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Updated: 6 April 1999 Press Conferences

NATO HQ

6 Apr. 1999

Press Conference

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

(Presentation Photo)

Jamie Shea: Ladies and gentlemen, good afternoon. I apologise for being a few moments late today. Air Commodore Wilby will begin the briefing today.

Air Commodore Wilby: Thank you Jamie. Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen.

Our air operation has gained further momentum with the improving weather situation and additional asset participating in the campaign. The number of sorties has increased significantly. We have achieved good results against a broad range of targets throughout Yugoslavia. All of our aircraft have returned safely to their home bases.

In Kosovo yesterday, Serbian army and special police armoured brigades continued to concentrate their efforts in the west between Pec and Djakovica and along the Kosovo-Albanian border. The situation of the UCK remains the same.

NATO forces in Kosovo are making enormous efforts to assist the refugees still pouring into Macedonia. This image, taken yesterday, shows some of the thousands of people waiting at the border to enter the former Yugoslav republic of Macedonia. Our efforts are in full swing and yesterday some 33 humanitarian relief flights landed in Macedonia and unloaded their cargoes of food, tentage, medical supplies, sleeping bags, mattresses and cots. More than 20,000 refugees have been settled in the tented village created by the ARRC at a small airfield in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia; total bed spaces now number 32,000. So far the ARRC has supplied and moved 36 tons of food, 7 tons of medical supplies, a water purification plant and 100 tons of tentage.

Turning to our air operations, these have intensified during the last two days and yesterday we attacked a full range of targets throughout the FRY and Kosovo, the target areas are shown here. Targets included bridges, air defence radars and communications, airfields, police headquarters and more petroleum facilities. To illustrate the success of our attacks on his fuel supplies, this is a "before" - and you can see in red the targets that we were going for, the aim points - and here is an "after" shot and you can see the extent of the damage.

Incidentally, the building with the chimneys, bordered in blue, is the heating plant that the FRY authorities accused us of targeting. You can see that this facility was not targeted but it may have been partially damaged by the fires that raged in the fuel depot. This second image is of a storage depot that has virtually been destroyed; this, once again, is a "before", and "after" shot and I think the pictures will tell their own story.

Last night we struck a military facility at Aleksinac home of the 203rd mixed artillery brigade. It is possible that one of our weapons fell short of the target. Despite our meticulous and careful pre-attack planning, the law of statistics will, at some stage, go against us and we will be exposed to technical defect. Thus, while the cockpit indications and release parameters may have been achieved successfully, after release, technical failure such as a guidance fault in the final stages of trajectory, could cause an impact error.

We have not been able to complete a full investigation into last night's incident, but it is possible that such a rare fault might have occurred. Equally, weapon trajectory could also be affected by enemy fire from ground defences. Whatever the reason, any unintended damage to civilian property or loss of life is very much regretted.

We also continued our attacks against Serbian fielded forces. Yesterday, I think it is fair to say that despite good weather, although our attacks have restricted the units from combat duties, we have not achieved the level of damage on these forces that we would have liked. However, we are continually adapting our tactics to resolve this frustrating situation. I would like to show you some imagery which illustrates that we are moving very close to achieving our aim by locating fielded forces operating in Kosovo.

You will see in the circles in red various tanks and radar units on the ground. Air defence activity was light yesterday and, once again, all our aircraft returned safely. Whilst we claim no airborne claims, we can now confirm that two days ago, we destroyed four MiGs on the ground.

I can show you cockpit video of one of yesterday's attacks. As you will see, the clip shows a very successful strike on an ammunition storage area, ammunition that now will never be used again in Kosovo. Watch for four bombs coming in from the left of the screen.

Even as I speak operations are ongoing against Serbian armoured forces on the ground in Kosovo and I can tell you from a telephone call which I received only 15 minutes ago that already today we have had encouraging results.

I look forward to updating you further tomorrow. I can assure you that our pursuit and attack of these units, which have caused so much distress to so many, will be relentless.

Jamie.


Jamie Shea: David, thank you very much.

Ladies and gentlemen, from the political side today, first of all NATO Ambassadors meeting earlier warmly welcomed the quick and very important decision of the Albanian government to authorize the stationing of the US Apache helicopters in Albania. We now will ask our military commanders to coordinate directly with the Albanian government for the practical details of this deployment and we hope obviously to have the Apaches there in the extremely near future.

Let me also state once more the well-known NATO position that NATO will view with the utmost seriousness any attack by Yugoslavia on Albania, particularly as a consequence of its support for Alliance operations. Again, the focus of the meeting today was very much on the humanitarian situation in and around Kosovo. We see an almost identical figure of people leaving Kosovo yesterday - 40,000 - exactly the same as the previous day. 22,000 of these displaced, deported persons have gone to Albania, bringing the total now to 244,000, and just to give you a rough impression of what that is like for a country such as Albania in terms of a percentage of its population, if we took more or less the same proportion to Turkey it would mean an extra 6,000,000 people; to Germany an extra 8,000,000 people, and to the United States it would mean over 20,000,000 extra people.

So you can well imagine the considerable burden that these deported refugees are placing on Albania, and therefore the urgency with which NATO is responding to the situation in terms of providing all of the assistance that we can. Already we have established - the NATO forces in Albania have established - three camps which are providing refuge for 10,000 people. We are going to expand that capability in the next few days, so that there would be provision for 25,000. Helicopters are being flown by NATO pilots between Tirana and Kukes, providing of course emergency supplies, but at the same time evacuating those that are sick and need urgent medical attention, and we are providing rations, medical care and water sanitation facilities to the refugees in Albania.

The Deputy Secretary General, Ambassador Balanzino, who is on a tour of the area, as you know, will be in Tirana later today and he will be going up to Kukes tomorrow to make a first-hand assessment of the situation. I should add that this morning Ambassador Balanzino has been in Skopje in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and of course has also been visiting General Jackson, talking to the troops there, encouraging them in the very good work they're accomplishing and also assessing the situation at first hand.

Of course, we continue to be very preoccupied with the serious situation of the deported, displaced persons in the so-called no-man's-land between the Albanian border and the border of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia; in Kosovo itself, where 65,000 people are still currently trapped waiting to be able to leave, and of course we're very worried at the prospects of disease and the fact that as they wait, more and more may be in a very life-threatening situation indeed. Incidentally, over the last days we've also noted a significant increase in the number of refugees going to Bosnia Herzegovina - it was 7,900 in the past few days.

Now, NATO continues to play its full role, as I was stressing a moment ago, and just before coming along I was on the phone to the headquarters of the Allied forces in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and I think that they are now beginning to have a big impact on the situation. There has been an appreciable difference since NATO got involved in this situation. A refugee assistance centre has been set up at Brasde - it now has 20,000 refugees and more can be accommodated as we go ahead. Six sites have been established - veritable tent cities - to receive refugees and certain elements of the Marine Expeditionary Unit have now arrived in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and they are also directly assisting with tents and humanitarian relief.

You've probably seen the pictures on TV, which I can assure you are totally authentic, of NATO soldiers working all night, through the night, cooking meals for the refugees and bringing in supplies from the airports and putting up tents. So they're making a superhuman effort to cope with the situation and David gave you some figures. I have some more, which I think are just as impressive as David's, if I may say, on what General Jackson and the men and women under his command have been able to do . They have been able to deliver 355 tonnes of food and water, 13 tonnes of medical supplies, 700 tonnes of tentage - this is since the beginning, I think David's figures relate to the last 24 hours - but this is since the beginning of their involvement - i.e. over the last three days - 80 tonnes of beds and blankets, 125 tonnes of general stores. This adds up to a fairly staggering 1,373 tonnes of humanitarian relief. And this is the good samaritan at his very best.

At the same time we are still working on essential aspects of coordinating our assistance with the other institutions, organizations. Today in Geneva, as you know, there is a major meeting under the chairmanship of Madame Ogata, of the UNHCR. NATO of course is participating. At the same time, this morning the Military Committee passed on to the North Atlantic Council two Concepts of Operations. The first one is for a NATO-led humanitarian airlift operation, the second one is for an establishment of a NATO headquarters in Albania, to be followed by a small but significant NATO force to help coordinate the humanitarian relief and I expect these two concepts to be approved by the NAC in the very near future indeed. Incidentally, as part of our ongoing consultations, exchange of information with the countries in the region, we are anticipating having here on Friday a 19+1, in other words a NATO+1 meeting with the Foreign Minister of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.

Now, at the same time, this morning the NATO Ambassadors once again turned to the very painful, but unavoidable, topic of the human rights abuses, violations of international humanitarian law and war crimes, which have been going on in Kosovo over recent months and with greater intensity of course over the last few days and weeks. NATO governments and international organisations, non- governmental organisations, are accumulating more and more evidence of the strategy of Milosevic to deport not just individuals, but the entire population of Kosovo. The type of population transfers that we have not seen since the times of Stalin. In other words, we now know a number of different categories where these basic principles of humanitarian law and human rights have been violated.

The first one is the forcible displacement of ethnic Albanian civilians. Already the bulk of the population of Kosovo has been driven from their homes even if upwards of a million remain in Kosovo today. That doesn't mean that they are living in their homes, they are not. The Serb claim that this is the result of NATO airstrikes is the latest version of The Big Lie. Refugees have been expelled from their homes at gunpoint. We believed some months ago, when this conflict first broke out in March of last year, that the bulk of the refugees were people who had been displaced by the fighting or to escape Serb reprisals, but now we know better.

The refugees are not the unfortunate by-product of the Serb violence in Kosovo, they are the reason and object of that violence and it's no longer simply a matter of small villages being affected, or those areas which had links with the Kosovo Liberation Army, it's now the entire territory and towns and cities too, with house-to-house searches, and house-to-house looting, both before and after the expulsions. Documents have been confiscated, people have been told to have a last look around because they won't be coming back, and often not only have their identity documents been taken away but they've had to trade in their property rights in exchange for a train ticket to oblivion. And that is now well-documented by all of the refugees that have been coming over the border. One or two individuals may not tell the truth, but when you hear the same stories from hundreds of thousands, they must be on to something true.

The second category is the looting of homes and businesses, particularly to ensure that Kosovar Albanians will have no incentive to be able to go back later - and houses, by the way, which were rented to international personnel such as those belonging to the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe - have been particularly burned in these operations.

The third category is detentions. We know that many, many men of military age have disappeared, they have been systematically separated from other groups. Many of the refugees arriving at the borders have been women and children. We don't know the numbers of the lost generation, as it were, of young males in Kosovo. It could be anything from tens of thousands to a hundred thousand plus. But we do know, particularly from human rights groups, that have meticulously researched this in the last few days, that there have been important disappearances from the Malevso (phonetic spelling) area. And we have reports from many refugees of detention centres being set up in the soccer stadium at Pec or the sports complex at Pristina. There are even reports of Kosovar women also being detained. Again, I have to come back to the question I asked a few days ago, and to which we still don't have a reply, "what has happened to all of these men?"

The fourth category is that of summary executions. Many refugees have been reporting summary executions in at least 50 towns and villages throughout Kosovo. We have at least one highly-corroborated report now of a summary execution at Balekekrusa (phonetic spelling), and again international organisations are gathering as much information as they can to try to put the jigsaw puzzle together. I would like again to make it clear that all Allied governments share the view that those who are responsible for violations of human rights, international humanitarian law, war crimes, will be held responsible. There will be no impunity and no hiding place.

Finally, I'd like to stress that we are going to carry on. We've been carrying on now for 13 days, and we are determined to carry on for as long as it takes to meet our objectives. The result is not in doubt, it's simply a matter of when that result is going to be achieved. President Milosevic has tried, but he has failed in his strategy to weaken the resolve of the international community. He has not been able to destabilize the surrounding countries even though he has tried. NATO stands beside those countries and we will assist them in every way we can. We will not allow this conflict to spill over. Secondly, he has not divided the Alliance. That may be something which has surprised him, but it's very, very true.

Thirdly, he has not been able to convince public opinion that Serbia is the victim. All too clearly we have seen who is the victim and who is the victimizer, and he remains the person who bears the full responsibility for the human tragedy that we have witnessed in Kosovo. So he has no alternative but to meet the demands of the international community. And NATO will continue until ethnic cleansing has been reversed and justice has been done. Thank you.

Journalist: Two questions please. After the deployment of the Apache helicopters, what will be the status of Albania? Is Albania being drawn into the conflict? Is it a Partner of NATO, is it at war with Milosevic? That's the first question. The second question is: with the Apaches, it's lower flights, more vulnerable to war. Does it mean that NATO is more prepared to accept losses and victims in the war?

Jamie Shea: Well, the first part of that question is the political part, and then there's a military operational part for David. No, there is no war with Yugoslavia, and therefore Albania is not being drawn into that. Quite the reverse. Albania is simply assisting the international community to put a stop to the human tragedy which has also affected Albania in a very direct and immediate way, as we know. And we are very grateful for that support and for that solidarity. Anything that helps us put a stop to this situation as rapidly as possible is going to help everybody, so we're grateful once again for that measure. As for NATO's position vis--vis Albania, I think I made it clear in my remarks.

Air Commodore Wilby: As to the risk of the environment, you will know that we have now spent some 13 days - 14 if you include today - attacking the integrated air defence system. By the time the Apache helicopters enter the fray, then I can assure you that we will have done severe damage and disruption to that particular system, and I think you should also bear in mind that the Apache is very much optimized, it's designed to operate in that sort of environment to go in on the ground with very sophisticated aids, and they're very well-trained for it. So, I think it's a case of using the best assets when you can.

Journalist: Air Commodore, you mentioned that you had had some successes last night against the Serbian forces on the ground in Kosovo, but you omitted to go any further, to explain just how successful that had been - I know you want to fill us in with every detail on that. The second point is that I must push you a little bit further on Aleksinac I think. Was the area that was hit - the area that was hit by the missiles - especially close to the Serb barracks, or was it do you think a missile that had malfunctioned especially badly? Which of those occurred?

Air Commodore Wilby: Ok, let me answer the first part of your question, and I didn't actually say how successful we'd been against fielded forces on the ground, I said to you that we were still very much continuing our attack. What I said was that today we have had very encouraging results against those forces. In terms of our attack against Aleksinac last night, I have evidence of some damage around about 600 metres just short of the target. That's all I can tell you.

Barry Schlockter, Night Ritter newspapers: Air Commodore, when you said attacking ground forces, are you attacking actual troops in addition to armour? And Dr. Shea, how concerned is NATO about the air campaign strengthening the resolve of the Yugoslav public?

Air Commodore Wilby: First of all, as to attacking troops, it is difficult enough to see armour on the ground let alone people on the ground, so our attacks are carried out against armoured units, against the actual armour.

Jamie Shea: Well, on the second aspect of your question, it's probably beyond doubt that NATO's actions have led to an upsurge of nationalism in Serbia itself. Of course, as I pointed out, if the Serb people were able to see the television pictures of the suffering in Kosovo - and I don't believe they are allowed to see those pictures - then I think that many of them would be deeply ashamed. That's the first thing. Secondly, NATO's made it clear all along that this is not a quarrel that we have with the Serb people, but with the government in Belgrade, and I believe that that nationalism will be short-lived quite frankly, because if any leader in a democratic country came before the electorate and said "ladies and gentlemen, since I became your leader, two-thirds of the original country in which you live has gone.

Serbs that once lived in Croatia, in Bosnia and in other areas, including in Kosovo, have been forced to abandon their homes, have suffered because of the nationalism I have unleashed. When I became your leader you were amongst the prosperous people of Europe, you had foreign bank accounts, you didn't have to get visas to travel to other countries, you were welcomed with open arms in Swiss ski resorts and Spanish beach hotels. Now, the GDP which I inherited at the end of the 80s has shrunk by over 50 per cent, inflation has now gone up around 70 per cent, the Dinar collapses every month. Instead of being amongst the wealthiest of post-Communist Europe, with the greatest prospect of being in the forefront of those applying to join the European Union, you are a pariah state, suffering the worst economic sanctions and your per capita income has dwindled to well below 5,000 dollars, when the rest of Europe has gone in totally the opposite direction". I don't believe I would be re-elected if that were my record.

And I hope the Serb people, whatever their current, obviously, feeling perhaps of animosity towards NATO would take a step back from it all and say "has this government really served us well over the last few years, and would we really re-elect it if we had the choice?" And my message, of course, in all of these briefings to the Serb people is, once we've put this Kosovo business behind us, let us look at what we can do to help Yugoslavia emerge from this status of a pariah state and take the place in Europe which the people's greatness and ingeniosity deserves, quite frankly. A great people, badly served by its leaders.

Doug Hamilton, Reuters: Air Commodore Wilby, you showed some pictures of tanks, can you tell us if these tanks were hit and destroyed, or is there a difference between what you were able to show from reconnaissance pictures and targets, and can you tell us what you did to the Belgrade-Pristina road? And for Jamie, is it not possible to take pictures of the football stadium in Pristina, the soccer complex in Pec, to actually see these people being herded?

Air Commodore Wilby: First of all - and I was very careful with my words - I showed you that we were making great inroads into getting our intelligence right up to date to attack the forces in the field. The images I showed you came from yesterday, and clearly depicted those units which we have located. What we are doing today is pressing home our attacks very hard against those located units. They will continue to move but we will now continue to track them and hit them successfully.

Jamie Shea: Doug, in reply to your question, I'm sure if NATO governments are able to have direct photography or whatever of these situations, that those will be things that can be passed to the International War Crimes Tribunal in due course, which continues to have jurisdiction obviously over the Former Yugoslavia, including Kosovo, but we already have a lot of direct evidence coming in from these refugees who have had, as you know, some very frightening stories to tell as they've come across the border, so I think there's not going to be any shortage of concrete evidence for war crimes indictments when the time comes and when Justice Arbour is able to undertake her investigations.

(break in text)

Air Commodore Wilby: Would you like to be a little more precise with your question?

Doug Hamilton: I think this morning we were told that the Belgrade-Pristina highway - a main resupply route - was attacked and damaged but more than damaged I don't think we were told.

Air Commodore Wilby: OK, as you know, we have attacked several bridges over the last couple of nights and we will continue to attack those bridges which we have looked at very carefully. They're not bridges that we pick at random, they're bridges that we have picked as very important lines of communication, over which vital supplies for those Serbian police forces and troops down in Kosovo rely, and so we will continue very systematically to take those particular bridges, but as for a section of road, then we have not specifically targeted a section of road.

Journalist: Jamie, the last time Ukrainian politicians and parliamentarians have discussed about the damages of the bridges in Vunap (phonetic spelling) and because of the damages of the bridges, Ukrainian river fleet is blockaded and also in Gravic (phonetic spelling) eight barge and ferries have been blockaded. Did Ukrainian officials apply to you to compensate their financial damages, which they account 3 or 400,000 per day, did they do that?

Jamie Shea: No. I haven't heard of any such dmarche and of course NATO is not trying to cause any inconvenience or loss to any other states, but again, coming back to my earlier point, if we could achieve a situation of peace in the region and we could look towards the integration of Yugoslavia into the European mainstream and if the sanctions could be lifted, I think there would be much more business for Ukrainian shippers and for everybody else in the long run and that's why I think the long term objective is what's key here.

Gyorgy Foris, Hungarian Press Agency: I have questions for each of you. First to Jamie. I wonder if you have had any recent assessment on the support of the public opinion in the member states? I put a question in the light of the Greek problem, where we have reports that a growing part of the population seems to turn against the operation, and I just wonder if you see any chance that the operation could be stopped on the orthodox Easter Sunday? To the Air Commodore, you were mentioning that there were force concentrations at the Albanian border, what's your assessment, is it a kind of preparation to hit Albania in case the operation starts from Albania?

Jamie Shea: Well, Gyorgy, I believe, looking from opinion polls, as scientific as they are, a barometer of public opinion, that in the great majority of NATO countries public opinion is firm. As I said earlier, I don't expect people to be wildly enthusiastic about the fact that NATO has had to act, everybody would prefer, including NATO diplomats, that we could solve these problems through diplomacy through negotiation, without the need to resort to arms, but I think on the other hand public opinion understands the major issues at stake here and understands the need to put a stop to a humanitarian catastrophe particularly in the heart of Europe, and therefore I think that support is going to hold up. Of course everybody would prefer that we could stop this today - so would we - but I believe that people understand the overwhelming need to put a stop to this in the best way we can. That's the first point, and of course you know that all Allies - all Allied governments - have been rock solid on this, full-square behind the decision to keep going.

Air Commodore Wilby: I think the concentration - it's not so much a concentration but the level of activity which now is on the western side of Kosovo - is the result, if you remember, of earlier last week - I showed you isolated pockets of ethnic cleansing, about three days later on, I showed you a large triangular area of that area where if you like a combination of all that cleansing had cleared a large area. What you see is just a finish-up of this very systematic - I think Jamie called it a "clean and sweep operation" yesterday - and as the remnants of the UCK and people are going towards the eastern side it is just a continuance of the Serb military and MUP to try and eradicate them.

Journalist: Concerning Russia, we had some news that eventually President Yelstin would make a trip to Belgrade. Do we have any news about eventual new plan and some US information, or information coming from the United States this morning, a claim that President Milosevic would be willing to cease any soldiers' activities in Kosovo and would be ready to give some autonomy to the province. Another question, as you know Jamie, today is the 6th April, which means for all Serbs back 58 years ago Belgrade was under fire from Hitler. If there is another bombing tonight you can imagine what the news will be tomorrow, if we have some other eventually victims. Would this kind of historical event be taken into account tonight?

Jamie Shea: Well, I think what strikes me Antonio is the contrast between the 6th April 1941 and today. In 1941, if I remember, hundreds of houses in Belgrade were destroyed because they were directly targeted and thousands of civilians were killed, and what strikes me is the contrast between then and what is happening today, where no civilian buildings whatever are targeted, and even if we have to perhaps regret that some people have been injured or killed, of course I can never exclude that, given the amount of ordnance that we have used, I think what is very striking is that fact that so few civilians have been harmed and only military targets have been struck. Today it is not NATO that is targeting civilians in Yugoslavia. Unfortunately, hundreds and hundreds of thousands of civilians have been directly targeted, but not by us. So I think the historical parallel is in reality a historical contrast. That's the first point.

Now, as for President Yeltsin, well absolutely if President Yeltsin were able to talk sense into Milosevic we would really welcome that. We very much welcomed Prime Minister Primakov's visit a few days ago and we really wanted it to be a success. As you know there are plans for some meetings this week on the diplomatic front: the European Union is meeting with the neighbouring states, there's talk of Contact Group, G8 meetings, and initiatives which could help to persuade Milosevic to stop would be useful. But of course at this stage we aren't prepared to settle for less than our objectives. We don't want some kind of murky or shadowy sham proposal, which in reality would simply reward Milosevic for the mayhem that he has caused.

As you know, the conditions, the objectives, of the Allies are very clear: that the Serb forces have to withdraw, that the refugees must all - all - be allowed to return and guaranteees have to be given to them in that process, that has to be accompanied of course by an international military force to ensure the environment of security, and that there has to be a political process leading to a political solution, based on the Rambouillet accords. A ceasefire which says "I've finished my work and now I'm going to go, leave the mayhem behind me", is not something that we would be prepared to accept.

Tlvision Franaise: Toute l'heure, vous avez fait allusion une poche de 65,000 refugis au Kosovo mme, alors comme les organisations internationales n'y ont pas accs, je voulais vous demander si vous avez des informations particulires sur leur situation, quelles sont les raisons du fait qu'ils sont piegs, qu'ils sont bloqus, et dans quelles conditions?

Jamie Shea: Nous nous faisons des soucis bien sr quant aux conditions physiques de ces malheureux personnes je crois savoir que dj quelques uns sont morts, mais je crois aussi savoir que quelques organisations humanitaires sont actives dans cette zone et donc il y a quand mme les premiersau moins d'aprs les dernires informations que j'ai eu, je n'ai pas trop de dtails sur ce thme, mais visiblement a montre une fois de plus la ncessit pour Milosevic de stopper cette violence, parce que comme j'ai dit tout le long de ces interventions nous n'avons pas uniquement le problme des refugis qui arrivent dans les pays voisins ils sont malheureux mais au moins des qu'ils ont travers la frontire nous avons le possibilit de les nourrir, de les donner des tentes, de leur venir en aide, mais il y a toujour presqu'un million de gens a l'intrieur du Kosovo dont beaucoup sont deplacs.

Pour quelles raisons ces gens la ne peuvent-ils ni avancer ni reculer? Materiellement qu'est ce qui leur empche d'avancer dans la frontire?

Jamie Shea: Mais ils avancent vers la frontire mais comme vous l'avez vu il y a un tel influs de refugis qu'ils ne peuvent pas tous traverser la frontire le mme jour, donc c'est quelque chose que nous regardons de trs prs mais bien sr c'est quelque chose que nous devons travailler avec les gouvernements sur place, avec les organisations humanitaires, pour voir qu'est ce que nous pouvons faire pour venir l'aide precisment ces personnes?

Mr. Jonsson, Norwegian daily Aftenposten: Regarding the diplomatic efforts you mentioned earlier, can you confirm that there are plans for a Contact Group meeting here in Brussels this week, or if NATO has any plans for a Ministerial meetings in the coming week?

Jamie Shea: I'm not aware of any plans for a NATO Ministerial meeting in the next few days. And as for the Contact Group, I have heard, of course, like you reports that some Contact Group activity may be imminent, but obviously as this is not a NATO institution of course, it's best to check with the Allies that are directly involved with the Contact Group on that one.

Stars and Stripes: Air Commodore, you mentioned earlier that you would have liked to have hit more targets on the ground over last night's strikes, I'm kind of wondering what difficult time was there, why was it difficult for you to hit some of these targets? Second of all, are we going to see any specific targeting information like there was early on in the air campaign, a list of targets that have been hit, and thirdly have planes from the aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt participated in strikes over the past 24 hours?

Air Commodore Wilby: Ok, let me try and hit that monster question. First of all, as I've said time and time again, the difficulty of hitting troops on the ground is to locate them and then press home very accurate attacks. What we are being very careful about is not just attacking people and then causing a lot of collateral damage to whatever else may be in that particular area. And we want to be as precise as we can with our munitions, so we are trying, now the weather is better, to locate those targets and to hit them as quickly as we can. I was very honest with you about yesterday's operation, but despite the good weather, we did have problems actually seeing the targets and being able to get them on the ground. It is a very cunning enemy out there, they know when we take off, because the numbers of reporters and people that are sitting outside the various air bases, they can calculate how long we're going to be before we enter the area and they make sure that during those times they go very much into their hideaway positions. However our operations have intensified, we are now managing to produce better information and we've got the assets to keep our operation going over that are continuously. As regards the introduction of the naval aircraft, they will enter the fray very shortly.

Journalist: The list of sites that have been hit, like we have seen early on?

Air Commodore Wilby: Ok, as I've always tried to tell you, any targeting information is treated very sensitively. I've told you that they have a very, very comprehensive intelligence organisation. Many of the targets we showed you earlier on were there to give you an indication of what was going on. A lot of those targets, as I've said before, have several aim points on them. When we go in one night we may take out a particular facility on that target. We may have to go back to that target on a subsequent night, so what I'm going to be is very careful about what I release to you on any targeting matters, and I do that because I want to make sure that our air crews when they are actually flying are given the best possible chance of returning back to their bases safely.

Luc Rosenzweig, Le Monde: J'ai beaucoup admir le discours du chef de l'opposition Belgradeque vous avez dvelopp pour donner des ides. Je voudrais savoir si vous avez des contacts ou des indications car Belgrade il existe quelqu'un qui puisse tenir ce discours et ventuellement puisse remplacer Milosevic. Deuxime question, est-il possible aprs toute description jour aprs jour vous nous faites des personnages - Slobodan Milosevic est compar tous les tyrants, les..de la terre - M. le Secretaire General Javier Solana puisse un jour s'asseoir avec lui une table de confrence ou negotiation y compris si'il a accept les conditions poses pour parler avec lui?

Jamie Shea: En ce qui concerne la situation interne il y a trs peu .c'est quand mme un gouvernement qui ne fait pas beaucoup de discours de politique devant le parlement, mais j'ai vu dans quelques journaux ce matin des indices qu'ils commencent avoir des schismes entre ceux qui bien sr on peut qualifier d'ultra et d'autres qui semblent se rendre compte de la gravit enfin de la situation et de la ncessit d'ouvrir en quelque sorte des voies de dialogue et de coopration avec le communaut internationale et je suis certain qu'aprs les treize jours de nos activits militaires il doit y avoir de plus en plus sceptiques au sein de l'administration yougoslav. Quant si vous voulez la sagesse de se persverer dans leurs voie de la rpression de Kosovo, voyons, esprons que si ces voies de la raison au sein de l'administration vont se faire couter dans les jours qui viennent mais nous avons bien sr bon espoir. J'ai toujours dit que je suis convaincu que il doit y avoir pas mal de gens qui savent tres bien que c'est vraiment le moment maintenant de reculer et d'ouvrir un dialogue avec les pays allis et avec l'occident en gnral.

Quant votre deuxime question, Milosevic qu'on le veut ou non, c'est lui qui dcide en Yougoslavie, c'est celui qui commande, qui ordonne ses troupes d'entrer au Kosovo et de poursuivre leurs activits, mais c'est galement lui qui les arrete et donc nous attendons de lui qu'il prend la dcision d'arrter. Il n'y a pas besoin d'aller le voir Belgrade pour lui communiquer a, il sait ce qu'il doit faire. Ce qui est important, ce n'est pas la communication mais c'est l'action qui doit venir de Milosevic. C'est le decideur et nous attendons qu'il se decide.

Bill Drozdiak, Washington Post: Jamie, is there an agreement within the Alliance now two indictments in The Hague of President Milosevic himself, and secondly, regarding Albania, with the introduction of the Apaches, which will be used of course to attack Serb forces in the field, are you not in effect opening a new front in a war that you said all along one of NATO's aims was to contain the violence within Kosovo and keep it from spreading from beyond those borders?

Jamie Shea: Obviously the question of war crimes indictments doesn't belong to us, that belongs to the International Criminal Tribunal, it's up to the Tribunal to gather evidence. Its mandate allows it to indict not only those that pull the trigger but those who give the orders to pull the trigger, and I don't believe that that stops at any particular level of governmental structures. So, that is up to the Tribunal to decide.

On your second question, as you know, Albania has already been threatened in recent months by the actions that have been ongoing, its air space has been violated, shells have been fired across the border as well, so I don't believe that from that point of view, Albania's very welcome decision to show solidarity with the Alliance changes fundamentally the security situation for Albania, which was already something that we were keeping a very close eye on beforehand. To the extent that any capability we can deploy will allow us to stop the violence in Kosovo, to move towards a return of the refugees and move towards a political dialogue to the extent that we can pacify the situation. Among the most immediate beneficiaries will be of course countries like Albania and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and that's why I think they understand what we're trying to do.

Journalist: Two questions for you Jamie. One is, we understand Mr. Strobe Talbot is due here in the near future, can you explain what the purpose of this visit here, and onwards from here, will be? Secondly, I'd like to talk about Macedonia, we're also sensing that on the one hand there's some frustration on the part of the international communty with Macedonia's attitude in recent days, on the other hand there's real concern, as you've expressed, on a daily basis, for the stability of that country, can you tell us whether, apart from helping the refugees directly, is there anything NATO or NATO countries are doing for the government of Macedonia?

Jamie Shea: In order to answer your first question, yes, Strobe Talbot is due to visit NATO tomorrow morning to brief the Ambassadors on the results of his tour of the region. As you know, he's been in I think virtually all of the neighbouring states in the last couple of days and we will be very interested in hearing his views, his insights of that trip, and so, yes, he's coming briefly tomorrow morning.

Scondly, when it comes to the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, obviously we appreciate that this country is dealing with an unprecedented situation, which would be difficult to handle even for countries with much greater resources in elsewhere in Europe and therefore I think we have to have some sympathy for this country and we are showing solidarity. Secondly, we are doing our best of course not simply to help with the refugee burden, and again as I said, General Jackson and his soldiers are at the forefront of that effort but we're helping to do what we can of course to show the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia that it's not alone in this situation, to show a sense of sympathy of direct material support.

The Secretary General has been on the telephone to President Gligorov virtually every day over the last few days, we have sent some NATO liaison officers there to help open up the channels of communication. Other governments of course are looking at the question of economic assistance and support. That's not of course a NATO topic, but everybody is aware of the need to give that government every type of economic aid that we can within our means at the moment, and as I mentioned we will be having this Friday a special 19 + 1 consultation with Foreign Minister Dimitrov again to see what the situation is, what we can do and so on, so I can assure you this is a subject that we are very much seized with.

I think I'll take one more for today. As Neil King has returned safely - and I'm very glad that happened Neil - I think you have the right to ask a question, and the final question at that.

Neil King, Wall Street Journal: I was just curious, I'm not sure which one of you is best equipped to answer it, but considering some of the targets that have been gone after in the last several days, is it not fair to say that the ambition goes beyond just degrading or weakening the military structure to actually degrading or weakening the Serbian economy in an effort to undermine Milosevic's power base?

Air Commodore Wilby: I think I probably can field that one. I've always gone at great lengths to say that every target that we have struck has been one that has been considered to have great military significance to affect the Serbian military or the MUP. All the targets that we have struck so far have fallen very firmly into that category. We started off with the integrated air defence system, we have continually hit communications associated with those sort of facilities, we have attacked headquarters associated with troops in the field or police in the field, we've taken out logistic supplies, particularly ammunition and petroleum, and now we are looking and taking down bridges, and those bridges are bridges which have been carefully selected because they are major lines of communication and those affect the resupply of those troops who remember are on the ground conducting the ethnic cleansing and deportation activities. So, very firmly, I would say to you that all our targets have been very justifiably military targets.

Jamie Shea: If I can just add to that from a military perspective, if the Yugoslav economy is in dire straits it's not because of NATO military actions, it's because here is a country which has had sanctions imposed on it by the United Nations for the best part of a decade now. There was a hope after the Dayton peace agreement that those sanctions could be lifted and that economic activity could pick up, for the benefit by the way, of the people because those sanctions have benefited the regime, that's well documented in terms of corrupt activities, but it's the Yugoslav people of course who have been in the forefront and what would help Yugoslavia more than anything else would be a situation whereby the conflict in Kosovo could be terminated, we could go towards as I mentioned a brighter future and ultimately Yugoslavia could be integrated into the European mainstream and sanctions could be lifted and the economic dynamism of the place could take off again, and it's not only Yugoslavia which would benefit, but of course the other countries in the region as well, so I don't think that this is something that you could see in the immediate short term perspective of NATO action, it's been a long-term problem for a while and the ultimate solution is indeed an ability to integrate a democratic Yugoslavia into the Euroepan mainstream.

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