Updated: 21-Nov-2001 Week of 3-9 March 1999

3 Mar. 1999
Bosnia and the Brcko arbitration

Last week, the Supreme Allied Commander Europe, General Clark (Photo), visited Bosnia and Herzegovina. He met President Jelavic, the Croatian Representative of the Federation's three-person presidency, in Sarajevo, to discuss the return of refugees in 1999. General Clark also visited Brcko on which the Independent Arbitrator, Roberts Owen, has just reached a decision concerning the town's future status: it has been declared a neutral district. NATO Secretary General, Dr Javier Solana, has welcomed the Brcko arbitration which has also been accepted by the Republika Srpska and the Federation.

3 Mar. 1999

The situation in Kosovo remains high on the agenda of the North Atlantic Council and member nations of the Alliance. NATO officials continue to make clear the Alliance's readiness to support the efforts of the international community and those of Ambassadors Hill, Petritsch, and Mayorski as they seek to negotiate an interim peace agreement for Kosovo.

NATO nations are moving forces to the region to increase their readiness to deploy a NATO-led Implementation Force to Kosovo if an agreement is reached. This force would serve to deter renewed hostilities, contribute to a secure environment for the OSCE Implementation Mission, monitor and, as necessary, ensure compliance with the military aspects of the interim agreement. Allied air forces also remain ready to conduct air strikes when necessary, if an agreement cannot be reached.

3 Mar. 1999
Clearing unexploded munitions in Albania

A NATO Team of experts is currently training Albanian military specialists who will soon begin clearance of a significant quantity of unexploded munitions (UXOs) at 11 major sites throughout the country. The NATO Team is also providing advice concerning the disposal of thousands of tonnes of obsolete, damaged or excess ammunition currently located in 140 military storage sites.

Building on its success, the programme is now being pushed further toward the ultimate goal of the Albanians achieving self-sufficiency in this challenging work. Expert teams are advising the Albanian Ministry of Defence on issues related to the stability of the ammunition and its storage conditions. Additionally, aerial reconnaissance of the UXO sites has been conducted and photographs requested for use in clearance planning. More information on this programme can be found on the website of the NATO Explosive Ordnance Disposal and Ammunition Storage Training Teams.

5 Mar. 1999
President Poplasen "removed"

The NATO Secretary General welcomes the announcement of the Independent Arbitrator, Mr Robert Owen, on the future neutral status of Brcko and calls on all sides to honour the decision, guaranteeing freedom of movement for all citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina through the Brcko district.

The NATO Secretary General expresses his support for the decision of the High Representative, Carlos Westendorp, in accordance with the powers vested in him by the General Framework Agreement for Peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina, to remove Nikola Poplasen from the Office of President of Republika Srpska.

8 Mar. 1999
Millennium date change

A Swedish Partnership for Peace Seminar on the Millennium Date Change Problem and Crisis Management will take place in Stockholm on 8th/10th March. Hosted by Sweden's Agency for Civil Emergency Planning (OCB), the event is expected to be attended by 80 delegates from 30 NATO and non-NATO countries which are members of the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council.

8 Mar. 1999
Secretary General receives the Legion of Honour

During an official visit to France, NATO Secretary General, Dr Javier Solana, was presented with the insignia of Commander of the Legion of Honour by President Jacques Chirac. Solana was in Paris on 8 March, as part of his tour of NATO member countries before the Washington Summit in April.
Apart from meeting with the French President, he also met the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Hubert Védrine, and the Minister of Defence, Alain Richard and delivered a speech at the Institut des hautes études de défense nationale.

Previously, he went to Luxembourg on 4 March where he met His Royal Highness the Hereditary Grand Duke, "Lieutenant Représentant", Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Jacques Poos, and Minister of Defence, Alex Bodry. On 9 March, he made his official visit to the United Kingdom where he discussed issues on the Washington Summit agenda with Secretary of State for Defence, George Robertson and other British officials.

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(Photo: Medal of the Order of the French Legion of Honour)

8 Mar. 1999
"Life begins at fifty"

The Royal United Services Institute for Defence Studies, London, hosted an international security policy conference within NATO's 50th anniversary programme, 8-10 March, focussing on the Alliance's present and future missions. Secretary General, Dr Javier Solana, gave the opening speech in which he identified NATO's main challenges for the next century: the management of three major transformation processes, that of Europe, Russia, and the transatlantic link. He stated that "...the creation of new relations between an integrating and widening Europe, a participating Russia, and an engaged North America is what NATO's post-Cold War agenda is all about." Having underlined these challenges, he concluded "...it is true what they say: life begins at fifty!"

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