Updated: 21-Nov-2001 Week of 28 April - 4 May 1999

28 Apr. 1999
Humanitarian situation

The flood of refugees into countries bordering on Kosovo continues. According to the UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR), Albania has now taken in almost 400,000 refugees; the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (1) (FYROM) 204,000; and Montenegro 62,000.
Albania has agreed to accept the transfer of 6,000 additional refugees from FYROM to alleviate the situation in refugee camps there, which are seriously overcrowded causing sanitation problems and the risk of disease. Allied troops continue to help alleviate the suffering of refugees and support the work of international relief agencies by coordinating the humanitarian airlift and providing shelter, food and medical supplies.

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

28 Apr. 1999
Munitions clearance and storage project in Albania

On 28 April, the North Atlantic Council extended till the end of 1999 the mission of the team of experts from NATO and Partner countries, who are currently training the Albanian military in the clearance of unexploded munitions (UXOs) and advising on issues related to the stable, safe and secure storage of ammunition (see also previous NATO Updates of 17-23 March and 3-9 March).

In recent weeks, NATO-trained Albanian explosives and disposal (EOD) teams have been clearing UXOs in the vicinity of Albania's northern border. Progress is also being made in the clearance of the first of 11 UXO contaminated "hot spots", which began in April.

29 Apr. 1999

The Allies have intensified their air campaign against targets in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia including Serb forces in Kosovo.
The Alliance welcomed the decision of the EU to impose an oil embargo and the readiness of several non-NATO countries to join this initiative in order to further isolate the Belgrade regime.

At a press conference at NATO headquarters on 29 April, US Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott (photo: top right) outlined his recent talks in Moscow on Russian diplomatic efforts to help settle the crisis. He stressed that a lasting political solution would be possible only if the Alliance's five conditions were met and expressed his hope that Russia would be able to use its influence to convince President Milosevic to comply.

Additional information:

  • High resolution photos of the Press Briefing of the US Deputy Secretary of State, Mr. Strobe Talbot at NATO HQ in Brussels, relating to the situation in Kosovo
3 May 1999
Russian Balkan envoy, Victor Chernomyrdin arrives in Washington after visiting Rome, Bonn, and Belgrade, to meet with President Clinton and UN Secretary General Kofi Annan in the context of initiatives to find a diplomatic solution to the crisis in Kosovo.
4 May 1999
General Naumann's farewell news conference

General Klaus Naumann completes his three-year term as Chairman of the Military Committee on 6 May, when he formally hands over to his successor, Admiral Guido Venturoni of the Italian Navy.

At a farewell news conference at NATO headquarters on 4 May, the outgoing Chairman outlined the key developments within NATO during his term in office and the new missions the Alliance has set itself, many of which are enshrined in the decisions taken at the Washington Summit.

General Naumann also gave a frank assessment of NATO's air campaign against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY), stressing that "the air campaign is working but it is taking time….we have achieved a remarkable degradation of the FRY military forces….and are also impeding the FRY's ability to maintain operations in Kosovo."

General Naumann summed up with his vision for the future development of NATO's armed forces. He emphasised the need to ensure that the capabilities of the United States and and other Allies complement each other; to equip Alliance forces with a rapid deployment capability; for forces able to project power from a distance; for mobile command, control and communications (C3) systems; and, finally, the need to be able to sustain such forces wherever they are employed.

Additional information: