By NATO Spokesman Jamie Shea
and Colonel Konrad Freytag
Ladies and Gentlemen, good afternoon, it is good to see you all. I am joined at the podium today by an old friend and I think for most you a familiar face, Colonel Konrad FREYTAG, the Chief of Public Information at SHAPE and Konrad is going to provide the military up-date today. I am going to call on him to do so forthwith and afterwards I'll provide the political up-date.
Thank you, Jamie. Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. I will do the bridging over the weekend for you. The good news is that you get some up-date, the bad news is that you have to bear with me.
I will start with a summary of the operations of the last 24 hours:
I have to start with the poor weather over the last 24 hours, it has hindered significantly and affected our operations. One group of combat aircraft flew and a further three were cancelled due to the weather. Tomahawk Cruise missiles were also launched from UK and US vessels. All our aircraft flying were returning safely.
Strategic targets shown on this map included a microwave radio relay facility near Pristina, two petroleum storage sites, one each in Kosovo and in Serbia. A probable SA-6 site was also attacked last night and I have the video which shows the successful attack on the radio relay facility.
One Serbian aircraft was detected off the coast of Montenegro but it returned to base before it could be engaged. At least four SAM-6 sites engaged NATO aircraft with no harm.
We also discussed yesterday the challenge of proving what damage has been caused by Serb forces - you might recall this - and I have an image for you. It shows damaged buildings in a village which has not been the subject of any NATO action.
I'm sorry, I missed one page. I come to the map here and the rest you will hear a bit later.
The very noticeable reduction in Yugoslav army and special police force operations in Kosovo has continued over the last 24 hours. There were some Serb activities in the southern half of Kosovo with fires burning near Podujevo and Djakovica and other activity near Urosovac, Malisevo, Kisna Reka and Jablanica areas. Overall, the Yugoslav forces appeared to be focusing on defensive and force-protection measures against NATO attacks.
There was one cross-border clash between VJ MUP and UCK elements over the Albanian border south-west of Decani, at least two Serb artillery rounds landed in Albania.
The result of previous attacks on the army barracks at Prizen are shown by these pre-imposed site images. Here is the pre-strike and here is the post-strike.
A similar attack was effectively done at the army garrison and headquarters at Belgrade, again the pre-strike and the post-strike.
Moving on to the location of ground forces, this picture shows a number of tanks and armoured personnel carriers hiding amongst houses in a village.
We discussed yesterday the challenge of proving that we minimise collateral damage and this really shows to you and demonstrates the difficulty of attacking such targets.
We are seeking to clarify refugee reports of a possible rape camp in the Djakovica area of Kosovo, no independent corroboration or detailed confirmation is currently available.
And at this moment, if I may, I would like to come back to yesterday's discussion of the difficulties of tracking displaced persons within Kosovo. We have a map which shows some areas where concentrations of displaced persons have been identified and I have a photograph. On this image, you can see a line of vehicles but what we cannot tell you is how many people are associated with them.
This image shows concentrations of displaced persons without ??? but numbers again are difficult to assess.
Yesterday, we also discussed the challenge of proving what damage has been caused by Serb forces, I think this was in the context of the Pristina collateral damage and this image shows damaged buildings which have not been the subject of any NATO action.
Where is it?
I missed it on the picture, I'll have the answer for you in a second.
NATO military forces also continued to provide considerable support to humanitarian aid efforts in FYROM and to prepare for operation "Allied Harbour" with the deployment of advanced elements into Albania and Jamie will cover more details on that.
This ends my formal part of the briefing and I'm available for questions later on. Thank you very much.
OK Konrad, thanks very much indeed for that up-date and we'll get you the name of that burnt-out village in just a few moments.
I have a number of topics I want to go through with you today, in fact I want to address three basic areas:
First of all, our assessment after 17 days of the campaign; secondly, the humanitarian up-date; and then I want to say a few words to preview the meeting of NATO Foreign Ministers here on Monday.
But first of all, all of the Allies, as you know, have warmly welcomed the statement to the UN Human Rights Commission in Geneva yesterday by UN Secretary General, Kofi Annan.
Second, we continue to consult very regularly, very closely with the neighbouring countries in the area. Yesterday afternoon, we had a further consultation here at NATO after the meeting of NATO Ambassadors with the seven countries in our particular group, bringing together, as I say, all of the neighbours.
At the same time, you all know that NATO has six Dialogue countries in the Mediterranean area and yesterday, the Deputy Secretary General, Ambassador Balanzino, invited the Ambassadors of the six countries in from the Mediterranean and also briefed them on NATO's operations and activities.
As far as the military assessment is concerned, I've asked SACEUR to come up next week - I'll let you know in the next couple of days exactly when that will be but we're anticipating early next week - to give you a kind of overall assessment of how things have been going, what we've managed to do and where we intend to go in the days ahead but I think we can say right now that it's our belief that this air operation is being effective and that in the last two weeks we have inflicted a major amount of damage, quite frankly, on the Yugoslav armed forces. The integrated air-defence system, whilst still there, has lost its central direction. We calculate that about half of the MiG-29s of the Yugoslav air force have been destroyed or incapacitated; two of the three major army headquarters have been taken out; 50 per cent of the fuel stocks have been destroyed and it is increasingly difficult for the Yugoslav army units to move the remaining fuel stocks around to get them into the units in the field. We have hit the command-and-control communications and intelligence system very hard indeed; we have destroyed a lot of equipment and a lot of vehicles on the ground thereby decreasing the mobility of those forces; we have hit the lines of communications, particularly bridges, making reinforcements and re-supply increasingly difficult and we think that we've severely damaged about 150 major targets without counting all of the minor ones.
At the same time, I don't think there is any evidence that President Milosevic has respected any kind of cease-fire in Kosovo itself, in fact the reports that we're getting are of a number of incidents over the last few days, counter-insurgency sweeps in the Malisevo area, some clashes up in the north around Podujevo and continuing operations by VJ and MUP forces in the Mitrovica area. However, less activity in central and southern Kosovo.
At the same time, it's clear, as Konrad was indicating, that the VJ and MUP units are essentially static, they are hiding themselves because obviously they now have to contend with the serious risk of attacks from NATO, they're feeling the pressure, they're off the main roads and seeking smaller roads now for their operations and, of course, they are running out of fuel. It's not good news that they're still there but it is good news that they're finding it increasingly difficult to operate.
At the same time, our own preparations continue. You have seen in recent days that further aircraft are being assigned to the operation and are en route and the first elements of the 24 Apaches are now arriving in Albania in the region of Tirana. In the next few days, we will be conducting 125 flights in a matter of days to bring in all of the supplies - the Apaches, the multiple-launch rocket system and the rest of the kit - to make that system up and running very very soon.
Now for my second theme, humanitarian. Here again, I would say that NATO is in overdrive at the moment. The Secretary General yesterday spoke on the telephone to Mrs. Ogata, the Head of the UN High Commission for Refugees, she expressed to him her gratitude for the assistance that NATO is providing, she looks forward of course to the early arrival of the headquarters of the ACE Mobile Force (Land) in Albania - as I've said, that will be deployed on 14 April already next week - and there is a possibility that she may be able to come to visit us here in NATO headquarters - we will have to wait and see if that's possible, she has of course a very heavy schedule - but we would welcome that if it could be arranged. I note that Mrs. Ogata said during her visit to Kukes the other day that the ethnic cleansing that she had witnessed in Kosovo was even worse than in Bosnia and she is the person to know these things better than anybody.
At the same time, as I mentioned when I spoke about the ACE Mobile Force (Land), we are gearing-up for Operation "Allied Harbour", that is to say the deployment of the NATO force in Albania, already there is a reconnaissance mission by the advanced elements of this headquarters on the ground in Albania to find the appropriate site to bed down this headquarters and to make the initial logistic preparations and at the same the Military Committee have now submitted the formal operational plan - or OP Plan in the NATO jargon - to NATO Ambassadors and I expect that to be cleared and on its way within the next few hours, that will allow the force generation to begin for this force operation "Allied Harbour" and SHAPE will hold its force-generation conference next week but even before this operational plan has been formalised, as you know, the advanced elements of this force, some of them at least have arrived, we have some Italian forces, Greek forces, French, a few Americans already there and indeed some Greek engineers have already made an invaluable contribution in Albania by building a refugee camp at Koka (phon) for 10,000 refugees that will help to take some of the flow in the south arriving from the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.
At the same time, we're making an effort to co-ordinate our efforts with those of the other international organisations, particularly in developing a concept of operations for humanitarian airlift. Yesterday, there was a meeting at the European Union in which of course NATO participated.
Unfortunately, the ethnic cleansing continues. I think all of you have seen, like I have, the distressing, almost unbelievable pictures unfortunately not in the movies but in real life, of another village which was ethnically cleansed yesterday, about 50 miles from the Albanian frontier. Again, the usual story which is now becoming the daily routine of everybody being stripped of their identity cards, their valuables, whatever, being frog-marched to the border and then pushed over but at least I imagine they're the lucky ones, they are still alive and can be cared for by the humanitarian relief organisations.
As Konrad has said, one of our key concerns remains with the situation of people inside Kosovo. There is a little bit of good news in that I understand a small team from the Red Cross has been able to go back into Kosovo and they may be able to provide information but of course their movements will be limited by the security situation. NATO governments calculate that about 200 villages, towns, cities in Kosovo have suffered significant damage so that suggests that there is a lack of accommodation or shelter for the 200,000 or so people that we believe are internally displaced inside Kosovo; they are moving around, that's clear, trying to find shelter, trying to find food but we need to answer three urgent questions;
Where are they? Do they have any food or shelter? And are they prisoners within their own country at least prisoners in the sense of clearly not being able to leave or not being able to get to somewhere where they can be cared for?
In Albania, as I said, NATO forces continue to help with the humanitarian airlift. Yesterday was a good day, there were 66 flights delivering 382 tonnes of supplies which NATO helped of course to co-ordinate and unload.
In the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, General Jackson and his men and women continued to put in 26 hours a day. I say that in the sense that they are working really all through the night, all through the day, almost without stop to provide assistance. Yesterday, there were 70 flights that came in delivering a total of 1075 tonnes of food and equipment.
As you know, we are now in a position in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia where the NATO forces can hand over the administration of some of the refugee camps to the international organisations, beginning with Bajani (phon) early next week but what I want to stress is that the NATO forces, the ARC, General Jackson and soldiers, will continue to keep an eye on these camps to ensure security which is still a very important concern.
I'd like to just, if I may, at the end of the review of the humanitarian side, tell you a little story just to show you that we identify the problem and then find the solution:
As you well know, one of the things that refugees want to do more than anything else apart from standing in food queues is to telephone their loved ones because families have been uprooted, nobody knows where their brothers or sisters or aunts and uncles are and the first thing they want to do is to get to a telephone and make a call and in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia some refugees have preferred to spend 10 hours in a queue to make a quick phone call than one hour in a queue to get a loaf of bread and some water and when a NATO Ambassador pointed out this need a day or so ago in the Council, our Euro-Atlantic Disaster Response Co-ordination Centre immediately contacted a number of communications companies in the private sector and I'm pleased to tell you that one of those companies - IRIDIUM - has agreed to provide immediately, free of charge, a number of satellite telephones to refugee camps in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.
IRIDIUM - Bravo and thank you, IRIDIUM! I think that is praise enough for IRIDIUM without spelling it.
I'd like just also before closing to give you a preview of the Ministerial meeting here on Monday. Many of you have asked me what it is for. It is really for the following:
First of all, it will clearly state that NATO feels that Kosovo is a defining moment for the future of the Alliance in showing NATO's determination to uphold its values in the wider Europe. Obviously, the Ministers are going to review the situation and I expect that they will express outrage at the ethnic cleansing and forced depopulation of Kosovo. I believe that they will re-commit themselves as allies to an intensified military and humanitarian response to the actions of Belgrade, they will condemn the systematic depopulation of Kosovo and state that NATO will not allow this to stand. I think they will reiterate NATO's determination to continue the air campaign with undiminished intensity until we succeed in persuading President Milosevic to meet our objectives. I think they will condemn the use of refugees to destabilise neighbouring countries and show that NATO is willing to do everything it can - as we have demonstrated this past week - to help those neighbouring countries and of course you saw the very firm statement issued yesterday during the visit here by the Foreign Minister and the Defence Minister of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.
I think they will also express concern regarding the situation in Montenegro, the news today, as you know, is that the Second Army in Montenegro is making moves against some independent radio stations which have been broadcasting some output from "Voice of America" and "Radio Free Europe".
I think they will recognise NATO's contribution to resolving the humanitarian crisis, see what efforts we can still make in this respect and I think finally they will start looking ahead to what we can do to stabilise the region in the wider sense once we have succeeded in stopping the violence in Kosovo.
Let me just make a few closing remarks about the situation inside Serbia:
One of the points that I've tried to make from this rostrum in the past few days is that as a result of President Milosevic's policies life has not been so great for the Serb people either and I've seen in the press, as I think you have as well, that on 4 April a new law was introduced whereby the powers of the police have been extended to open letters, conduct house searches without warrants, to detain people for 60 days purely because they could be considered as suspicious; to impose prison terms on those who disturb public order, whatever that means and even that the police can open fire on persons attempting to flee. However, I understand that this law also says that intolerance, whether racial or religious, can be considered as a grave violation of this public security act. In fact, this comes after reports that we were getting of rather draconian measures which are imposed on those who refuse to be conscripted into the army.
Finally, tomorrow the Council will be meeting at 2 p.m. in the afternoon and as a result we will have the briefing at 5 p.m. Thank you! I go to questions.
Questions & Answers
Jamie, today you gave us some information, 50 per cent MiGs destroyed estimated, 50 per cent fuel capacity to the Yugoslav military disrupted. We were given that information yesterday, 28 hours ago to be exact, by the British Ministry of Defence. There have been other instance where the Pentagon is coming out with information. Now this is before you are and this isn't supposed to be a criticism of the quality of information that you're giving us, I just would like to know how NATO intelligence works and what pilot reports do. Do pilots and intelligence report back to nations first before NATO gets this information and if so, do nations decide what information they are passing on to the Supreme Allied Commander or is some kept back and if that is not the case, maybe some people in the field could be given some of those sat-phones.
Thanks for that lively question, Patricia, to start off today! I'm not an intelligence officer but I can assure you that all of the information is passed to NATO, to the International Military Staff here at NATO.
Yes, of course first. This is a coalition Allied effort. There are a number of countries involved and you cannot be expected to put your pilots' lives on the line along with everybody else and not receive in return exactly the same information so I can assure you that the information is shared among all Allies, everybody has access to it. That is our preliminary assessment but as I've said, it would be good to have SACEUR here as I intend to arrange for next week, to give you a more detailed view of everything that has been going on and to answer your questions in greater detail on that.
From the operational point of view, the pilots report what they see and what they have done through the chain of command and this is at present a NATO chain of command.
Jamie, I read a news report that General Secretary Solana promised to the Romanian President to make a pause of the NATO activities during the Greek Orthodox Easter Holidays. What do you know about that?
Let me give you my understanding of the situation. It's true that the Secretary General did speak to President Constantinescu yesterday, he speaks to all of the leaders in the area on virtually a daily basis, as you know, and he listens of course, as he always does, to any suggestions or proposals that are put to him by our Partner Country leaders or NATO leaders for that matter but I think you know that NATO's position is one of insisting that it is President Milosevic who has to stop first and foremost and I would like to say finally that we are of course extremely grateful, as always, for the help and solidarity that Romania has shown us throughout this crisis.
A question to Jamie. As you know, the American Foreign Minister is going to meet her Russian counterpart on Tuesday.
In your country?
Yes. Which expectations do you have for this meeting?
Well, as you know, this is one of a number of contacts between Allies and Foreign Minister Ivanov and the Russian government. You've seen that today British Foreign Secretary, Robin Cook, has had a long conversation with Ivanov, you've seen also that the Prime Minister of Italy, Mr. d'Alema, has been speaking to the Russians and so this is part of a process whereby NATO governments are keeping channels of communication open to Russia, making it clear that we are not trying to marginalise Russia in the Kosovo crisis, that we want to have Russia on the inside working with us rather than on the outside working against us.
I think that there is always the need to reassure, to explain, to clarify. We want to listen of course to the Russians as well because we believe that if we can have them involved not in the military aspects of this crisis - and thankfully the indications from Mr. Ivanov as you have seen are that Russia does not want to be involved in the military aspects - but on the other hand, in the diplomatic and political aspects, then we are much more likely to be able to resolve this quickly.
Obviously, the United States and my namesake Jamie Rubin will explain this undoubtedly when they give their briefings later today but my understanding is that Mrs. Albright will be doing exactly the same thing as Mr. Cook and Mr. d'Alema and others have been doing in recent days.
Jamie, I wonder if you have any further information about the horrific reports coming out of Djakovica regarding 20 women killed and many raped apparently?
Every day, Neil, I get a very thick report from a number of NATO countries with all of the testimony of refugees on atrocities, rapes and war crimes and I must be honest with you, it began a few weeks ago as a rather slender thing and is taking on the proportions of an encyclopaedia at least in terms of its thickness. But these, of course, are uncorroborated allegations at the moment, they are coming from refugees, they are coming from people inside Kosovo who are still able to get information out to diplomatic representatives in the neighbouring countries from a variety of sources.
I can't obviously confirm any particular incident. All I can say is that it's difficult to believe that something bad isn't happening, in fact I fear that when this crisis ends and the international organisations, particularly the War Crimes Tribunal, are able to go into Kosovo, our worst fears are going to be confirmed but of course I have to be careful until we have proof but all of these indications, particularly as more and more evidence comes in, are going to be passed on to the relevant international organisations whose job it will be to investigate once the crisis is over and as you saw from what Mary Robinson had to say yesterday, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, there are unfortunately increasing cases of systematic rape of Kosovar Albanian women which recalls a little bit what we witnessed in Bosnia just a few years ago.
Could Colonel FREYTAG give us an idea how those concentrations of internally-displaced persons were finally identified after having so much trouble at first? And Jamie, I wonder if there are new ideas about how we might help get aid to those people. I understand that there may be a handful of NGOs, perhaps Greek NGOs, operating inside the country and whether you're concerned that the cumulative suffering of so many people may turn opinion against our operations.
In answer to your question, mainly through aerial photography and you might recall through the last two weeks we have always had some kind of photographs and we have always pointed out how we rely on the weather sometimes and that was the best I could give you for this kind of displaced persons at this moment.
If I may add because I owe you the name of that city and take the opportunity, Prilea is the name of the city, it is in western Kosovo near Decani, about 4 km south east of Decani.
On the second aspect of the question, I don't think we yet have the miracle solution that we would need to be able to immediately help all of these poor people. However, let me make a more fundamental point:
The only way ultimately to help these people is to stop the fighting, to stop the violence which has been the reason why they have become displaced in the first place. Whatever one does, if the violence is still going on it could only be a temporary palliative, it would be a band-aid operation. I'm not dismissing that, that can still be helpful but it's the difference of course between giving somebody a fish and teaching them to fish. We need to find a real solution here and that is why clearly NATO has to continue to stop the violence and while we have to go towards an international security presence in Kosovo because only then will we really be able to provide a permanent solution to the fate of these people.
Jamie, you have just shown us pictures about these displaced internal persons and we have also the information that in Pristina and major cities people are starving because of lack of food so is NATO planning to drop some food by air to reach internally-displaced persons that you showed us just now on the photos?
Again, I give the same answer. I don't think there is any immediate solution to this but obviously we are very concerned with the situation clearly and as I said before, the ultimate objective has to be to stop the violence because then we can provide relief to everybody in Kosovo and get these people resettled. That is as much as I can say on that for the moment.
Colonel FREYTAG, I noticed you said you only fired two Cruise missiles.
No. I did not give you a number.
I'm sorry, it sounded like two. The question was are you running out of targets? I assume you're working down a target list, the weather is tightening-up, when will you get to the end of your list of targets?
You are well aware that we do not discuss our targeting but we are not running out of them, not yet.
Jamie, if I may, I'm not sure whether NATO is accusing the Yugoslav army of setting up a rape camp at Djakovica ? If so, what is the reason?
No. Doug, I've been cautious on this. As I've told you, we have a lot of reports and those reports suggest that rapes are taking place, you heard Ken Bacon on this topic last night, you've heard the representatives of other governments, there are indications coming in but I'm not yet in a position to prove anything. That is the job of the International Criminal Tribunal, to gather all of the evidence, to interview people and to put a case together which can hold up against those that have been responsible for doing this.
All I can say is that the International Tribunal has managed to sustain a rape indictment against somebody in Bosnia recently so it is a charge now that has held up as a precedent for this at the International Tribunal in The Hague and I hope that would serve as some kind of deterrent to those who would be responsible for these types of crimes clearly.
Craig Whitney (New York Times):
Colonel FREYTAG, were all the targets that you showed us being hit yesterday hit by missiles or were there also weapons launched from aircraft, particularly against that radio transmission tower in Pristina?
I do not wish to answer this in detail. They were hit by our yesterday' s mission.
I have one further question concerning the radio relay tower in Pristina. What was the military purpose of hitting that relay tower or that relay building and do you still consider it a legitimate target or a legitimate military purpose to hit and bomb tv transmissions?
It was a relay which has a dual-use capacity and it was mainly used for military purposes and that's why we took it out.
The second question was is it a legitimate military target?
It was a legitimate military target, yes.
And what was the military purpose?
It was part of a military communications system and as such we took it out.
I would like to ask you if you have any clear conclusion about the mistake in the bombing in the telephone centre in Pristina, not a mistake in the bombing but a mistake in the information process. Patricia's previous question. I mean, you recognised yesterday that there was this disfunction in the targeting of the objective but 24 hours after saying that all the blame for the destruction registered in Pristina was the responsibility of the Serbians. How was the process? When were you aware that you committed a mistake?
Jamie Shea: Thanks, Xavier, for that question. First of all, clearly, when I have questions from you I always ask the chain of command to investigate thoroughly and I always say get back to me as quickly as possible but get back to me with the accurate information. I'd rather wait a little bit longer for the accurate information than have inaccurate information quickly, it's best for you, it's best for me. That is the first point.
Secondly, we are honest. As we said yesterday, David Wilby mentioned that one of the four bombs that was targeted on this facility may have spun off and been responsible for damage to surrounding buildings. However, I believe that it was clear from the slide he showed - because we showed you a slide of this so that everybody could see graphically what it was that was struck - that that collateral damage was very very limited indeed, it was not on a massive, city-busting scale if I can put it that way, it was very very localised indeed.
And then finally, given the fact that so many people have been forced out of Pristina - and I don't think there's any doubt about that, there are well-documented television pictures that show that it's the closest thing to a ghost town that I've seen recently - clearly the harm to civilians I think would have been moderate even if of course I don't have an exact figure to give you.
What is the policy? The policy is to be honest and if we make a mistake, Xavier, the policy is to correct it as quickly as possible. It's only in authoritarian regimes that people are always right and nobody ever admits a mistake or corrects a mistake. I leave you to judge which one you prefer.
Question (Gentleman From Oslo):
Two questions, if I may, regarding the situation on the ground. You are talking about today that the situation is static concerning the MUP and VJ forces; yesterday, Mr. Wilby said that they were digging-in. Where is now the concentration of the Serb forces, are there indications that they are digging-in to the north of Pristina?
The second question regarding the bad weather and the fact that you haven't been able to knock out as many armoured vehicles on the ground as you perhaps would have liked to. Are you really making a difference on the ground?
The activities on the ground are mainly in the southern half of Kosovo in the direction of the Albanian border.
And are we making a difference? I think we are and it will be an increasing difference over the next few days. If NATO had not acted, do you believe that you would see Serb forces hunkered down in Kosovo at the moment? I don't believe that, I think they'd be out in the villages and the towns continuing to bombard so to the extent that we can stop one single tank firing one single shell, I believe the NATO mission is justified.
A question to Colonel FREYTAG. I'd like you to get back to the village mentioned. When one looks at the picture, the quick glance we had, the destruction of roofs seemed to be very systematic and there seemed to be also very little random damage so could you tell us more about what type of destructions are involved, what was the population, how many people lived there before and what's your analysis because this seems to be a very important type of destruction, perhaps a story behind that?
Jamie, si vous ajoutez des choses l-dessus, pourriez-vous le faire en franais s'il vous plat?
I can only partly answer that question. What we see from that aerial photograph is blown-up roofs and artillery shells which have caused a lot of damage and that is all I can to this right now but we might come back if you are interested in some more detailed interpretation of that photograph.
So the systematic character of the roof destruction would be because of firing explosive in each separate house?
This is something we have seen in Bosnia-Herzegovina as well, it is a very similar picture.
Is there no level damage like a shell would hit a wall or do something?
I think when you look at the photograph - and you will have it as a hand-out - you will see that throughout the city is a lot of damage and I want to underline again we were not striking in that area.
J'ai peu de choses ajouter. Les refugis dont cette encyclopdie de tmoignage auquel je viens de faire allusion disent que dans beaucoup de cas il s'agit de la mise sac systmatiquement des maisons, c'est dire qu'elles sont brles de l'intrieur et je crois que c'est dans beaucoup de cas, c'est probablement autant l'explication que les bombardements par les obus, parce que une fois que les rfugis ont eu leur cinq minutes, leur dix minutes pour partir, aprs n'est-ce pas, il y a une mise sac et puis les maisons sont incendies et donc a peut expliquer peut-tre le fait que les murs sont intacts mais que les toits disparaissent, un petit peu l'instar de ce que vous avez vu en Bosnie. Mais attendons plus tard pour faire comme j'ai toujours dit un examen systmatique pour tirer ceci au clair ; mais ce qui est certain c'est qu'il y a beaucoup d'habitations civiles qui sont dtruites.
I think we'll have one final question for today, Mrs. Savage, would you like to have the final question for today?
I would like to ask you about the impact of this operation because as far as I see people of some NATO countries are not very happy about this operation, your major Partner is sending warnings and your Partners from the region are flooded with humanitarian catastrophe so doesn't this operation have any limits of time knowing that it is carefully planned or is the time out of control?
Mrs. Savage, thanks for that. I think that public opinion in NATO countries is broadly supportive of this mission, in fact more than I would have ever expected or hoped for quite frankly. If anything - and I read the polls virtually every day - there's been a hardening of public opinion and particularly in the wake of the terrible scenes of humanitarian suffering and the refugees. In fact, if so many people are calling for the despatch of ground troops, it suggests that they want us to do everything that's in our power as Allies, to put a stop to this and are willing to contemplate all measures. You know the NATO policy on ground troops of course but I mention this simply to show that the degree to which public opinion and parliamentary opinion is very solid.
I think in the neighbouring countries also there has been a great deal of support and solidarity, certainly in Albania. I mentioned the law that the Albanian Parliament passed yesterday giving NATO control of its air space and welcoming the NATO deployments, you saw the very positive things that were said by the two Ministers from the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia at the moment. You've seen the way in which the other states of the region have held together very solidly, in fact I would say that President Milosevic has even fewer friends after the last couple of weeks at least in the wider international community than he had before.
Obviously, I think our public opinion wants this to be over and done with as quickly as possible and we share those views I can assure you. All of us would have vastly preferred a diplomatic solution back in Rambouillet several weeks ago had that been possible but no, I honestly believe that public opinion perceives that this is a big turning point in European security, that we cannot allow these things to happen, that if we did so, even though it may not be very easy to stop them, but if we did simply allow them, then we would be entering a 21st century in Europe which would be less safe, less secure, far more worrying for a great number of people and so I am encouraged by that and I think public opinion is going to stay behind us all the way, I think that, if you like, the issues are now very very clearly defined and not to engage is simply not an option.
Can I add one sentence? From a military point of view, I don't want to leave anybody with the impression that from the military perspective anything is out of control, it is all under control and according to our plans.
OK, well I hope tomorrow's briefing will also be under control at 5 o'clock.