Statement by the North Atlantic Council on Kosovo
- NATO reaffirms the demands set out in its statement of 28th January 1999. It stands ready to act and rules out no option to ensure full respect by both sides in Kosovo for the requirements of the international community, and observance of all relevant Security Council Resolutions, in particular the provisions of Resolutions 1160, 1199 and 1203.
- NATO gives full support to the Contact Group strategy of negotiations on an interim political settlement which are to be completed within the specified timeframe. It welcomes the Presidential Statement of the United Nations Security Council of 29th January 1999.
- NATO recalls that those responsible for the massacre at Racak must be brought to justice and that the FRY authorities must cooperate fully with ICTY. They must also cooperate fully with the OSCE Kosovo Verification Mission and ensure the security of its personnel.
- The crisis in Kosovo remains a threat to peace and security in the region. NATO's strategy is to halt the violence and support the completion of negotiations on an interim political settlement for Kosovo, thus averting a humanitarian catastrophe. Steps to this end must include acceptance by both parties of the summons to begin negotiations at Rambouillet by 6 February 1999 and the completion of the negotiations on an interim political settlement within the specified timeframe; full and immediate observance by both parties of the cease-fire and by the FRY authorities of their commitments to NATO, including by bringing VJ and Police/Special Police force levels, force posture and activities into strict compliance with the NATO/FRY agreement of 25 October 1998; and the ending of excessive and disproportionate use of force in accordance with these commitments.
- If these steps are not taken, NATO is ready to take whatever measures are necessary in the light of both parties' compliance with international commitments and requirements, including in particular assessment by the Contact Group of the response to its demands, to avert a humanitarian catastrophe, by compelling compliance with the demands of the international community and the achievement of a political settlement. The Council has therefore agreed today that the NATO Secretary General may authorise air strikes against targets on FRY territory. The NATO Secretary General will take full account of the position and actions of the Kosovar leadership and all Kosovar armed elements in and around Kosovo in reaching his decision on military action. NATO will take all appropriate measures in case of a failure by the Kosovar Albanian side to comply with the demands of the international community.
- NATO is also studying how to support measures to curb arms smuggling into Kosovo.
- NATO's decisions today contribute to creating the conditions for a rapid and successful negotiation on an interim political settlement which provides for an enhanced status for Kosovo, preserves the territorial integrity of the FRY and protects the rights of all ethnic groups. NATO is resolved to persevere until the violence in Kosovo has ended, and a political solution has been reached.