Updated: 2 April 1999 Press Conferences

2 April 1999

Press Conference

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

Jamie Shea: Ladies and gentlemen, good afternoon, a Happy Easter to you all and welcome very heartfully to this briefing. I am going to ask Air Commodore David Wilby to kick off today with his operational update and, in the usual manner, I will give you the political update and then we will have a good period for your questions. So David please if you would like to begin.

Air Commodore Wilby: Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen. As SACEUR reiterated yesterday, NATO continues with its responsive and adaptable air operation against the military forces and structure of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. This will intensify the degradation of strategic targets and FRY forces in Kosovo despite the risks.

The FRY army and special police are already paying a heavy price for their campaign of terror and crimes against humanity in Kosovo. In Kosovo, as you can see on the ground activity slide, the Yugoslav army and MUP continued to press their offensive in the Malisevo and Pogorusa areas while continuing to mop up in other areas. However, the UCK has not been defeated. They continue to gather recruits, and regroup and regenerate in preparation to re-enter their struggle. Serb paramilitaries - locally raised "militias" - continue to terrorise ethnic Albanians and to take advantage of the situation to loot and pillage. We have some "before and after" pictures of houses in Kosovo giving evidence of the destruction, by FRY forces, of ethnic albanian property. As you can see from the slide - whereas their previous actions were scattered through Kosovo - the results of their brutal activity has now produced a single, large triangular area of ethnic cleansing operations.

Our first series of images shows the homes in the city of Dakovica in southwest Kosovo. The first shows them as they were prior to Serb security force action - the second after. As I told you earlier this week, and as a result of our attacks, when not engaged in their offensive operations, the FRY military are going to great lengths to conceal their tanks and artillery pieces. In many cases, they are taking up positions in deserted villages and towns. This "cat and mouse"activity is causing them to use up critical fuel supplies - we know that One battle group of the 549th motorised brigade was yesterday immobilised in the vicinity of Djakovica awaiting fuel. Therefore, NATO air to ground operations against fielded forces in Kosovo are, already degrading and disrupting the FRY military's ability to employ their armour.

It is becoming increasingly clear that President Milosevic, having ethnically cleansed large areas is now driving the enormous number of refugees south and west to destabilise neighbouring countries such as Albania and Macedonia. But I will leave Jamie to cover these humanitarian issues in more detail.

(Presentation Photo)

Turning to our air operations. Threat radar levels in FRY air defences were noticeably reduced last night. SAM activity was light and all our aircraft returned safely. There were no kills of Serbian aircraft in the air. This slide shows the target areas struck; as you can see, our activities were concentrated in and around Kosovo. Weather again hampered our operations but again did not prevent us from hitting the full spectrum of targets using both aircraft and missile platforms. Numerous infrastructure targets - including bridges - were struck to limit the ability of the army and special police to re-supply their forces. We also attacked several staging areas and headquarters facilities.

Let me show you some of our recent attack results. The first two clips are attacks against an airfield and are part of a co-ordinated multi-aircraft attack. On the second film, you will see the results of the first strike.

The next shot is of another airfield, home of the fighter bombers which have been engaged in operations in Kosovo.

This next video is of an army facility. This complex is significant in that it is the support base of the 243rd mechanised brigade currently operating in the Pogorusa Valley. It is also a base for the MUP special police detachment.

While I still await the opportunity to show you good imagery of our success, the next slide, of last night's activities, gives you an indication of our very real and significant campaign to disrupt and degrade Serbian ability to deploy effectively and use its fielded forces in Kosovo. We know this is directly impacting their operations. We have, despite the weather, pressed home attacks against his fielded forces. The intensity of our attacks and their effectiveness is being improved greatly by the latest additions and increases to our air order of battle. Our flexibility and adaptability to meet this challenging scenario expands daily. We will continue to mount our operations with untiring resolve and increasing effectiveness.

Before I conclude, I would like to show you some footage of one of the bridges that we dropped recently. First let me show you the view from the cockpit. From the second clip, kindly produced by Serbian television, and for which we are very grateful, you will note that the civilian housing either side of the bridge is undamaged, evidence of the precision of our attacks. As SACEUR stated yesterday, we have adapted our target list to include infrastructure targets which are of direct importance to Serb military and police forces, and this, as a major line of communication, is such a target.

As I have told you before, this will not be a short campaign. Our operations follow a thoroughly planned military rationale; we are well on track and it will become harder and harder for the FRY forces to continue their aggression against their own people. a people with whom we are not at war. Rather, we are at war with a regime and apparatus of oppression, terror and ethnic cleansing.

Thank you.

Jamie Shea : David, thank you very much for the operational update. The NATO ambassadors met this morning as they have met every day throughout this crisis and their foremost concern remains with the forced de-population of Kosovo which continues unabated. Indeed yesterday 36,500 Kosovars were forced to leave and that compared with 21,000 on Wednesday. At the moment we see a 10 km queue of people at the border with the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. That's about 25,000 people who are stacked up waiting to be able to leave. Many of them have died in that queue and others have had to cross a minefield in order to get there. In fact we now know, we see that refugees are being herded into trucks, buses, trains to get them out as quickly as possible. In many cases there is clear evidence of a hasty departure. We see families with very little luggage. Ladies in slippers, children with no shoes or socks and often we have reports that they have had to hand over their life savings to the Serb security forces in order to be finally able to leave. Thereby depriving them of the means, albeit limited, to even begin some kind of new life as refugees in the neighbouring countries. This is an extortion racket which I would describe as institutionalised gangsterism.

The refugee situation in the neighbouring countries is extremely grave and is becoming graver by the hour. We have now 17,500 that is in the process of entering the Former Yugoslav republic of Macedonia. An extra 14,500 in Albania in the last 24 hrs and 7,000 into Montenegro. In fact the latest estimates that we have are that the number of internally displaced persons, in other words those people who are not living where they used to live before this terrible conflict began, is now upwards of 634,000. In other words it has reached 1/3rd of the pre-conflict population of Kosovo.

At the same time we are extremely worried about what has happened to the men. Will the authorities in Belgrade please tell us where are the Kosovo Albanian men between the ages of 16 and 60 ? We have reports of them being herded into stadiums and camps, used as human shields at military bases, even dressed in Serb uniforms, but we don't know and I think this is an area where we should be allowed to know. We also have reports that those Kosovar Albanians who cooperated with the international presence in Kosovo, notably the OSCE, as bodyguards, cooks, drivers, translators, have also been targetted. Again we would like to know what has happened to them. Moreover, it is clear that the strategy of creating a series of ghost towns throughout Kosovo continues.

The latest example is Pristina, a major city, where 30,000 people have been rounded up and forced to leave in the last 24 hours. This refugee situation means that we are no longer facing an internal Yugoslav crisis, we are facing a crisis of the entire region with far reaching consequences and therefore NATO has to address this situation alongside our efforts to do what we can to halt the violence in Kosovo quickly and thereby creating the conditions for the refugees to turn around and to go back and to try to rebuild their lives and the focus of the ambassadors meeting this morning, Ladies and Gentlemen, was very much on what can we do rapidly, urgently, to mobilise our resources to help deal with this refugee calamity which is now facing the entire region.

As you know, I reported on this a short while ago, we have a team from NATO Headquarters Southern Europe in Albania assessing their needs. The Italian government has sent its San Marco Battalion to Albania to help with the immediate task of food distribution, building tent cities, dealing with sanitation and medical assistance. The Greek forces that have been in Albania helping the government for some time are also being redeployed to this effort. This morning the NAC directed SACEUR to in turn direct General Jackson, the Commander of NATO's Enabling Force in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia to do whatever he can within his means and capabilities to use the NATO soldiers there to assist with the inflow of refugees, particularly with the border crossings and we will be doing whatever we can there immediately and in the very near future. At the same time this morning the NATO military authorities were tasked to look on an urgent basis at additional things that we may be able to do to support the UNHCR with logistics, with transport, with planning, with any other type of activity which the military tends to be able to do well in these type of situations and I will be reporting on this subject of course in coming briefings.

We have sent a NATO liaison team to Geneva to the UNHCR and working over the week-end with them. We will be attempting to come up with a package of NATO support that we can present to the Donors' Conference, the UNHCR Donors' Conference which is going to take place on April 6th and then thereafter to the EU's special EU meeting on the same topic in Brussels next week so I would like to stress that we are mobilised fully now in addressing this problem. NATO did not create this problem, we all know who created it, but NATO countries and NATO itself will do everything in their power to provide at least part of the solution and on an urgent basis.

We continue as you know to take a very close interest in the security and the stability of the neighbouring countries. Yesterday we met them altogether, that is to say Albania, Bosnia Hertzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Slovenia and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia to exchange, news, views, information and those meetings willl continue. The next one will be next Tuesday.

Now, David has commented in his briefings and again today on the impact, growing impact, that we are having on the Serb military machine, but there is a topic which I would like to mention briefly which I don't think really has been picked up by many in the international press over the last few days which is the impact of Milosovic's machine on Yugoslavia itself. We all know the impact it is having naturally on the people of Kosovo, that is too graphic to be ignored, but there are also growing signs that these miltary activities are having an increasingly straining effect on Yugoslavia itself.

Already in 1997, even before the current round of operations began, well over 8% of GDP in Yugoslavia was going on defence which is four times the European norm in a country where the GDP per capita was assessed then at 5,000 USD per individual. And we see now increased signs over the last few days of shortages of fuel, even bread becoming scarce. Diesel has disappeared almost entirely because it is all going to the military effort even though the government has tried to explain this by saying that it has gone to the agricultural sector. There is now a call-up, increasing call-up's going towards males of between 18 and 60 who are not able to leave the country as a result. Reports of confiscations of passports as well I am going to be examining. I think it is something worth examining as well because as I have tried to point out in these briefings, the consequences for what is happening in Kosovo is first and foremost of course a tragedy for the Kosovo Albanians, but I think there are also signs that this is hardly serving the other peoples of Yugoslavia either.

And I will conclude where David concluded. We are going to continue, including over this week-end, we are going to do everything we can. Because we haven't been able to prevent evil from occurring over the last few days is not a reason not to try to stop more evil occurring in the future and that is what we are going to do and we will be increasingly successful but I can only repeat what the Secretary General said yesterday, we will stop only when President Milosovic stops. We go now to questions.

Thomas.... : Have you got any response from Ibrahim Rugova on the invitation to come to Brussels ?

Jamie Shea : No we haven't yet and I am sure that if he were able to respond freely he would do so because he has been invited to Bonn as well as you saw. In fact it is a great pity that we are not able to hear at the moment, nor are you able to hear at the moment from most of the 16 members of the Kosovar Albanian Delegation at the Rambouillet talks. We hear a great deal as you know from Mr. Draskovic and many other officials in Belgrade but we don't hear very much from Surroy or the others who before the current crisis were eloquent spokesmen. So that is all I can say on that one.


Jonathan Marcus, BBC World Service : Could you say a little more on the situation in Montenegro and also obviously with the reports of the changes to the army command there and so on. NATO has clearly tried to avoid hitting all but air defence targets in Montenegro. Are there military options that could be taken against barracks or other military installations if there were to be some real evidence of a move by Mr. Milosovic to further destabilise that province ?

Jamie Shea: Well certainly we are very concerned, Jonathan, with the situation vis-a-vis Serbia and Montenegro which is obviously a very tense one at the moment. In fact you saw yesterday that 8 generals, essentially of the 2nd army in Montenegro were replaced. In fact it seems that many army chiefs have been replaced in Yugoslavia over the last months because they have thought that the constitution of Yugoslavia was a valid document and the constitution of Yugoslavia expressly forbids the army to be used against its own people. Like most other countries it suggests that the real role of the army is to guard the country against external dangers but not to be used in aggression against its own citizens. I would like to think that what happened with the replacement of these officers suggests that there are a number of very decent people in the Yugoslav military who are genuinely appalled by what is being done in their name. But on your precise question, we are very concerned with the crisis in Montenegro. You have heard some very clear statements, particularly from the U.S. and other allies, the U.K., Mr. Cook yesterday, and I think that they represent fully the sentiments of the Alliance and I hope that those are words that President Milosovic will heed.

Johnsson, Norwegian Daily : What can any of you two say about the situation on the Russian vessels reportedly going out from the Black Sea Fleet. What is the level of the contact, if any, with the Russians regarding this subject ?

Air Commodore Wilby: Well you have all read in the Press that the Russians don't want to get involved in this. We are aware of the movements of their vessels and we know that they may be coming in to the Mediterranean and we are watching very carefully.

Jamie Shea: I have nothing to add to that.

Craig Whitney, New York Times: I have a question for Air Commodore. The British Defence briefing today mentioned that B1's had come into action last night. Can you tell us anything about their role last night in this campaign.

Air Commodore Wilby: I think that just goes to underscore the comments I made about increasing the tempo and the effectiveness of our campaign.

Steven Bates, The Guardian : You mentioned in your briefing about reports and evidence of Kosovar males being used as human shields. Earlier in the week you said you didn't have any evidence. What is the evidence now and where are they and what action are you taking when you find they are near targets ?

Jamie Shea: Steven, unless I am wrong I don't believe I spoke of evidence. I spoke of reports, but when I speak of reports in these briefings it is only when we have had them from a number of sources, but I always say reports. The fact we don't have total certainty is not a reason for not sharing real concerns with you that we have and so yes there is this mystery of the males. There are too many of them to be ignored, that' s one particular suggestion indication that we have, but as we get more information within the next couple of days I hope to be able to say for certain what has happened. But I think again it is a question which you can legitimately put to the Yugoslav government, they're in charge in Kosovo - where are the men ?

ABC News : We are hearing report from the Russian News Agency saying that the bits of downed plane are being brought back to Russia, is that true and does that concern you ?

Air Commodore Wilby: I have no information at all to give on that I am afraid.

Jamie Shea: Me neither unfortunately

Luc Rosenzweig : Je voulais savoir si a la reunion des ambassadeurs on a evoque, simplement evoque la possibilite d'intervention terrestre.

Jamie Shea: Non. Pour l'instant, Luc, la situation, la position de l'Alliance reste inchangee, reste la meme, a savoir que nous sommes prets a mettre sur le terrain une force de mise-en-oeuvre d'un plan de paix librement accepte par les deux parties. Mais que nous ne croyons pas dans la perspective d'une force qui serait en quelque sorte entree par la force au Kosovo. Voila la situation actuelle qui est inchangee.

Doug Hamilton : I have got a question for both gentlemen. I think NATO's message is getting across that it is degrading the war machine and so on and is now attacking infrastructure targets, but we see Milosovic having coffee with the Vatican Delegation, the lights are on in Belgrade, the buses are running and above all an important part of the war machine, the State Television, is still on the air. All this while members of the Allied Rapid Reaction Force in Macedonia are putting up tents and distributing blankets. Are you doing enough to stop the ethnic cleansing or is that no longer the aim to stop it in its tracks. Have you retreated to the idea of putting people back after this is all over ?

Air Commodore Wilby: I am not sure what the linkage was before with the first part of your question and the second part of your question, but all I would say Doug, is that our goals have not changed since the time we started

Jamie Shea: Doug, if I may let me have a crack at that. Let me come back to my first point, we are not using the methods of Milosovic and we are not going to. You may see that as a constraint, we see it as an advantage because we are democracies. We avoid collateral damage, we avoid targetting civilians and again I repeat our argument is not with the people of Yugoslavia. If they could see on their TV screens every evening what we are seeing on our TV screens, they would be as equally horrified. They are decent people and as I tried to show a moment ago, they are also, although not on the same scale as the Kosovar Albanians, suffering from the policies. And so our quarrel is with the Government. Having said that, this is the type of situation which I would invite you to see in terms of water building up behind a dam, it builds up, it builds up and everything looks stable on the surface, but suddenly the pressure becomes too great and the dam bursts all of a sudden and I think we will see the same. There will come a stage where the NATO pressure will build up, will build up and suddenly without any pre-arranged signals, the dam will burst and the Yugoslav forces will withdraw from Kosovo. Milosovic will announce that he is now going to stop that campaign of repression and we can then start looking as I said towards the future, getting the refugees back, getting the political process back. But don' t expect as it were the lights to go out one by one, it will be a sudden development.

Doug Hamilton : Will Yugoslav State TV go off the air ?

Jamie Shea: I don't know if State TV will go off the air, not at all, that is of course for the government to decide, but I think it would be nice if the government put NATO on the TV in the same way that Western TVs are putting Belgrade on. At least we could talk then about a level playing field.

Turkish Newspaper : I want to know if you have further information about the three soldiers, I heard this morning that .......... Serbian Police while he wanted to pass to the Yugoslav borders. Do you have any details about it ?

Air Commodore Wilby: I have no more information to release on the three American soldiers except of course that we are very mindful of their welfare and the problems that their families may be experiencing. We are continuing to investigate the reasons surrounding the incident for their disappearance. In terms of the journalist that you mentioned, I believe that that journalist has now been released, but I cannot give you too much collateral on that.

Augustin..... : Considering that people in Pristina are starving and also in Pogorusa region, are you considering the possibility to throw the food from the air as you did in Bosnia, that's the first question and the second question also for Air Commodore Wilby, do you have information that Serbia is now using aCatholic Church in Albania, as a military hospital ?

Jamie Shea: Well the first question is that no I can't give you anything specific on that today, although I did see the interesting proposal from my counterpart, and the other Jamie, Jamie Rubin, yesterday speaking on behalf of the U.S. government, but as I mentioned the NATO military authorities have been directed to look at whatever we can do as an Alliance to help to coordinate international relief efforts and you are quite right to bring up this topic of the 250,000 people who are still displaced within Kosovo and whose plight in many respects is even worse than those refugees who have at least been able to get to safety over the frontier and into the hands of the international relief organizations and I have seen from the World Food program some quite sobering reports about the problems of food and water distribution and about the hunger that could be a reality for these people very soon, so this is obviously a major challenge but I can't tell you yet how the international community is going to be able to address it.

Air Commodore Wilby: Let me just take the second part of that question. First of all let me just put another perspective on the question of doing airdrops. How would you feel if one of our aircraft fought its way in over hostile territory, dropped supplies and found that those supplies were actually going to refurbish the supplies of the Serbian Military and Military forces on the ground, probably enhancing their current ration. That would not be a good thing. As to the Catholic church, you told me that in the week and we have taken great note of that.

Journalist : Regarding the humanitarian side EU Commissioner Emma Bonino, has called for an armed protection for eventual humanitarian missions of the European Union. What do you think about a suggestion like that including ground forces which is stressed ?

Jamie Shea: This was a topic the whole general topic of what NATO can do, with its military assets to help the current international relief efforts in Albania and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia that we discussed as you know today and again I can't give you specifics at the moment except to say that obviously Allies are already sending in military aircraft, military supplies to help the effort. Ships are going, C130's are now landing around the clock and I mentioned in particular two allies that had small forces deployed in Albania to help and we are looking at the scope for a larger effort to provide transport, communications, planning logistic support to the UNHCR and other international organizations. Certainly it is true that if the military side and the civilian agencies could work together with in simbiosis you can often achieve rapid results, but we had of course first of all listen carefully to what they have to tell us regarding their needs and that is why we have got now this liaison team now down in Geneva at the UNHCR. Then of course do some military planning to see what we can achieve in short order. So I hope to be able to say more on this in coming briefings, but let me just assure you that this is being treated as a matter of the utmost urgency in the Alliance.

Sarah Green : It has been repeatedly stated the commitment of NATO allies to see refugees returned, it has been repeatedly stated. I am wondering apart from wishful thinking that Mr. Milosovic on some occasion will simply say "yes, yes, I would love to have them back" what would that kind of commitment imply ?

Jamie Shea: Well I am not an expert on humanitarian situations, Sarah, but it is clear from our experience in Bosnia over the last four years with the SFOR mission that refugees return only when they are protected. If they feel the same is going to happen to them again, if they feel that their house is going to be burned down the minute they are reconstructed then they will not wish to return, even though their situations in other countries may not be much better either. So security is the fundamental thing, they have to know that when they go back they are not going to be within a matter of months harassed, intimidated, forced to leave again by the security forces. That is why we believe that any peace settlement has to be accompanied by an international military implementation force and we have offered as you know to lead one which would be there to create the environment of safety for the refugees to go back and for the humanitarian relief organizations to be able to operate. And if you look at what we have done in Bosnia in this respect I think it is quite an example of military humanitarianism. We've rebuilt roads, we've rebuilt the entire railway system of the country, repaired the telephones. We even have a certain so-called CIMIC in SFOR with architects and planners that are redesigning whole apartment blocks in Sarajevo. I have seen that myself. I am not saying that we will do quite the same thing in Kosovo but I would hope we would.

Christine Savage : I would like to address a financial question if possible. I would appreciate figures but if not proportion between the money that was used for this air campaign and the money which would be possibly for humanitarian purposes and I hope for reconstruction of objects that were hit during campaign in the rest of Yugoslavia. Who will pay for all that ?

Jamie Shea: Well unfortunately the trend so far quite frankly is that Mr. Milosovic breaks the china and leaves the international community, the task and the duty to stick it back together again. But having said that this is a situation in which we are going to have to pay on both fronts and we will pay on both fronts. It is very important to spend money to cure people that have cancer, but it is just as important to spend money on cancer research to find a cure for cancer and as I have said earlier, our military campaign is designed to bring about a situation where we stop the violence once and for all and therefore allow refugees to go back and that is the only ultimate solution to the humanitarian crisis, but of course on the other hand we face the reality while we achieve that objective that we have got a lot of very cold, very wet, suffering people with absolutely no money, no identity cards, separated from their families, marooned against their will in neighbouring countries and naturally we have a humanitarian duty to address that.

Air Commodore Wilby: I think it is also worth mentioning that the cost of this air campaign is being borne voluntarily by a number of nations throughout the Alliance and they are putting that money up freely to try and help the situation, to try and help the Kosovar Albanians.

Jamie Shea: Yes and if I might just add on that one you have seen in the last few days and If anybody is interested I do have a fact sheet in my office of all of the various contributions of allies and they are impressive

Freddy Bonnard : Jamie you mentioned just now in answer to a previous question if I am not mistaken, in connection with the peacekeepers, an internationally led force. Does that mean that NATO no longer insists on a NATO led peacekeeping force ?

Jamie Shea: Freddy I hope I didn't mis-speak, what I hope I said is that there has to be an international military presence and NATO has offered to lead that force.

Steven Dirckx - BRT : Thanks Jamie, I have a question for you and for the Air Commodore. First for the Air Commodore maybe, you have been talking about an air campaign essentially on track, about increasing the degrading the FRY forces, but could you at least give us after a week a more precise assessment, for instance what portion of the air defence has been damaged or destroyed, what portion of the FRY forces operating in Kosovo have been immobilized ? And for Jamie, Jamie you have addressed the aid efforts to refugees in Albania and Macedonia, but what Commisioner Bonnino was talking about was about armed protection to bring sorely needed humanitarian aid in to Kosovo. Do you think that that's a reallistic proposal at this stage and might NATO envisage a role for itself in such a form of armed protection ?

Air Commodore Wilby: Let me try and answer the first part and what I will reiterate is that I don't want to talk percentages. On Wednesday I gave a fairly impassioned summary of where I thought we were. Yesterday in his resume of the week, SACEUR gave you, a very, I think, impressive and very comprehensive view of the targets that we have struck throughout the area. All that I can say to you is that we have had a campaign which has systematically been addressing all the elements throughout the integrated air defence system. We have been going for command and control facilities, we have been going for logistics locations. You have seen me show you pictures of ammunition dumps that have been taken out, of petrol facilities. We are hitting hard, but I have not been able to show you and for that I am deeply sorry, I have not been able to give you evidence of the forces, the tanks on the ground in Kosova that we have been striking. That partially because of the weather and partially because of the sort of imagery and the sort of reproduction that we can give you is difficult for you to make out unless you look as a trained person under a trained scope. What I can reiterate is that throughout this campaign we have achieved a tremendous amount. We will continue to go on to intensify our campaign. I have said that we now have additional assets and we will continue very hard.

Jamie Shea: Steven - the part of the question addressed to me - we are looking principally at the moment at what we can do to help the humanitarian relief organizations in Albania and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. At the moment our strategy for dealing with the humanitarian crisis in Kosovo itself is to stop the war. That's the situation at the moment.

Journalist from the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia : Can you just tell us a few more words more precisely about the role of the Euro Atlantic Disaster Response Coordination Center in this humanitarian crisis.

Jamie Shea: It is a Center which is used to coordinate NATO's contributions, excuse me the contribution of the NATO member states to the UNHCR. Let me give you an example. A while ago the UNHCR had a major pile of food in Sarajevo which they needed to move in to Tirana last year to deal with the first influx of refugees into Albania from Kosovo. They asked to help, we used this institution to phone up NATO countries, we identified some C-130 transport aircraft which we then flew in to Sarajevo, picked up the food, flew it to Tirana and dropped it in to the hands of the UNHCR. So that is a practical example of what it does.

Journalist : We have been hearing a lot about bad weather throughout this campaign and please could you be a little bit more specific with us, what is this bad weather. I mean we have been seeing correspondonts from the outlying areas and also from Belgrade, I don' t see hurricanes, could you please be a little bit more specific about the bad weather, how this is affecting your operation, what is the forecast looking like for the next couple of days and if the forecast improves how much more will you be able to do ?

Air Commodore Wilby: I have tried to answer this question during the week and of course it is the one that will keep coming up. I speak of technology and then I say that because of bad weather we have not always been able to drop on all our targets. Now you see people on the ground, you don't see hurricanes, but what you see is a very thick layer of cloud between the ground and the open sky. Now depending upon that layer of cloud there is obviously a blanket on some of our sensors, on some of the ways on which we are able to visualise and see our targets. Now some of our aircraft and some of our platforms can prosecute their targets without having to see the targets they are going for. They have very accurate equipment.

Others, and I have said continually this week that our aim is to hit the target and not to cause collateral damage to any surrounding areas. You have seen the effects of the bombs that we have dropped and the missiles that we have launched. We need to put those on the target, so if someone is in the cockpit and he has got to see the target all the way down to the ground he has to make sure that he can see that target and if he doesn't he is professional enough to not hit that target and bring his bombs back. The other way in which the weather is affecting us is in my ability to show you some of the imagery that otherwise I could show you.

Our attacks are still going on, we are still managing to hit targets out in the open but what I can't show you because I don't have the right capability to show you in this particular room is the precise 24 carat evidence of those bombs striking the ground alongside the units that we have been attacking. Now that is the problem that I have. As soon as either the weather clears or as soon as we have the ability and we have the ability, but as soon as we have it in place to show you and bring you those results, I for one will be very very grateful because it will get me off this hook that I am wriggling on day after day. I can assure you though that from the evidence in teh cockpit, from the evidence that we are getting from some of our sensors, the attacks that we are prosecuting through the weather are being very successful.

Journalist : Les forces de l'UCK confirment que leur position au Kosovo ont ete bombardees par l'armee yougoslave. Si c'est le cas, quel est le niveau de controle que l'OTAN a acquis sur l'espace aerien yougoslave apres 10 jours de frappes.

Air Commodore Wilby: Forgive me I didn't quite catch the first part of that question, in terms of its being bombed I said it was being bombed by tanks and artillery the other day. I have also in the week said that there are evidence of helicopters and some small aircraft, the super galibs that have been in operation. The problem is, for us, sometimes the distances involved between those aircraft going from their base to the target are very very small. A lot of our platforms are not optimised to look for such a small target going such a small distance and then for us to be able to prosecute, but what I can say to you that because of our campaign, because of the logistics against those airbases where you have seen us taking out aircraft, you have seen us taking out aircraft hardened shelters, we have been systematically destroying their capability and the aircraft that they have got to prosecute us.

Bill Drozdiak, Washington Post : Jamie do you know what happened to those two MIG pilots that were shot down a week ago. At first they were said to be captured and then you said you didn't know and secondly and quickly if any command and control sites been hit in downtown Belgrade ?

Jamie Shea: Bill, the veteran of many a conflict. I don't have any information about the two pilots, but their whereabouts as far as I know are unknown. If I hear anything I will let you know and I have also undertaken to correct any information immediately where we have got our facts wrong. Hopefully there won' t be too many. On the other hand no I haven't had news of any targets that have been hit in central Belgrade. There have been some military places as you well know in the vicinity of Belgrade which have been struck but not in central Belgrade itself.

Ladies and Gentlemen thank you.

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