Updated: 09-Feb-2001 NATO Press Releases

(2001) 017

9 February 2001

Statement by the Secretary General
on the Covic Peace Plan

NATO Secretary General Lord Robertson today welcomed the initiative to seek a peaceful resolution to the conflicts in southern Serbia, which was launched by Dr. Nebojsa Covic, Serbian Deputy Prime Minister and President of the Serbia/Federal Republic of Yugoslavia coordinating body responsible for addressing the situation in southern Serbia:

"The Covic plan is an important signal of the Belgrade authorities' desire for a balanced and peaceful settlement of the problems in southern Serbia. We will have to study the details very carefully - especially those that affect KFOR. But I welcome the initiative and the desire that it represents of developing southern Serbia into a prosperous multi-ethnic community, based on principles of democracy and human rights."

Robertson encouraged the Belgrade authorities to make good on their intentions to find an early political solution to the problems in southern Seriba through cooperation with the local ethnic Albanian community.

He added, "I condemn all violence in southern Serbia and the Ground Safety Zone. I urge ethnic Albanian groups to abandon extremist activities and to respond to the Covic proposals in order to find a peaceful solution to the problems in the region through political dialogue."

"In view of the tense situation, it remains essential that the Army of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and the Serbian security forces continue to show restraint. No one should assume that by welcoming the launching of this plan, NATO would condone any violence by any of the parties in southern Serbia."

"KFOR will closely monitor all possible implications of the new developments for the Ground Safety Zone and the security situation in Kosovo. All parties should help to ensure that freedom of movement through southern Serbia is not hindered."

NATO will continue to contribute to stability in the region, and will maintain the dialogue with the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia initiated by Minister of Foreign Affairs Svilanovic during his visit to Brussels in January. The Secretary General will also keep in close contact with the European Union, OSCE, and United Nations as the situation evolves.

+32 (0)2 707 50 41
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B-1110 Brussels/Bruxelles

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