Updated: 29-Mar-2001 NATO Press Releases


29 March 2001

Statement by NATO Secretary General
on the Mortar Explosions in Kosovo

I would like to express my sincere condolences to the families and friends of the civilians killed and injured in connection with the mortar explosions near Krivenik, inside Kosovo, earlier today. NATO is deeply concerned about this incident, and I have asked KFOR to provide any additional information it may be able to obtain.

Immediately after the incident took place, the senior NATO liaison officer in Skopje, Ambassador Hans-Joerg Eiff, was in contact with the authorities of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (1), and I spoke by telephone with President Trajkovski late this afternoon. President Trajkovski made clear to me that his government has launched an investigation to determine what occurred, and we agreed to set up a joint commission. We look forward to seeing concrete results from these investigations at the earliest possible time.

This incident is a regrettable reminder that the real victims of the recent violence in the southern Balkans are civilians. There is no place in a democratic society for the armed extremists who seek to impose their political views by force. It is important that all the parliamentary parties in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (1)-- regardless of ethnicity - intensify their dialogue to address the legitimate concerns of the ethnic Albanian community through democratic processes. I call, once again, on all armed extremists to lay down their arms.

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