Updated: 19-Nov-2001 Week of 31 March - 6 April 1999

31 Mar. 1999

NATO is continuing its air campaign against military targets in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY) in order to put an end to the violent actions initiated by President Milosevic's forces and to stop the humanitarian disaster which is taking place in the region. So far, more than 430,000 deportees have flowed into neighbouring countries since 24 March 1999, to find refuge from the Serb Army and special police units.

The Alliance is providing assistance to tens of thousands of refugees who have been driven from their homes. Individual NATO member countries are temporarily taking in refugees and organising airlifts.

NATO forces already in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (1) - the ARRC: the Allied Command Europe (ACE) Rapid Reaction Corps- have set up a "tented city" to assist thousands of refugees coming over the border. Food, medical supplies and a water purification plant have already been supplied. The Allies are also airlifting relief supplies into refugee camps in Albania. Plans are moving ahead for the NATO military to deploy a forward headquarters in Albania to support efforts by the UNHCR and other organisations. NATO has opened up a relief supply route for helicopters between Tirana and Kukes on the border.

This week, NATO's Deputy Secretary General, Ambassador Sergio Balanzino, travelled to the region to meet with the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (1) Government and the Commander of the Alliance's ACE Rapid Reaction Corps, General Sir Michael Jackson, to assess the refugee situation. He also went to Romania, Bulgaria and Albania for consultations with senior Government Ministers, and visited a refugee camp in Kukes (Albania).

NATO remains committed to its ultimate objective of supporting the diplomatic efforts of the international community to find a political solution to this crisis. The unilateral cease-fire proposed by FRY and the Government of Serbia is insufficient. Before a cease-fire can be considered, NATO Secretary General, Dr Javier Solana, has stated that President Milosevic must meet the demands set out by the international community: a peaceful multi-ethnic democratic Kosovo in which all its people live in security. This would mean the return of all refugees and therefore the deployment of an international security presence, the withdrawal of Serb military, police and paramilitary forces, and putting into place of a political framework for Kosovo on the basis of the Rambouillet Accords.

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

4 Apr. 1999
The North Atlantic Council holds a meeting at NATO HQ with EU member states, the OSCE Chairman-in-office, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, the Council of Europe and the Western European Union to coordinate efforts to address the grave humanitarian crisis caused by the actions of Serb forces in Kosovo.
6 Apr. 1999

NATO Secretary General Javier Solana issues a statement rejecting as insufficient the cease-fire proposed by the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, emphasising that the international community’s demands must be met before a cease-fire can be considered.