by the Secretary General of NATO
The Rt. Hon. Lord Robertson of Port Ellen
the Airlie House Declaration by
Prominent Kosovar Albanians and Serbs
I welcome the Airlie Declaration as an important step towards reconciliation
between all of Kosovo's ethnic groups, which is the only way the province
will be able to recover from the scars of war and build a stable future.
The joint condemnation of violence and the commitment that Serbs and
Albanians will campaign together against ethnic violence and hatred is
especially important. As I have repeatedly stated on my visits to the
province, the political leaders of Kosovo must show true leadership by
speaking out publicly against ethnic hatred and urging the creation of
a democratic, tolerant society. I look forward to seeing the declaration
put into practice.
The declaration states that the two communities are only at the start
of a long journey, and that the wounds of the recent past are too deep
to do more than begin the process of vitally needed reconciliation. But
that process must begin. By recognising the need to go forward by working
together, the signatories of this declaration are setting a vital example
for others to follow.
This commitment to reconciliation and to building a better future stands
in stark contrast to President Milosevic's continuing efforts to promote
and exploit ethnic division. NATO will stand firm in Kosovo in support
of peace and reconciliation. We will not allow Milosevic or any of the
ethnic groups within Kosovo to plunge the region back into the horrific
violence it suffered a year and a half ago.
NATO is watching not only in Kosovo, but in Montenegro as well. The Djukanovic
government is committed to democratic practice, ethnic tolerance, and
co-operation with Montenegro's neighbours and the international community.
On the contrary, Milosevic's past adventures have only brought disaster
and decline to Serbia. NATO has already shown its determination and strength
of will, and that is something President Milosevic should always keep