Updated: 11-Jan-2002 Week of 27 January - 2 February 1999

28 Jan. 1999
Solana's "Northern tour" continues
As part of his visiting tour to all NATO-member countries and the three Invitee countries - the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland - before April, NATO Secretary General, Dr Javier Solana went to the Netherlands and Germany on 28 January and 1 February respectively. Issues on the Washington Summit agenda were raised, but the crisis in Kosovo dominated the discussions.
28 Jan. 1999
Kofi Annan at NATO

The growing cooperation between the United Nations (UN) and NATO was further reinforced on 28 January, with the visit of the UN Secretary General, Kofi Annan, to NATO. This was the first time a UN Secretary General had ever made an official visit to NATO HQ, Brussels. He addressed NATO's highest decision-making body: the North Atlantic Council, at which each NATO member country is represented. The three Invitee countries - the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland - were also present at this particular meeting where the main issues raised were Bosnia and the crisis in Kosovo.

NATO Secretary General issues a statement in support of the Contact Group’s proposals to mediate the conclusion of an interim political settlement in Kosovo within a speci-fied timeframe. NATO decides to increase its military pre-paredness to ensure the demands of the international community are met.

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29 Jan. 1999
Fighting off the millennium bug

In NATO's continued efforts to tackle the "Y2K problem" known as the millennium bug , a workshop has been organised on 29 January. (On 1 January 2000, many computer systems will malfunction or produce incorrect information because of the way computer systems store and manipulate dates).

Russia has accepted to participate in this particular workshop during which information will be exchanged on all facets of the problem, including software, contingency planning, testing, certification and lessons learned to date. At the end of last year, NATO and Partner countries were invited to cooperate in order to improve ways of facing this world-wide preoccupation.

29 Jan. 1999

The international community has now set a timeframe to bring conflicting parties in Kosovo to the negotiating table. As a result of the Contact Group meeting on Friday 29 January (involving France, Germany, Italy, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States), the government of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY) and the Kosovars have been "summoned to begin negotiations" at Rambouillet, France, by 6 February 1999. These negotiations are to lead to "an interim political settlement" within two weeks, as from the first meeting on 6 February.

NATO has announced that it is prepared to support these peace efforts with military force, if necessary, including the use of air strikes against targets on FRY territory should both parties refuse to comply with the conditions set out by the international community. President Slobodan Milosevic and the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) now face the combined pressure of the United Nations, NATO, the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe, the European Union and the Contact Group.

30 Jan. 1999

The North Atlantic Council authorises air strikes on the territory of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and delegates authority for implementing this decision to the Secretary General of NATO in case of non-compliance with the demands of the international community. The Council announces that appropriate measures will also be taken if the Kosovar Albanian side fails to comply.

United Kingdom Foreign Secretary Robin Cook flies to Belgrade and issues warnings to President Milosevic to stop the killings or face NATO air strikes against Serbian positions responsible for conducting repression in Kosovo.

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1 Feb. 1999
NATO's 50th anniversary

As the dates are firmly set for NATO's major Summit meeting in Washington, on 23-25 April, the Secretary General, Dr Javier Solana has stated: "It will not just be a 50th birthday party - champagne and all. The Summit will map NATO's way ahead into the new century". He was speaking at the Aspen Institute in Berlin, 1 February, having been invited to deliver the Institute's Wallenberg Lecture.

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