5 Mar. 1998

Council statement on the situation in Kosovo

The North Atlantic Council is profoundly concerned by the violent incidents which took place in Kosovo the last few days, and in particular the Serbian police's brutal suppression of a peaceful demonstration in Pristina on 2nd March 1998. It condemns unreservedly the violent repression of non-violent expression of political views as well as terrorist acts to achieve political goals.

The North Atlantic Council calls on all sides to take immediate steps to reduce the tensions. The Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY) in particular has the obligation to undertake early initiatives to avoid a deterioration of the situation. A rapid and full implementation of the Education Agreement would represent an important step forward.

The North Atlantic Council calls on the authorities in Belgrade and leaders of the Kosovar Albanian community to enter without preconditions into a serious dialogue in order to develop a mutually acceptable political solution for Kosovo within the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY) on the basis of the principles outlined by the international community, and most recently the Contact Group on 8th January and 25th February 1998. The North Atlantic Council welcomes international efforts to facilitate this process, including by the OSCE.

NATO and the international community have a legitimate interest in developments in Kosovo, inter alia because of their impact on the stability of the whole region which is of concern to the Alliance.

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