Updated: 12-Mar-2001 NATO Press Releases


12 March 2001

by the Secretary General

I welcome the decisions of the Yugoslav government and representatives of the ethnic Albanian community in southern Serbia to agree to enact a cease-fire, which will take effect immediately. This cease-fire is the first step in a broader process leading to political and inter-ethnic reconciliation in that region.

In this regard, I therefore place particular emphasis on the commitment of the signatories to the cease-fire to enter into direct dialogue within one week. I urge all parties to respect this cease-fire, to renounce violence and to give their complete support to efforts intended to find a peaceful, long-term solution to the disputes that have separated them from one another.

I also call upon the various ethnic communities within Kosovo to provide their full support to these efforts to find a peaceful solution to the problems in southern Serbia. As part of these efforts, NATO determined at its Foreign Ministers' meeting on 27 February that it is prepared to implement a phased and conditioned reduction of the Ground Safety Zone.

The first step in implementing this decision will be implemented very soon - allowing the entry of Yugoslav army and police units into a narrow strip of the Zone parallel to the border with the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (1). I urge all parties, within southern Serbia, Kosovo and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (1) to remain calm and to lend their understanding and support to these efforts.

Whether in southern Serbia, Kosovo, or the northern part of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (1), NATO will continue firmly and fairly to do all it can, consistent with UN Security Council Resolution 1244, to bring lasting peace, security, stability and prosperity to the Balkans region.

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