Updated: 16-Feb-2001 NATO Press Releases


16 February 2001

Statement by the Secretary General

Today in Kosovo, near the town of Podujevo, a bus carrying Serb civilians was attacked, leaving at least seven people dead and dozens more injured. I wish to express my personal sorrow and extend my sympathies to the families of the dead and wounded.

I also want to express my shock and outrage at this disgraceful and cowardly incident. Although the full details are still coming in, it is evident this was a deliberate attack on innocent civilians. NATO did not conduct its air campaign in order to see ethnic cleansing by one group replaced by the ethnic attacks and intimidation of another. KFOR remains in Kosovo to protect all its citizens. We will not tolerate ethnic violence and will not rest until the perpetrators of this appalling crime have been apprehended.

Those who believe that past grievances can justify such actions are wrong, and I expect community leaders within Kosovo to join me in condemning this act. The international community has put in immense resources to help Kosovo. But the support of the international community must not be taken for granted. It is up to the leaders of Kosovo themselves to join with the international community to build a multi-ethnic society that protects the rights of all its citizens.

KFOR is committed to doing everything it can to ensure the security of all ethnic groups within Kosovo. Following today's attack, KFOR is undertaking a review of its procedures for convoy security and will take further additional measures as appropriate.

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