11 June 1998

Statement to the Press

by NATO Secretary General, Dr. Javier Solana

Pictures from the Press Conference
Good evening, ladies and gentlemen,

We have met today in the North Atlantic Council with all 16 Defence Ministers. In addition, we also met this morning in the Defence Planning Committee and the Nuclear Planning Group. The Defence Ministers of the 3 invited countries participated in most of today's sessions.

Our discussions focussed on four topics in particular:

  • the crisis in Kosovo
  • the situation in Bosnia
  • NATO's internal and external adaptation.
  • the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction

Let me say a few words on each.

First Kosovo. We condemn the continuing violence in Kosovo which threatens to undermine the negotiations and encourages extremism. We call upon all sides - I repeat all sides - to refrain from violence and acts of provocation.

Just a few days ago in Luxembourg our Foreign Ministers took a number of far-reaching decisions. Military planning, including for possible preventive deployments, is now underway. The situation on the ground has continued to deteriorate, however. President Milosevic has gone beyond the limits of tolerable behaviour. So NATO must prepare to go further if required. Today we have shown that we are ready to back up international diplomacy with our military means.

  • We are using our Partnership for Peace to provide assistance to Albania and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia;

  • we will be holding exercises in the region, including immediately an air exercise which will demonstrate NATO's capability to rapidly project power into the region.

  • We are also activating our Euro- Atlantic Disaster Response Coordination Centre to help the UNHCR to cope with the flow of refugees. NATO has already established an air bridge to transport supplies into Tirana;

  • Today we have instructed NATO's Military Authorities to see how we can use NATO's full range of military capabilities to achieve three key objectives:

  • to halt the systemic campaign of violent repression and expulsions that we have seen recently in Kosovo;

  • to support international efforts to secure a cessation of violence and the disengagement of armed forces; and

  • to help to create the conditions for serious negotiations that can achieve a lasting political settlement.

  • In order to secure these objectives we will study and prepare for a wide range of military options including the possible use of NATO air power and the deployment of NATO ground forces into Kosovo.

Our decisions today underscore that no option at this stage is excluded. NATO will play its role to help stabilize the region. Any further action by NATO will be based on clear political guidance, sound military planning and a relevant legal basis.

I expect the military advice to be available to us very shortly.

The Council will continue to monitor the situation in Kosovo very closely indeed.

Second, we discussed the current status of peace implementation in Bosnia. Ministers today authorized the sending of the Activation Order or ACTORD for the continuation of SFOR's mission. We expect a UNSC mandate soon. We will review SFOR force levels after the September elections.

Third, we reviewed the progress we have made in recent months on NATO's internal and external adaptation.

The Defence Planning Committee approved Target Force Goals for all three invited countries which will help them to meet the main interoperability requirements.

Tomorrow we will hold another meeting of the EAPC with Partner Defence Ministers to review progress in our defence cooperation with our Partners.

Tomorrow we will also hold a NATO/Russia PJC with Minister Sergeyev and a NATO/Ukraine Commission with Deputy Minister Colonel General Bijan to discuss how to strengthen our defence relations.

We also discussed proliferation following the nuclear tests by India and Pakistan. We are seeking continued improvements in NATO's defence posture against NBC weapons. Proliferation is now fully reflected in NATO force planning.

The Defence Planning Committee approved the 1998 NATO Force Goals which establish requirements so that the Alliance can carry out both its collective defence mission and the new peace support and crisis management tasks.

In the Nuclear Planning Group, Allies discussed, among other things, our cooperation with Russia on nuclear matters.

So all in all our meeting today had a very full and intensive agenda.

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