19 Feb. 1999


by the NATO Secretary General Dr. Javier Solana on behalf of the North Atlantic Council

The Alliance today recalls the demands set out in its statement of 30 January 1999, including the necessity of compliance by all parties involved with the appropriate UN Security Council Resolutions.

It expresses its full support to the efforts of the Contact Group to secure an interim political settlement for Kosovo at Rambouillet which provides for a substantially greater degree of autonomy for Kosovo, reaffirms the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the FRY, protects the rights of all national communities, and contains effective measures for its implementation including an international military presence.

The deadline set by the Contact Group for the parties to come to an agreement is approaching fast, underlining the urgency of finding a peaceful solution. They must therefore accept their responsibilities and show the maximum flexibility and political will to bring the negotiations to a successful conclusion.

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.

A viable political settlement must be guaranteed by an international military presence. Accordingly, the Alliance is prepared, following acceptance by the parties, to lead a multinational peacekeeping force with broad participation, to implement and enforce the military aspects of an interim agreement, which include specific commitments by both parties, and to contribute to an environment which supports the OSCE and other organisations in the implementation of the civil aspects.

As clearly spelled out in the statement by the North Atlantic Council of 30 January and if no agreement is reached by the deadline set by the Contact Group, 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. These include the use of air strikes as well as other appropriate measures.

NATO has taken appropriate steps to prepare its forces to ensure that they are ready in the event that military action is necessary.

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