30 April 1998

Council Statement on the Situation in Kosovo

The North Atlantic Council is profoundly concerned by the further deterioration of the situation in Kosovo with the risk of escalating conflict in the region. The Council condemns the increase in violence in recent days in Kosovo, in particular the excessive use of force by the Yugoslav Army, and the proliferation of arms in the territory. The Council is firmly opposed to independence for Kosovo and to a continuation of the unacceptable status quo. It rejects all use of violence, either by state security forces to suppress political dissent or by terrorist groups to seek political change.

The Council calls on political leaders in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY) and the neighbouring countries to exercise maximum restraint, fully respect human rights, prevent the introduction of arms and of armed groups from outside, and condemn terrorism. It calls on the countries of the region to confirm their respect for territorial integrity and for the inviolability of internationally recognized borders. The Council expects the FRY to respect the inviolability of borders of neighbouring countries, and calls on neighbouring states not to allow their territory to be used for organizing violence and notes the responsibility of neighbouring states to exercise control over their own borders with the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.

The Council calls upon the authorities in Belgrade and the leadership of the Kosovar-Albanian community to take all possible steps to prevent further outbreaks of violence and to begin urgently and without preconditions the process of dialogue necessary to resolve the differences between them on the basis of United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1160.

The Council supports all efforts of the international community to facilitate this process, including those of the Contact Group and the OSCE, and calls for the immediate dispatch of the Gonzalez mission. The Council considers it of utmost importance that security and stability of the neighbouring countries not be jeopardized. The Secretary General's visit to Albania on 12 March and to the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (1)on 30 April signal the importance NATO attaches to stability in the region and to the security of its Partners. Within the framework of the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council and Partnership for Peace, NATO is working with its Partners to make the best use of available tools to promote such stability and security and is considering possible further measures.

The Council will continue to closely monitor the situation with regard to Kosovo.

  1. Turkey recognises the Republic of Macedonia with its constitutional name

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