living in the open or in crude shelters with little or no protection. We don't know exactly where all of these people are, but we know there are concentrations in the area shown on this slide and we believe there is a deliberate strategy on the part of Belgrade to use these IDPs to complicate NATO targeting.

The efforts to help these people continue in many ways. We continue the air operations to force President Milosevic to stop his policies of ethnic cleansing and let these people return to their homes. Additionally, as I have briefed you over the past few days, there are increasing numbers of humanitarian convoys now operating within Yugoslavia. We applaud the admirable efforts and recognise the dedication and bravery of those involved and we also hope that this effort does help the people suffering within Kosovo. We continue to do our very best to ensure the safety of these convoys, but as I have said before, this is a continuous challenge and we need the absolute cooperation of those non-governmental organisations in compliance with set-up procedures.

The other humanitarian aid efforts also did continue with 13 flights each to Albania and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia over the past 24 hours.

Finally, once again I can report, and I am pleased to report, that all NATO aircraft returned safely to their bases. However we did lose one unmanned reconnaissance drone.

Thank you, Ladies and Gentlemen, that concludes my briefing.

Augustin Palokaj: The British Minister of Foreign Affairs, Robin Cook, let us know that invasion is not excluded. Does that still remain our opinion that we will not have an invasion against organised resistance. But he said also that the Serbian troops are less and less able to have organised resistance. What does it mean?

Jamie Shea : As you know, I was here listening to the Secretary of State this morning and I think what he said was crystal clear, which is to say that we will deploy an international security force, it is not an invasion that he was talking about, it was the deployment of an international security force when we judge that the circumstances are right, and he made it clear that President Milosevic has no veto on that decision, which will be taken by the NATO Council and the international community in general given that we obviously want to have the participation of a large number of other countries in this force, but when the time is right.

Certainly he also made clear that for the time being the air campaign has a very important role to play in continuing to degrade and to harass those Serb forces that remain until such time as they leave and that we are certain that they are leaving. So that is what I think he was saying and that is totally in line with NATO policy.

Question : In The Hague last week the NATO governments have argued that the International Court of Justice does not have jurisdiction. I want to know if NATO is afraid of being judged by the International Court of Justice, and also what will happen if NATO is brought before the International Criminal Tribunal, will they also argue that there is no jurisdiction? Is NATO not prepared to recognise the authority of the International Court of Justice?

Jamie Shea : As you know, without NATO countries there would be no International Court of Justice, nor would there be any International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia because NATO countries are in the forefront of those who have established these two tribunals, who fund these tribunals and who support on a daily basis their activities. We are the upholders, not the violators, of international law.

Question : Shouldn't you recognise the jurisdiction then?

Jamie Shea : We obviously recognise the jurisdiction of these tribunals, but I can assure you, when these tribunals look at Yugoslavia I think they will find themselves fully occupied with the far more obvious breaches of international law that have been committed by Belgrade than any hypothetical breaches that may have occurred by the NATO countries, and I expect that to apply to both. So that is our position on that, we recognise international law, in fact we recognise international law so much that when we see a massive violation of it, with thousands of people driven from their homes, thousands of people killed, thousands of young men unaccounted for, others being herded around like cattle within their own country, we don't just shout about it, we do something to stop it because we uphold international law.

Question : Well why don't you recognise the jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice?

Jamie Shea : I said we do recognise the jurisdiction.

Question : No, because you were only arguing that it every NATO country was arguing that there was no jurisdiction and you did not deal with the substantive issue. If you believe that international law is so important, why would you not allow the court to judge on these substantive issues.

Jamie Shea : The charge by Yugoslavia was brought under the genocide convention. That does not apply to NATO countries. As to whom it does apply, I think we know the answer there.

Question : What can you tell us about the status of the Serbian POWs? We hear that they may be released imminently.

Jamie Shea : I have heard the same stories and I believe that something is happening there, but the actual release is something that has to be decided by the US government, these two POWs are in the custody of the US authorities, as you know, and therefore the timing, the circumstances of the release is up to the US government to announce.

Question : Could you just go over the numbers for those human shields again?

Jamie Shea : Surely. First of all at Presovo 500 young Albanians, Sires 10,000, that is in the ammunition factory, and Doganovic 4,000, that was in the quarry. Those are the three latest incidents we have.

Journalist Ansa: Je voudrais revenir sur l'information des bombes non utilises qui ont t largues en Adriatique et cette information a cre beaucoup d'motion en Italie. Le gouvernement a indiqu ne pas avoir t inform spcifiquement des cas de larguage alors est-ce que vous pouvez nous indiquer aujourd'hui si le gouvernement italien a bien t informe et d'autre part est-ce que vous pouvez nous indiquer dans combien de cas ces bombes ont t largues et combien de bombes se trouvent dans l'Adriatique?

Jamie Shea : First let me say in reply to that that as you know there are a number of predefined so-called ejection areas in the Adriatic, as General Jertz informed you yesterday. And yesterday what we said to you was that the sort of information on these various droppings of munitions have been given certainly, as you would expect, to the flight crews that operate in the area of the Balkans over Yugoslavia, to the control agencies, to the air space controllers, to the airborne, ground and other military agencies who need to know. Now based on the information that I have today, I understand that this information was not given to the Italian government. Subsequently, this information is being given to the Italian authorities and the military commanders are making every effort to conduct a full investigation every time there is an instance where these munitions have to be, and I repeat, for safety reasons only, for safety reasons only, jettisoned into these zones, and since of course the incident with the three fishermen who were wounded, obviously all of the information is being passed on to the Italian authorities, as you would expect. So we are investigating every incident, informing the Italian government of every incident and making sure that all of the details are passed on. So this situation is now working I believe to the satisfaction of both sides and we will continue to make every effort to make sure that the Italian government has a full picture of what is happening.

CNN : General, a military judgment if you would. Given where this crisis is at now, and given all that would have to be done to return all of the refugees to their homes, can that be done before winter sets in?

Major General Jertz : Well you know the air campaign is going along in a strategic way, a tactical way, and we do our best to end this conflict as soon as possible. And we as the military, yes I do hope that we can make sure that those people will be home by winter time, and we do our best.

CNN : I am not talking about home, I am talking about a practical assessment. Can it happen, because we have had conflicting information from people within NATO, as to whether it can or cannot be done, return all of them and have them living there in some sort of reasonable dwellings to protect them during winter, can that be done before winter sets in?

Major General Jertz : Of course you know we would go into speculations, I would go into speculations and would say again the numbers of days or maybe weeks in which we have to go on with the campaign. The way it looks like, and I will up-date the numbers on Wednesday on the attrition on the Serb forces on the ground, and by using those numbers you might be judging on how much longer this campaign will have to go. But on the other side, even though I am not a politician, I do hope that all the political efforts which are being brought to your attention by Jamie, should also be finalising this conflict.

Jamie Shea : John, as you know, the refugees have a very high motivation to go home, in fact we are having sometimes trouble moving them from some of the refugee camps even for their own safety on the borders because they simply don't want to put any further kilometres than necessary between themselves and Kosovo so there is a high degree of motivation. We saw in the past in October, when many of them were internally displaced, they went back very quickly as soon as we had for a while a cease-fire and started to rebuild. Obviously they are going to need help from the international community particularly in terms of winterisation for their homes so that they can get through the winter but as I say, they are motivated and they live in a society with an enormous tradition of mutual help and assistance and so yes, I would expect that once the circumstances are right you'll see them returning very quickly indeed. The fact that most of them want to stay in the area rather than be evacuated to other countries shows just how keen they are to get home.

They will go back as soon as the air campaign has produced the results and the international security presence is there but they won't go home before the international security presence is there, that is clear, so the international community will have to ensure that we deploy those troops very quickly indeed to create that environment of safety but once that is there I expect they will start going back in their thousands particularly as they are very much in the region and therefore that transport could take place quickly.

Antonio Esteves Martins, Rtp: A follow-up. Is it possible to consider that the refugees would go back with a security force even when the bombing of Serbia and the north would be going on and can you give us an update of what is going on with the G8, is it possible to have in the next few days the document ready to go to the Security Council? Jamie Shea : My understanding is that once we have succeeded in obliging the Serb forces to leave Kosovo, the NATO air campaign will stop, that was made clear by Heads of State and Government at the Washington summit. We don't have any secret agenda, we don't have any hidden aims. Our aims are transparent and clear and we are not going to change them as you know so we will not obviously be continuing this operation once the Serb forces have left Kosovo.

Antonio Esteves Martins, Rtp: Sorry, Jamie, there is a point here that is rather important. If Milosevic does not comply with the five conditions but still can clear the Serb military forces from the Kosovo area, is it possible that the refugees can go back with some forces that are more or less ready at the time?

Jamie Shea : Antonio, the five conditions are all part of a package, they have all to be accepted. It is not a question of pick and choose, you know: "I'll take number 1, 3 and 5 but not 2 and 4!" No, all five have got to be accepted but as I have always pointed out, there is an intrinsic link between them. For example, the first is to stop the violence, the second is an international security force, the third is the return of the refugees. If the Serb forces leave, those other three conditions are automatically met because withdrawal of the Serb forces means the international security force can be deployed, that means that the refugees can go back and obviously it means the violence has stopped and then Milosevic of course will have to accept also to negotiate a political solution but the withdrawal of the Serb forces is the key that unlocks the door to the others and that is why we insist on it so much.

As for the G8, yes, I think are going along in this. As you know, Foreign Minister Ivanov of Russia is with the EU this afternoon, I am expecting they will make progress in talking about the shape of a UN Security Council resolution, work on that is ongoing in New York and has been for some time already, various ideas are circulating but obviously it is going to be much easier to draft in detail if we have an understanding between the NATO countries and Russia as to the way in which the core principles are going to be implemented and there obviously some work still has to go on but as you know, there will be a series of diplomatic meetings this week.

This is really the week of diplomacy, tomorrow with Mr. Chirnomyrdin, President Ahtisaari, the Strobe Talbott meeting; today, Chancellor Schrder has met President Ahtisaari already in Finland so I believe that this week we are probably going to get somewhere down the road on this.

Douglas Hamilton, Reuters: One question for both, please, if I may. The British Foreign Secretary suggested that NATO forces could go into Kosovo when the Yugoslav forces were no longer capable of putting up organised resistance and he also said that there was at least one instance of Yugoslav VJ forces - Army forces - trying to leave the front line and being put back in the line by MUP Special Interior Ministry Police. Is that solid information, is that sort of thing happening or is it wishful thinking on NATO's part?

Jamie Shea : Doug, General Jertz may have a comment on this so let me just tell you my perspective. The first thing to say is that the timing of the deployment of an international security force is in the hands of the North Atlantic Council, they will decide when the time is right, they will know it when they see it obviously but clearly the Serb forces have to be on their way out of Kosovo in a total and irreversible movement.

The second thing is yes, I have said frequently over the last few days that the VJ is involved less and less in the military activities going on on the ground because of declining morale, because of problems with the call-up of reservists - very few of them are obeying their call-up papers - and because they have suffered very gravely at the hands of NATO and are continuing to do so they are dispersing, trying to take shelter and as they do that they are less and less able to function as a cohesive force, they are reactive now more than active.

At the same time, a lot of the burden of dealing with the UCK - the Kosovo Liberation Army - has fallen on the shoulders of the Interior Ministry Special Police but there is a reason for that: they have been a sort of journiste buree (phon) of the Yugoslav security forces in recent years, their salaries have gone up whereas those of the Army have gone down because they of course are not that betters actors in repression but they of course are the basis of the regime, the internal security structure that keeps Milosevic where Milosevic likes to be, on top and in charge and so there has been that pattern, yes.

Major General Jertz : I wanted to add that what we have seen in the last weeks since the conflict is ongoing is always the same pattern: the heavy artillery, the heavy forces, the VJ forces, the Serb forces surround villages, they start shelling with artillery on the villages, then the Special Police just go in to get .. with the houses and then the paramilitaries finally end the work. Unfortunately, when I say that it sounds like I am enjoying it but no, they are doing the cruelties and the brutalities at the end.

Douglas Hamilton: Excuse me, that is not the same as saying that the MUP is putting the VJ soldiers back in the line at gunpoint which is what ..

Major General Jertz : MUP wants to be protected by the VJ forces and that is why of course our first targets are the VJ forces because they are the ones who have the artillery and the heavy pieces and that is why they are our main and most important interest.

Jamie Shea : Doug, the MUP is the kind of Praetorian Guard of Milosevic's government. As I said, they are the ones who get the training, the money, the budgets and before the current sweep operation Horseshoe began back in the beginning of March, we had signs that the VJ was transferring much of their heavy artillery, their equipment and armoured vehicles to the MUP to ready them. These people are not only better treated but they are more ideologically motivated so it wouldn't surprise me at all if they were trying to keep the less-motivated VJ units focused on the job but I think they are going to find that increasingly difficult to do.

Steve Pearlstein (Washington Post): I wonder if I could go back to some old business, the bombing at Korisa. You asked us, Jamie, on a previous briefing, to have our colleagues go and look around, talk to the people who were there and look for signs of the military installation. My colleague there was able to confirm, as a number of Western journalists did, that the Yugoslav authorities did in fact direct the refugees to camp out for the night in the area in question. What my colleague was unable to do and reading the clips I don't find any other reporter able to do, is to confirm visually or from the testimony of the people there that there were military installations, they didn't see artillery, they did not see military moving around that night. Can you help square that circle for us? Had they left a day before, are we not looking for the right things, how can you explain that?

Jamie Shea : Steve, I have two comments to make there. The first thing is, as you know, these journalists who were taken there deliberately by Belgrade arrived on the scene several hours - in fact the best part of a day - later after the incident took place. That would have given naturally the Jugoslav government plenty of time to present things its way.

Secondly, you have also seen the witness accounts of a large number of Kosovar Albanians, refugees - one was featured on Deutsche Welle over the weekend, others have been featured strongly in the Kosovar press - all saying that that was a military command post, a military encampment and in fact claiming that Kosovar Albanians were taken there specifically so I stand by the affirmation of this Alliance that it was a valid and validated military target.

Question : Robin Cook ce matin nous a annonc que l'quivalent, disons, d'une brigade motorise yougoslave avait t detruit au Kosovo. Est-ce que l'OTAN, estimant que l'arme yougoslave au Kosovo ne reprsente plus une veritable menace, peut ventuellement envoyer alors une force OTAN ou une force internationale avec un noyau dur OTAN au Kosovo, escorter les refugis pour qu'ils rentrent chez eux et ceci mme si Slobodan Milosevic n'a pas accept ou mme pas accept totalement les cinq conditions poses par l'OTAN.

Major General Jertz : I think we just have to stick to the information we always gave to you that the only way we can really protect refugees going back to their homes is that we need to have heavy forces to accompany them and we are only going in as an international peace force once the heavy pieces, the artillery and all the other five points which have already been mentioned several times have been met.

Jake Lynch (Sky Tv): On something you said a little earlier, when Mr. Cook was here he said that what was ruled out by NATO still was a major invasion against organised armed resistance but there must be a question over how long the Yugoslavian forces remain capable of offering such resistance. A moment or two ago, you said that the criterion applied by the NAC as to whether to send in ground troops would be that the Yugoslavian forces have to be recognisably withdrawing from Kosovo. The inference I drew from Mr. Cook's remarks was that they wouldn't have to be withdrawing, they might be still there but pinned down and cut off to a sufficient extent that they were basically helpless but would they actually have to start withdrawing in order for the judgement to be made that they were now no longer capable of offering such resistance?

Jamie Shea : Jake, like you, I listened to what Robin Cook said and I think he was totally clear on this. We believe that the air campaign still has work to do - and it is doing that work - to degrade those forces. Yes, we have achieved successes against those forces, yes, we are starting to put the pressure on but at the same time we would like to see those Yugoslav forces in an even worse state than they are today and when they are in that even worse state - and that will come - they will have no option but to withdraw, that will be the only option left open to them, the only gear on their tank that will be used will be the reverse gear out of Kosovo. And then the North Atlantic Council, as Robin Cook made clear, at that moment will decide on the appropriate timing and conditions for the deployment of an international security force but I did not believe that Robin Cook suggested at all that the time for that is now, no, the air campaign has to go on until we are further down the road as we will be shortly.

Question : Are the reports true that North Korea has sent a mission to Yugoslavia to study Yugoslav strategy and tactics against NATO forces?

Major General Jertz : I have no evidence on that, I have not seen the report.

Jamie Shea : Me neither.

Julie, National Public Radio: This morning, the British Foreign Secretary stressed that the resolve is greater than ever, the unity with the Alliance is unshaken, you yourself have represented on many occasions that the NAC is solid and unfractured in any way but if we stipulate that there is unity in expelling tyranny isn't it accurate to say that there are differences emerging on how to stop that tyranny? You have Italy floating the idea of perhaps a pause after the UN crafts a resolution; you have fractures beginning to develop in the Italian government, Germany has to look at this and now we look at Denmark and doesn't all the diplomacy that is going on now risk chipping away at some of those five points as negotiators and diplomats look for manoeuvre room?

Jamie Shea : No, I don't read that like that. I have always said about Belgrade that actions speak louder than words and we apply the same yardstick to ourselves, actions speak louder than words. There are lots of words but what are the actions? The actions are that every night, every day this operation continues and it wouldn't be continuing if it weren't based on the continuing solidarity of the Allies so that is a fact.

Secondly, the five conditions remain the five conditions, nobody has said that we should change them, everybody reaffirms them as the only realistic basis for solving this crisis but at the same time NATO countries want a diplomatic solution.

What you are seeing is not backing away from the five conditions, you are seeing some proposals - welcome proposals - as to how we are going to put those five conditions into effect when the time is right but that time has not yet come. Everybody agrees that that time does not come before Milosevic has withdrawn his forces and agreed to accept the conditions, that time comes after he has done that so that is what the diplomacy is all about.

But let me not give you the impression that there is, if you like, the conflict in NATO and there is the diplomacy somewhere else in a different organisation or in a different grouping of nations. No, the diplomacy is here. We are not only interested in winning this conflict in a military sense, we are interested in preparing for the diplomatic solution that has to follow and it is the same countries that are on the one hand sending their planes into the skies every night that by day are sending their diplomats around to speak to each other to prepare a package - a road map as I have called it - as to how those five conditions are going to be concretely implemented.

I can assure you that if we are rock solid after six or seven weeks, then we can be rock solid for another seven weeks or another seven weeks. As I said earlier, every atrocity story represents a megawatt of increased determination to see this through. What Milosevic is capable of is now so visible, so obvious even to anybody who didn't realise it before, that we realise that it is not in our interest to hand him any kind of victory in Kosovo, we would simply be storing up a lot of trouble for ourselves for a long time to come, everybody knows that and therefore there is this determination to see it through.

As I have said, Julie, I don't expect all of our public opinion to be terribly enthusiastic about that because conflicts are always difficult, there is never a miracle solution, they are always won on the basis of patience and perseverance but I can assure you that when this over and we have justice done, I think a lot of people, people who perhaps are even criticising NATO today, will turn round and say: "My God, we're really glad that NATO did that because no matter how tough it was, the alternative of simply being passive bystanders in all of this would be far worse!"

Greg : General, can you confirm these reports we are seeing both from Washington and London that the number of air strike sorties is going to step up to as many as 700 per day by the end of the week, that would be a substantial increase, can you confirm that number?

Jamie, two things from that. Number one, is it a fear of NATO that you might end up losing the propaganda war if you step it up that much? We are getting reports from a lot of Western journalists that now the Kosovar Albanians are fleeing not just because of the Serbs but because they are getting a little bit nervous about this bombing as well.

Secondly, Jamie, can you comment about these divisions that still seem to be around right now about how much force is used, the debate over the Apache helicopters, the debate over a possible ground offensive?

Major General Jertz : An air campaign is a dynamic process and of course that is one of the reasons why we do adjust the numbers according to the targets we have, according to the plans we have and according to what we want to achieve. We have seen already up to a total of 700 sorties. Yes, there are more forces coming in, you know that, we already announced that and of course, depending on how long this campaign will have to go on, the number of sorties will be increased but I cannot be specific on the numbers at the present time.

Jamie Shea : Greg, on the first point, I am not interested in waging a propaganda war against Belgrade, I don't think we could ever do as good as they could in the propaganda stakes quite frankly and we are not going to even engage in that particular battle. If President Milosevic was as good at economics as he is at propaganda, Yugoslavia would be the Balkan tiger today, particularly, as I said, given where it was in 1989. No, we will fight with the humble instruments that we have at our disposal which is to tell the facts as we know them as honestly and as accurately as we can so I am quite happy to vacate the propaganda field to Belgrade. If a government is only really good at propaganda then were have things got to?

I haven't yet heard any refugee say that he or she left his or her home because of NATO bombing generally or if any have said that then I think that they would be somewhat overwhelmed by the 99.9 per cent who say that they left because they were forced out either at direct gunpoint by the Serb security forces or simply because the conditions in terms of supplies and food access had become so appalling or because the fear in which they lived had become so overwhelming that they had no choice but to make a run for it to the border and of course, this is difficult. Would you like to leave your home, just abandon it, never knowing if you will come back? You have got to remember that a lot of these people, despite the fear, stay in their homes until the last minute because that is the only thing they possess and they never know if they will go back to it or what condition it will be in. They are very reluctant to go but at the end of the day the conditions are so bad that they nonetheless are forced to do so.

And your last point, about the Apaches?

Greg : Not just about the Apaches but also about the ground offensive. There really does seem to be seem kind of internal discussion going on on a couple of different fronts in terms of the amount of force.

Jamie Shea : But that is about the international security force. This not about a ground invasion versus a peace-keeping force, it is not that. We have been through that debate some time ago and we came down clearly on the side of an international security force once the violence has ended and that is where are.

What the debate is about of course is what should be the timing of the deployment of that force, what Robin Cook was addressing today; secondly, what should be the specific tasks of that force given that we are going to face a worse situation in Kosovo than we anticipated when we were still thinking of a Rambouillet agreement with the consent of both sides; and thirdly, what should be size of that international security force given the deteriorated environment in Kosovo and the additional tasks, at least on a temporary basis, that such a force would have to fulfil, so that is what it is all about, it is not about resurrecting a ground invasion.

Question : Pour suivre sur la force internationale, o en est l'OTAN dans sa revision pour les troupes au sol et de quelle taille pourrait tre cette force, on parlait de 26 a 28,000 hommes, on pourrait parler maintenant de 50,000 hommes, o en est la rvision et combien d'hommes cela pourrait-il reprsenter?

Jamie Shea : La revision est simple. Le SACEUR a fourni ces premires indications qui vont tre soumis au comit militaire dans le courant de la journe aprs consider par le comite militaire et puis transfr au Conseil Atlantique. Donc le Conseil va se saisir de ce dossier dans les jours qui viennent. 28000 tait effectivement le chiffre qui tait retenu au dpart mais pour l'instant il est beaucoup, beaucoup trop tt, et pour spculer et pour confirmer un nouveau chiffre parce qu' avant de dterminer le chiffre il faut d'abord dfiner les tches . Ce sont les tches biensr qui dterminent le nombre.

Question : Il faudra beaucoup plus que prvu.

Jamie Shea : Ca attendons voir. Mais de toute faon il faudra une force qui soit suffissamment grande pour mener bien son travail de scuriser le Kosovo, mais pour l'instant des chiffres comme 50,000 et d'autres que j'ai vu, viennent de la spculation parce qu'il n'y a pas encore de dcision du conseil cet gard

Question : On parle toujours de KFOR?

Jamie Shea : Oui, ou moins c'tait la dsignation originale de l'OTAN, mais nous sommes flexibles sur le nom. Comme Shakespeare a dit: "what's in a name, a rose by any other name would be as sweet". Ce qui compte c'est le parfum de la rose et pas le nom. Et le parfum de la rose doit consister en une force robuste avec des rgles d'engagement ferme, chane de commandement ferme noyau OTAN. Pour autant que nous ayons l'accord sur la substance nous pourrons tre trs flexibles sur le nom et mme je vous invite faire vos suggestions. Merci beaucoup.

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