Updated: 30 March 1999 Press Conferences


30 Mar. 1999

Press Conference

by NATO Spokesman, Jamie Shea
and Air Commodore David Wilby, SHAPE

Jamie Shea: I apologise for being a few moments late, keeping you waiting. I think yesterday's format from my point of view was very good and therefore I will ask once again Air Commodore David Wilby to kick off with today's operational update. David, please.


Air Commodore Wilby : Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen. NATO continues to conduct a well planned air campaign in a difficult environment. All NATO aircraft involved in yesterday's operations returned safely from their missions and collateral damage thus far remains low.

In Kosovo, the general situation remains much as I showed you yesterday but Serbian ethnic cleansing has reached new heights. This graphic shows more towns and villages destroyed or in flames. Will you pull the lights down just a bit please. And there will be a handout later if you can't read quite what's on the board. We also have pictures of two burning villages. The first village is the hamlet of Brestob where Serb MUP forces were in the area at the time this photograph was taken. The second village is Dobri Do where elements of a VJ armour unit were conducting operations in the area at the time.

Breaking news of which I have to say I have absolutely no independent confirmation is of a large number refugees being attacked by artillery and tanks in the Paruchsa (phonetic) Valley. And of course the Paruchsa (phonetic) Valley is in the vicinity of Orosovac (phonetic). I will seek further confirmation and give you more details tomorrow. I will leave Jamie to give you more details of the humanitarian situation on the ground.

Turning to our air operations yesterday, we attacked targets in these locations in the FRY and in Kosovo and we have good initial evidence of our success. Despite poor weather we are managing to attack Serbian military and MUP assets and, in particular, we are stepping up our interdiction against those in their field forces in Kosovo. Before leaving this slide I would like to bring up an important point. Each of the triangles that you see on the map represents an area where numerous targets or aim points will have been struck. We will continue to plan vigorously to maintain and, where possible, increase the intensity of these operations over the coming days.

Last night's SAM activity remained relatively low but we cannot underestimate the remaining effectiveness of the integrated air defence system. We are detecting a very well orchestrated and dynamic tactical air defence campaign against us. However, to our advantage, the complications and mobility that the FRY is forced to introduce into its system, leads to the disruption and degradation of the effectiveness of its application. I can reiterate that thankfully we had no losses yesterday and we were not offered the opportunity to engage any aircraft from the FRY.

(Presentation Photo)

Let me now show you some imagery of some of our recent attacks. The film clips that you are about to see are of a recent attack on the large MUP headquarters complex in Pristina. It is a large complex. The whole image you are about to see represents just one part of this extensive complex. Each clip depicts aircraft targeting different impact points on the facility. You will also notice secondary explosions resulting from the attack.

In summary, the focus of NATO's air operations is more on fielded forces of the FRY army and special police. We continue the systematic degrading of the military capabilities of the Yugoslav forces by striking their air assets, infrastructure and remaining air defences to diminish their ability to attack innocent civilians.

Finally, let me re-emphasize. We are now into offensive operations around the clock. We are well into our plans for Phase II operations. More offensive assets specifically suited for this role are entering our order of battle and the weather is set to improve. Thank you. Jamie.

Jamie Shea: David, thank you very much. Well, ladies and gentlemen, today the concern of all NATO countries is primarily and immediately with the escalating humanitarian disaster that we are witnessing in and around Kosovo and which David commented upon. Yesterday we had a figure of 35,000 people who have fled Kosovo since March 24th. But this morning we have a new figure of 118,000. This represents an enormous increase in just a few days and the numbers are increasing all of the time. In fact, given the pace of which people are being pushed out of Kosovo at the moment, it's almost impossible for the UNHCR and other aid organizations to have any reliable figure. This is a running situation.

The second thing is that those refugees are telling you and are telling we of a terrible situation surrounding their departure. In many cases they have been provided with free transport. In other words demonstrating clearly that all of this has been planned in advance. Forcibly bussing people to the frontier to get them out as quickly as possible. You don't improvise a whole bus fleet if you haven't planned this operation a long time in advance. In whole towns and villages tanks are first surrounding the site, then paramilitaries are going in, rounding up civilians at gunpoint, separating young men from women and children. The women and children are then expelled from their homes and then sent towards the border. And after they have left their villages, the towns, the homes are looted and then systematically torched. In fact I think we could talk about a modern-day great terror going on in Kosovo at the moment. In fact this destruction is extending to the major cities.

Pec was a city of 100,000 people. We now have reports that it has been almost totally destroyed. We also have reports of people, thousands of people from Pritsa being forced to leave on a forced march towards the Albanian border. If these reports are confirmed as they look like being confirmed in subsequent hours, this is something that we haven't seen since the forced evacuation of Pnom Penh in Cambodia by the Khmer Rouge in the mid-1970s. And sustained Serbian attacks on Pristina, the chief city of Kosovo, are continuing.

The humanitarian situation on the border in Albania is now becoming critical. Some estimates suggest that the number of refugees in Albania today from Kosovo may have already exceeded the 100,000 mark. And the UNHCR has provided us today with an estimate that this number in the next hours could go up to 150,000. The number of refugees in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia is now estimated at 22,500 and even small Montenegro has received 42,500 refugees fleeing Kosovo. Now this therefore is a humanitarian disaster of enormous proportions. It brings the number of people who have been uprooted from their homes in Kosovo over the past year to 570,000 which is now heading up towards the 30%+ of the total population.

NATO's immediate concern and by that I mean both the organization that the Allies as individual member states is to mobilize all of our efforts to address the plight of the refugees. This morning at the Council several Allies reported on immediate supplies of relief material, field hospitals, tents, sleeping bags, food, blankets, arriving now in Albania either by air or by ship and we will be obviously accelerating those efforts. Let me tell you that the NATO countries will be in the forefront of the international community in supplying money and material to address this refugee crisis. And, as I have mentioned yesterday, let me reiterate, our Euro-Atlantic Disaster Response Co-ordination Centre here at NATO Headquarters is activated, remains activated to co-ordinate NATO assistance to the UNHCR. But at the same time we also have to recognize that the only solution to the refugee crisis is to stop the fighting in Kosovo. As long as that fighting goes on, the number of refugees is going to continue to grow. So, this situation makes us all the more determined to stop the fighting on the ground. Milosevic cannot invade neighbouring countries with refugees in the hope that he can destabilize them.

We are very concerned of course with the situation in the countries neighbouring Yugoslavia. This morning the Secretary General had a breakfast meeting with the Foreign Minister of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and we are planning in the next few days to hold a 19+1 consultation with the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia along the same line as the one we had just a few days ago with Albania. We are sending a NATO liaison team to Skopje to improve day-to-day co-ordination of our efforts and to improve day-to-day contacts with the government there and we are pursuing intensified daily contacts with all of the neighbouring countries. We have made it clear that we stand by them, we need them, they are very important in our efforts to stabilize the region. Some of them as you know are hosting NATO forces at the present time and we have a direct and real interest in their security.

What we are seeing in Kosovo I think demonstrates increasingly that these actions of the Serb forces have been following a pre-arranged pattern. This type of humanitarian disaster is not improvised. It represents a master plan that was conceived and well on its way to being executed before the first NATO bomb was dropped against a military target. The use of exercises this past winter to mask the increased deployments of the Yugoslav Army in Kosovo and a harassment of the local population. Already in February, villagers were being driven from their homes which were then bombarded with tank shells. Already in mid-March there were major Serb attacks in progress in the Northwest and in the Central part of Kosovo. When the Paris peace talks were suspended on 19th March, Milosevic already had 40,000 Army and Special Police Forces and 300 tanks in Kosovo or on the immediate border. It's more and more evident to us now as we look back on these events of the last few weeks that Milosevic was using the Paris talks as a screen or cover to hide his planned offensive operations.

On March 20th, the day after the Paris talks were suspended, the Serbs began to drive thousands of ethnic Albanians from their homes. Some of them were executed and then their homes were set on fire. That was four days, four days before NATO initiated air operations. By the time NATO's first planes took off from their bases, thousands of ethnic Albanians were already fleeing towards the borders. And contrary to what you may hear from certain quarters, it is not NATO's planes that are forcing people to flee. I think we all understand clearly where that responsibility lies. And there is no excuse, no justification for this campaign of ethnic re-engineering in Kosovo. Milosevic or Milosevic's timing may have been something that was inherently unpredictable to us but I don't think anybody can say that this was not something that had been planned in advance.

However, today there is a substantial difference and an increasing difference. Before Milosevic could do this with impunity. Now he is paying a price and obviously we want to make that price as high as we possibly can to stop this terrible violence and suffering. Of course there are no instant solutions and I'd like to warn everybody against expecting an instant solution. This situation is complicated. It has been going on for a long time. It pre-dates the beginning of NATO's air operations but we do have a deliberate planned air operation which can and will have an impact on this situation as we pursue it over the next few days. We all know President Milosevic's record but I think that even we have been shocked by the sheer proportions of what we see happening in Kosovo today. I don't think anybody could have anticipated that it would be quite as bad as it seems now to be becoming. But this makes us all the more determined in the Alliance to keep up the effort that we are making at the moment and progressively be in a position to stop these attacks and to move the situation towards some kind of salvation for the people of Kosovo.

Finally, I'd just like to clarify some media reports that NATO had pre-planned targets in Montenegro yesterday. We had no pre-planned targets in Montenegro during operations last night. Ladies and gentlemen, as always we will take your questions. I think Mark Laity's hand went up first. So Mark go ahead please.

Mark Laity: Two questions. One to the Air Commodore Wilby. You have now moved to daylight air strikes. Are you intending to operate as many manned aircraft in daylight air strikes as at night and one side bar? Have you seen evidence of the Serb tanks sheltering the site civilian buildings as some reports have made it? And then to Jamie Shea. Are you, is there any compromise agreement which could be brought by Mr. Primakov which you would accept short of a total evacuation of Serb forces from Kosovo and a peace deal in line with the Rambouillet Agreements?

Air Commodore Wilby: Next round. Just to take up the first part of your question. And as I have always said, I will give you the facts as they unfold but I will not give you any of our tactics of Phases that are coming forward or things which may endanger our operations. What I would say to you is that we will continue to conduct operations around the clock and we will put as much effort as we can into those operations to make sure we get the job done.

In terms of your second question about the sheltering of tanks alongside villages, we fully expect that to occur but for those of you and many of you will be hardened veterans of the conflicts in this region, you have only got to have travelled through areas like the Krajina and I can only imagine the hardship which is there, out there, and many of the villages that those tanks will be hiding up against will have been long deserted.

Jamie Shea: Mark, your question regarding the Russian initiative. As you well know, international envoys have had a rather frustrating time in Belgrade recently and have not returned with very much. But obviously we hope that Prime Minister Primakov will be successful today in persuading Milosevic to halt his attacks in Kosovo. That is what we are looking for. The crucial point of the mission is not to stop the NATO campaign. It's to stop the Serb attacks. That is the yardstick of success. That is also our objective obviously. We will see what results from these talks but as you know we are continuing our air operations today. We see no need to relent in our pressure and we hope that Prime Minister Primakov will deliver a very stern, uncompromising message to President Milosevic and share the determination of the international community to focus the attention on stopping the violence in Kosovo. Yes. Ah, many hands. Where do I go? Okay, let's go to Pavo Vrudenek please.

Pavo Vrudenek: Thank you, Jamie. Czech TV. I have two questions related to Primakov's visit in Belgrade first to Air Commander. Did NATO suspend it temporarily at least the operation during Primakov's visit in Belgrade? And for Jamie. NATO policy towards Russia is based on transparency, openness let's say principle, no surprise. Do you have any guarantee that Russia will give you the same treatment now? That means no hidden deal especially now when all the contacts between NATO and Russia was due to Moscow terminated? Thank you.

Air Commodore: The first part. We have been very conscious of the visit. And we have been keeping a very close eye on our activities.

Jamie Shea: Well, Pavo, we are not looking for deals - secret or otherwise. We are looking for actions and guarantees that the fighting will stop. As for transparency, well, as you know, Prime Minister Primakov has plans to go to see Chancellor Schroeder in Germany after he concludes his talks and I expect there will be obviously a very full account of what has taken place and yes, I do expect the Russians to be fully transparent about all of their discussions.

Yes, Mrs. Satos please.

Mrs. Satos: Commander, I can imagine that from satellite collateral damage seems very small but on the ground things are different. This morning I spoke to my colleagues in Belgrade. They were telling me that very heavy smog is spreading over Belgrade. One d. of the munition for wreckage fuel were hit in the third night as you might know. And there are, as we have seen from your maps, there are very heavy detonations around Belgrade. All the people are coughing there. Then a few factories were hit and around 100,000 people at least lost their jobs, a lot of schools were hit. And most importantly, Pristina is burning. So do you still think that you are not in war with people in Yugoslavia, how long are you going to destroy this country before you finish and you achieve your goal and accusing only one man with whom you want to deal of peace in the land? Thank you.

Air Commodore Wilby: I recognize the heartfelt sentiment of your question and obviously I sympathize with some aspects of it. But as we have said from the onset of this. We are not in any way at war or at conflict with the Yugoslav people and we have taken every effort to make sure that we minimize the amount of effort that we put on any of our attacks and certainly as I have continually reiterated to you to any of the collateral damage that we do.

Jamie Shea: Yes, gentleman there please. Sir.

Ismail ..., Sarajevo: After the great number of different statements of international officials, really I don't know in this moment what's the main objective air campaign on the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia? Generally destroy President Milosevic's military in Kosovo or limit his ability to make new war in the region?

Jamie Shea: Well, thank you very much for that question. Our objectives are very clear. We want to stop the systematic campaign against the ethnic population of Kosovo. And we want to stop it for good. We don't want a ceasefire that lasts a week and then once the attention of the international community is diverted, it all starts up again. I think we have had a few too many of those in this region over the past few years. We want guarantees that the tanks, the artillery, the troops will be withdrawn. That they will be back where they should be in their barracks or outside Kosovo because many units in Kosovo today have no business being there at all. And we want some kind of guarantees that the humanitarian situation will be redressed and that refugees will be allowed to return to their homes and rebuild their homes and, more importantly, their lives. Obviously, as a result of NATO's action, we hope that a climate could be created, no matter how dark the situation at the moment, I grant you, whereby negotiations that the whole political process could be put back on track towards a negotiated objective. But that's tomorrow's story. Today's story is to stop the fighting.


Doug: One question each if I may. Air Commodore, have the A-10s been able to hit any targets yesterday and today? And for Jamie, if Slobodan Milosevic has a master plan, does NATO think his master plan is to empty entirely Kosovo of ethnic Albanians or is he trying to cease some sort of northern tier where riches are and leave an empty reservation of the rest?

Air Commodore Wilby: The first part of your question. I will give you evidence in due course of our recent attacks.

Jamie Shea: Doug, on your question to me. It's very difficult to speculate what blueprint for Kosovo, apart from a permanent wasteland, President Milosevic actually has because he is not simply driving people out but he is also destroying homes and infrastructure, burning whole cities. That seems particularly mindless. What he is doing is simply vastly increasing the cost to Yugoslavia of having to reconstruct the place one day. And the Yugoslav economy is not the best suited for taking on that kind of enterprise. So I am not going to speculate on what his vision of Kosovo is, except to suggest that it's not a very pleasant one.

Let's move on. I've got, I think we'll go over to Bettina, over at the middle there.

Bettina: I would like to ask a couple of questions about the refugee situation. Commodore, you were talking about these reports on attacks on refugees. Is there anything more you can tell us about it? How many people might have been concerned, when you expect confirmation, how this all happened? It seems to be contradictory with the policy of Yugoslav's to best people to the border. If you want them over the border, it doesn't seem to make much sense to attack them while they are still in Kosovo. Secondly, if what you have been telling us about the strategy towards the villages. You said the paramilitary troops move in, separate men from women and children, women and children get carted to the borders. What happens with the men?

Air Commodore Wilby: Firstly as to my breaking news. I don't like to stand before you unless I have hard facts to tell you. What I told you, and I caviated it very well, was I had very late breaking news. I have no precise confirmed independent details of that and tomorrow I will bring to this podium an update for you. As to the strategy that you talk about, that we have seen and had reported, I do not know what has happened to those gentlemen.

Jamie Shea: I can't add anything Bettina to what the Air Commodore said on that question.

Lady there please.

Franoise Dion, BBC French Service: Jamie, you are saying that this situation could not in any way be anticipated. There is something I don't understand. I was myself in Kosovo in '92 and I did hear that scenario already then which was very well prepared according to which the Serbs were to pull out their population less than 10% population in less than 24 hours and then they would organize a real blood bath against the Albanian ethnic population. So how come are you saying now that this has not been anticipated?

Jamie Shea: Franoise, what I said is that we know what President Milosevic is capable of and as President Chirac pointed out very firmly in his television address yesterday evening that has been something over the last ten years in Bosnia with over 200,000 casualties. But what I said is that even we, and I think even you too, from what I read and hear, have been shocked by the sheer enormity of what is going on in Kosovo at the moment and it makes it all the more urgent for all of us to take the action that is necessary to stop that. It is not possible in dealing with a dictatorship in which there are no public cabinet discussions, no real parliamentary debates, no press and public accountability to know what is going on in the individual mind of a leader. We know that from history. We have seen that many times. We can suspect general patterns and trends but we don't know exactly when such offensives are going to be launched or what the ultimate objectives are. That is something of course where dictatorships unfortunately have had an historical advantage over democracies. Much good may it do them. But, what we are seeing at the moment makes us all the more determined to see this through. That is what I'd like to leave you with as at least a message from today.

Gentlemen there please. Yes, just no, just next to you. Please go ahead, sir.

Mr Thomasson, Norwegian Daily ""

I'd like to have your comments, Jamie, on the reports that the refugees are being sent back across the border from Macedonia today. Have you had any assurances that this border will not be closed to refugees?

Jamie Shea: No, I must say I have not had information as to that happening. If I have any information I will share it, sir, with you. But, although the main thrust has been into Albania over the last few days, what I can tell you is that the numbers in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia have been going up as well. For example, just in the last few days alone the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, according to my statistics, and they come from the UNHCR so I hope that they are correct, I trust that they are correct, is that 22,500 additional people have crossed southwards. So clearly perhaps in less numbers in Albania but still a very heavy figure for that country to have to accommodate.

Let's go to the gentlemen a little bit behind you please.

Stephen Bates, The Guardian

Have you any information about whether Mr. Primakov is actually coming to Brussels and to speak to NATO after he has been to see Mr. Schroeder? And also for the Air Commodore, can you describe how much difficulty the bad weather has actually caused the operations that .. (tape cuts off here)

Jamie Shea: On the Primakov story on ITAR-TASS, I checked it out at the highest source, the Secretary General, and he has heard nothing about a possible visit here or to Brussels, not necessarily here, by Prime Minister Primakov tomorrow. All we know, as you know, is that he is due to go to Germany later today. If there is a change in the situation, you will be almost the first ones to know about it.

Let's move on.

Air Commodore Wilby: Let me just pick up the second, let me just pick up the second part of the question.

Jamie Shea: Oh, oh, David, I heartily apologise. I apologise. Excuse me.

Air Commodore Wilby: I have to be perfectly honest with you. Whilst we have extremely good and highly technical aeroplanes, without doubt if we are given good weather we can prosecute our attacks far more easily. The weather has forced us to change our modus operandi just a little bit and I think perhaps more importantly the reason sometimes I cannot give you lots of visible evidence is because of that weather which is inhibiting us from giving you some of the images that we would dearly like to show you.

Jamie Shea: Okay. Thomas, please. Question just here, thank you.

Thomas: Does NATO take into consideration postponing the Washington Summit? Just let rub the effects of the whole operation on the Strategic Concept?

Jamie Shea: No. The Washington Summit is going to go ahead on the 23rd, 24th, 25th of April. Absolutely. And despite the enormous pressures on us of the Kosovo crisis, work on all of the other aspects of the Summit on us such as the new Strategic Concept, the European Security Defence Identity is ongoing.

Can we please go to the front row here? I see that Bill Drodiak, Washington Post has a question.

Bill Drodiak: First of all, has General Clark asked for authority to move to Phase III of operations? Has that been discussed in the NAC? And secondly, Jamie, given the nature of the atrocities and massacres, it seems almost unthinkable that the Albanians would be prepared to accept the basis of autonomy within the Rambouillet Accords and to live again within a Serbian state. Is there any discussion going on in the NAC or among the Allied governments about changing its policy and in particular does that have, will that have immediate consequences for the 12,000 NATO troops in Macedonia who seem to be biding their time in limbo without any realistic purpose?

Jamie Shea: Okay, David, do you want to go first on the Phase III question?

Air Commodore Wilby: I am not prepared to comment on our plans for the future.

Jamie Shea: Let me say that as you know Bill, on that one NATO countries are always thinking about the future. We are a planning organization and we think ahead. But no decisions have been taken beyond Phase II which is as you know where we are at the moment - Phases I and II. On the other question, yes, I mean you have asked what I suppose you would call the sixty-four thousand dollar question. Let me say on that that clearly for the time being all Allies agree that the Rambouillet Peace Accord is the agreement that is on the table, signed by one side. There is no other solution, political solution to Kosovo which is on the table of the international community at the present time. Our immediate concern is to deal with the fire that is burning. Fire prevention is something that we will get to once we have doused the flames in Kosovo itself today. That is the overwhelming humanitarian imperative that we are facing and once we have done that and the time comes again for politics and diplomacy, we will look at the situation then. And I am not going to speculate. All I can say is for the time being the Rambouillet Peace Plan is the only one that's on the table.

Yes ma'am, you've waited patiently. Go ahead.

Journalist: Going back to the fact that you mention the fire that is burning and this is addressed to the Air Commodore. You mentioned very briefly that you were stepping up the interdiction against the field forces in Kosovo because of the disaster, the humanitarian disaster. How are you stepping up the interdiction? You are not giving any details at all. You are saying one of the question, when my Reuters colleague mentioned the word "hawks", you didn't address that. You said you would bring it up tomorrow. That's 48 hours after they would be doing something.

Air Commodore Wilby: Okay, I'll hit that one straight on and play it straight back to your question. I have said to you on many occasions I am not prepared to release to you details which involve tactics or operations which are ongoing or are coming very shortly. And, we have air crews involved. We have tactics which require us to have a certain amount of surprise and it would be wrong of me to stand in this room and to try and give you chapter and verse on what we are planning to do. So, please, I would ask you, do not ask me questions about operations that we are planning which involve people and involve lives. I will tell you and release to you as much information as I can once that is well on the way and we have got results to show you. But for the moment it is very sensitive and I would welcome your sympathy in this particular case.

Jamie Shea: Yes, .... please.

Journalist: This broadcasting, Air Commander, I know that you have said that the result of the recent attack you will tell us later on but could you just indicate if you have taken out any forces at all on the ground in Kosovo, some of those forces who are pressing the refugees out and, secondly, will you at any time be able to stop those forces from pressing the refugees out? Is in your way from the military point of view any hope that you can do the job before they are all out, all of them?

Air Commodore Wilby: I'll answer the second part of your question first and there is no doubt in my mind that we will do the job and we will do it relatively quickly. As to providing you hard results, I said to you before, I would not give you anything unless I could substantiate my evidence. I said in my remarks today that initial indications of the attacks against those were good. Now those came from crews in cockpits. What I can't give you is results on the ground because sometimes of the nature of the targets that we are going up against. When I can do that, I will present them to you.

Jamie Shea: Okay, Margaret please.

Margaret: Yes, do either one of you have any further information about the executions that you reported to us yesterday and could you give us a clear indication that you were able to yesterday about your sources and for the Air Commodore, do you have any information about Canadian CFA teams being added to the fleet and if they are being added would they be replacement aircraft or would they be additions to the fleets?

Air Commodore Wilby: I think I'll fill both those questions. As I said to you yesterday, the news I gave you of the two gentlemen was very late news which was passed to me and it came from a very, very good source which I am not prepared to release to you. I said after the broadcast when there was a huddle around the podium and I believe I was very honest with everyone and I said I hoped I was not the bearer of bad news or I was not releasing information that was wrong. My overwhelming wish is that the information that I gave you was wrong and that those two gentlemen were alive. I cannot at this stage give you any more confirmation of the news but all I can say is that it came from a very reliable source.

As to your second question of the Canadian CFA teams, they are first-class aeroplanes and we are very much hoping that they will come and augment the order of battle that we have now.

Jamie Shea: And you have seen from Press reports that there are a number of augmentations ongoing from various Allies at the moment as the air operations continue.


Greg: Air Commodore, can you explain a little bit more how the humanitarian problem on the ground is causing problems for the military action. Number one, yesterday you said that if you had information that men or other civilians were used as human shields around targets, you'd have to rethink that targeting. Do you have now any information of human shields being used? You were also talking about hitting fielded forces. Is the problem perhaps of refugees streaming through those fields a problem for you? And yesterday you said "give us several days of concerted effort and we will show you results". Do you still stand by that?

Air Commodore Wilby: I'll take your last question, last part first. I do stand by that. I believe that within several days we will show you results and we will show you that we have made progress. In terms of the second part of your question about refugees streaming on the ground, I don't believe that will be a problem to us. As to the first part of your question, I don't want to touch on it. It's a sensitive subject. It's one I explained very carefully yesterday that it's very close to the heart and we obviously do take very great concern if we get information of that nature.

Jamie Shea: Greg as you know we, if I can just add from the political perspective, we all know who we are dealing with, what we are dealing with. It's a very determined and ruthless military machine at work and naturally it will take all measures it can to defend itself against NATO strikes, to take evasive measures or whatever. And that's why I said very clearly in my briefing, do not expect miracle solutions, instant solutions. In this type of business, with the best will in the world, they don't exist. Particularly when on our side we are striking exclusively at military targets and we are taking every conceivable precaution to avoid collateral damage. In other words we cannot use the same methods as Milosevic and we will not use the same methods as Milosevic and therefore this is going to take time. But with your support and the support of our governments which is holding up very, very firmly indeed, we are going to get there and we will have an impact and once we have that impact it will be a cumulative impact. It's the best message I can give you.

Ladies and gentlemen, I know there are an enormous number of hands still up and I am grateful for that but I think we will take just one final question from Stephen Dierckx of the BRT and the others, I promise you, we'll take them tomorrow.

Stephen Dierckx: Thanks, Jamie. Whatever the outcome of the Primakov mission, can NATO still do business with Milosevic, a man you have accused of all sorts of atrocities and in fact of war crimes and, secondly, given the fact that you are talking about a very well planned and prepared and co-ordinated campaign by the Serbs in Kosovo, at what point does Milosevic's governmental structure become a target and does that require a political decision?

Jamie Shea: Yes, is the answer to your second question. It requires of course from the North Atlantic Council a political decision. This is not a military operation which is on automatic pilot, not to use a pun, it's a very closely controlled politically directed operation in the hands of the Secretary General and the North Atlantic Council. As for President Milosevic, he is the leader of Yugoslavia and therefore he is the person who is responsible for the current situation but also the person who has to deliver on a ceasefire and on a withdrawal of forces. I have pointed out repeatedly from this podium that if he wants to do it, he only has to make two or three telephone calls to his Commanders and the whole business could be stopped immediately. These forces are not spontaneous forces acting under their own licence. We know that they are being centrally directed and therefore Milosevic is the person who can call this off and we insist that he do so and we will continue to insist that he do so. How much force it is going to take Stephen is something which we simply can't predict. We always hope for the minimum, naturally because we are an Alliance of democracies that are never very enthusiastic about having to use force unless we are pushed into a corner as we have been on this occasion. But on the other hand, as I said, we will continue systematically in a very methodical way to keep chipping away at the military machine of the Yugoslav Army in Kosovo until we arrive at the solution that President Milosevic knows that he has to stop. I hope that point will come very, very soon but I can't predict when it will come but we will be there when it does come.

Thank you very much, ladies and gentlemen. I will see you tomorrow.

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