Updated: 14 April 1999 Press Conferences


14 Apr. 1999

Press Conference

by Jamie Shea and Brigadier General Giuseppe Marani

(Presentation Photo)

Jamie Shea: Welcome to our daily briefing. After the last two days, as you can see, we're back on at the normal time of 3 p.m. or thereabouts. A new face at the podium today, I would like to introduce him, he is General Giuseppe Marani of the Italian Air Force, from SHAPE of course, and he will be giving you the military operational up-date in just a few moments.

I'd like to start today by reminding everybody that last week NATO defined its five core objectives for the resolution of the Kosovo crisis, these were both endorsed and reiterated of course on Monday at the meeting of NATO foreign Ministers:

  • a verifiable end to all Serb military actions and the immediate end of violence and repression;

  • the withdrawal of all Milosevic's military police and paramilitary forces;

  • the stationing in Kosovo of an international military force;

  • the unconditional and safe return of refugees and internally-displaced persons;

  • unhindered access for the humanitarian relief organisations;

  • and finally, the credible assurance of a willingness to work towards a political framework based on the Rambouillet Agreement.

So having last week defined the objectives, the task of the Alliance this week is to set out the building blocks which are going to help us to implement these objectives fully and rapidly.

We are developing a strategy for success and there are three essential elements in this strategy for success:

The first, of course, is to win decisively the air campaign. We have chosen the most effective modus operandi in line with our values which are not to be at war with the Serb people, which are to avoid wherever we can, as much as we can, collateral damage and also, thirdly not to inflict any unnecessary pain on the Serb people or their economy. Indeed, we want to strike only at the root of the problem which is of course the Serb military force conducting the campaign of repression in Kosovo.

But it's no longer a question of if we will win but simply of when. Every morning when President Milosevic wakes up he counts his losses of the night before and in the past 24 hours there's been another heavy tally: he has lost two more bridges, this time Lima River, another significant chunk of his integrated air-defence system, more command-and-control installations, more military fuel installations and more lines of communication. We are also neutralising another factor which is the weather factor by being able to operate even in the thickest clouds and the heaviest rain which was the case last night.

And every morning, as President Milosevic wakes up and realises that in the last 24 hours he has become weaker, he also sees that NATO is becoming stronger. 300 additional aircraft have been requested, they will be on their way to forward operating bases shortly to join the 82 additional US aircraft that were authorised a few days ago. In a couple of days, we will have three aircraft carriers in the Adriatic, we will also within a matter of days have 24 Apaches and over 2,000 US forces in Albania.

You noted the decision yesterday by the United Kingdom to reinforce the NATO Enabling Force on the ground in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and just to give you a few examples of other Allies, Canada, France, Italy have all in recent days contributed further aircraft and support to this operation and NATO forces, albeit for a humanitarian mission, are now beginning their deployment to Albania so with more or less a thousand aircraft on-stream very soon we will be able to maintain a continuous operation to tighten the screw on the Serb forces in Kosovo.

Our second key element in our strategy for success is to contain and ultimately to solve the humanitarian crisis. Today, we are launching Operation Allied Harbour, the ACE Mobile Force (Land) under General Reith (phon) is deploying to Tirana, 16 Allies are participating and we have also had offers from five Partner nations to be part of this force. The rules of engagement are currently before the NATO Council and I expect them to be approved in the next few hours thereby clearing the way for this operation to go ahead expeditiously.

Our immediate aim is to do for Albania what we have done in recent days for the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, that is to say, to help the United Nations High Commission for Refugees to stabilise the humanitarian situation, to provide essential relief, to build tent-camps, to carry out distribution of supplies and to preserve the security at the camps and you have to bear in mind in this respect that Albania has taken in about three times the number of refugees as the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, which shows that the situation there of course is a very serious one, there are still plenty of people in Kukes that do not yet have shelter so there is an urgent need to get Operation Allied Harbour under way as quickly as possible.

In a few moments, the Secretary General will be receiving Madam Ogata, the Head of the UNHCR, he is obviously going to assure her of NATO's support for her organisation and its activities. We are sharing our planning with the UNHCR, the operational plan for Allied Harbour was passed to Geneva yesterday. We are helping UNHCR in the management of the airlift operation co-ordinating the flights into Tirana and into Skopje; we are helping the UNHCR by offloading the aid cargoes - NATO teams in Tirana and Skopje have already offloaded more than 500 flights to date - and we are securing the onward transportation of supplies, for instance we have now deployed 33 helicopters including some US Sea Dragons, which have a particularly large carrying capability, in Tirana to shuttle food and supplies up to Kukes. We are helping the UNHCR by setting up refugee camps.

As you know, NATO in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia has built five such camps, not only built them but also equipped them and we are, of course, as NATO countries, helping the UNHCR by being prepared to accept on a temporary basis refugees on our territories pending the moment when they can return. NATO countries together have accepted or offered to accept about 100,000 refugees, 23,000 of which have already been sent to NATO countries and of course, we are maintaining a close liaison with the UNHCR - there will be another co-ordination meeting between our two organisations in Geneva on 15 April.

As far as the situation in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia is concerned, I understand that the hand-over of the camps from NATO to international relief organisations and civilian authorities will be completed by the end of the week but NATO will stay on the scene to continue to provide essential services until civilian arrangements are fully in place. We will continue to have a small security presence as well inside those camps.

Our third and final key element in this strategy for success is to maintain the broad support for Operation Allied Force within the wider international community. Milosevic may have hoped to divide NATO from the rest of the world but instead he has brought NATO and the rest of the world more closely together.

Today, just a few moments ago, the Secretary General, Dr. Javier Solana, as you know, met with Kofi Annan, the Secretary General of the United Nations, for another of their periodic exchanges of view on the situation; the Secretary General assured the United Nations that the Allies are united and determined to push this through to its logical conclusion but together the two Secretary Generals looked also to future comprehensive arrangements to help integrate the wider region into the European mainstream.

At the moment, just a few moments ago in fact, we began here at NATO headquarters a meeting of our Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council with our 27 Partner countries to brief them also on the situation and the latest developments and also to listen to their views and voices on this operation. Naturally, we continue to have concern for the security of those neighbouring states and in this respect we are alarmed at the reports yesterday - which seem now to be confirmed - of a border incident in which Serb security forces entered the village of Kamenica and destroyed a number of houses.

I see that the Yugoslav Army Information Centre has denied this operation as a "heinous lie" but our indications are that such a border incursion did in fact take place and of course NATO reiterates that any attempt to threaten or attack Albania as a result of the stationing of NATO forces in Albania would have the gravest consequences. We continue to consult with the seven neighbouring countries, there will be another meeting before the end of the week here at NATO headquarters.

And finally, I think that the European summit this afternoon will, in a statement, once again declare its solidarity with our fundamental objectives and the necessity to continue this operation without relenting.

Finally, Ladies and Gentlemen, I'd like to stress that all NATO Allies believe strongly that if there is to be a stable future for Kosovo, for Jugoslavia, for the region as a whole, justice has to be done and must be seen to be done. We have reported from this rostrum in recent days about atrocities based on what refugees have been telling not just our diplomats but also human rights organisations and international relief organisations. As you know, some of the reports over the last few days have added to the distress, the rape of women in Djukavicka (phon), the fact that Serb forces are reported to have shelled pockets of refugees in Maleveso (phon), Shala (phon) and the Kanackik (phon) areas, the fact that we've had reports of people being killed returning from the border with the former Republic of Macedonia at a village called Dogavanic (phon), we have heard of 15 villages having been burned since 10 April, looting in Maleveso on 10 April exactly and reports of mass graves at Gladnic (phon) - 24 bodies - Lapastica (phon) - 30 - and Pristina 100.

Again, I stress that we don't have evidence at the moment but I've never believed that the fact that we do not yet have evidence is a reason to simply dismiss claims that atrocities may well have been committed. In fact, one of the most appalling stories is simply of large numbers of Kosovar Albanians being herded around Kosovo like groups of migratory cattle, sent to the border, then sent back to their villages by Serb security forces, then told to leave again as if they are sort of pawns being moved around on a chessboard and of course this permanent movement, lack of shelter, according to the information that we now have,is producing incidences of typhoid, cholera, scabies and pulmonary infections. I remember the phrase of the English philosopher Hobbs that you all know that goes as follows: "Life is nasty, brutish and short!", I think that's certainly true for the people inside Kosovo today unfortunately.

Later on today, as you know, Justice Louise Arbour, the Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal in The Hague will be here to meet the Secretary General and again we will assure Justice Arbour of the willingness of NATO governments to assist her investigations as much as we possibly can and she will be on hand at around 6.30-6.45 to speak to you.

My conclusion before I hand over to SHAPE is clear: in the coming days, we are going to move ahead on both the military fronts and the diplomatic fronts, we will intensify our air campaign, we will continue our efforts to relieve the humanitarian crisis, we will obviously monitor diplomatic initiatives which are ongoing to prepare for the end-game so that we can implement our core principles when the appropriate time comes and we will obviously support all efforts to ensure that war crimes are both investigated and are followed up.

Thank you and I now hand over to the General.

General Marani: Good afternoon, Ladies and Gentlemen. As you may recall, yesterday there was a question regarding the difference in estimates of numbers of displaced people in Kosovo. The UNHCR estimate is in line with the lower figure given by SACEUR of around 260,000. However, given the continuing displacement of people, the worst-case figure could be as high as the 750,000 mentioned by Secretary Albright. Without people on the ground, we cannot confirm this estimate.

Moving on to the last 24 hours, once again weather affected NATO aircraft operations. Five packages flew, two were cancelled and two packages were only partially executed due to bad weather.

As shown on this map, we continued to attack fielded forces in Kosovo, including successful attacks on trucks, armoured personnel carriers and Yugoslav forces headquarters. Strategic targets were also attacked, including petroleum facilities, military lines of communication and command-and-control facilities. Results are still awaited. All our aircraft returned safely.

There is evidence of increased use of helicopters by the Yugoslav forces. This is probably an indication that movement within Yugoslavia is becoming increasingly difficult as we continue to strike strategic lines of communication. Once again there was AAA activity and some manned portable missiles were fired. None of our aircraft were hit.

On the ground, Yugoslav army and special police force activity continued in the areas outlined on this map. you can see circled on the map the areas where such activity took place. You may remember reports of VJ forces crossing into Albania yesterday. This occurred in the area shown when Yugoslav Army units pursued UCK forces across the border. There was some activity around the village of Kamenica and artillery was fired from Kosovo into Albania. All Yugoslav forces quickly returned to Kosovo after the action.

In recent days, there has been a successful NATO attack against the special police assembly area in the proximity of Livadica. This series of three pictures shows the damage to the strategic rail tunnel and the storage buildings in the area.

On other issues, this picture, taken yesterday, shows burning houses in the village of Randubrava. The nearest NATO strike was over 30 km from the area which suggests that ethnic cleansing action continues. This area has been noted for the activities of the 549th Mechanised Brigade.

This final picture shows displaced persons in the area of Malisevo and the expanded section shows makeshift shelters built in the area.

In summary, despite challenging weather conditions, our military pressure continues to increase to include targeting for ground forces in Kosovo. NATO air strikes in the last 24 hours included military infrastructure and strategic targets. FRY military supporting infrastructure and security forces are vulnerable to collapse. Once again, all our aircraft returned safely to their base.

Since the beginning of Allied Force, NATO air forces have flown short of 6,000 sorties. Our strikes are effective and we will continue to intensify the air campaign.

NATO forces also continue to deploy into Albania under Allied Harbour. They will organise operations at Tirana airport and provide assistance to the Albanian authorities and aid agencies in support of humanitarian relief. During the last 24 hours, 30 aid flights flew into Fyrom with 95 tonnes of food and water and 12 tonnes of medical supplies. There were 38 aid flights to Albania with a proportional amount of material.

Thank you.

Jamie Shea: Giuseppe, thanks very much. We'll go to the questions now.

Charles: You mentioned that you are neutralising the weather. I know you are not going to want to speak specifically about any special services, but can you tell us how you are managing to neutralise the weather? That is a question to both of you.

Jamie Shea: The point, Charles, I was trying to make was that of course I am not denying for one moment that the weather is diminishing the momentum of the operations vis--vis what we could do if we had perfectly blue skies, but what I am trying to show, and I think as you saw from General Marani's briefing and what I said, despite very bad cloud last night we were still able to prosecute a large number of operations.

So clearly we are able to operate in bad weather and continue to strike a number of militarily significant targets. And as we bring in aircraft which have all-weather capabilities and the rest we will continue obviously not to be hampered by the weather. You know there is a famous proverb, or saying, where I come from which says "we will weather the weather, whatever the weather, whether we like it or not", and I think that is the motto of our pilots. I don't know whether General Marani has anything to add to that?

General Marani: Of course different weapons systems and different sensors can give better capability in terms of weather.

Charles: And people on the ground as well of course would help?

General Marani: I didn't say that.

Charles: But I am asking.

General Marani: This is your conclusion, not ours.

Stephen: Two questions. One for you Jamie, do you have a NATO reaction already on what is called the German peace plan for Kosovo because I understand it was touched upon this morning? And a question for the General: there is a report that approximately half of the targets, reported by one of the press agencies, that NATO is looking at in Yugoslavia have been either destroyed or severely damaged and that the air campaign has been most successful in cutting the lines of communication to the Yugoslav forces in Kosovo. Is that correct or is it not?

General Marani: A given percentage means that there is a total number to refer to. This number doesn't exist. The targets are generated and we hope, we know, that significant damage has been done. We will keep going until the military objectives are reached.

Jamie Shea: On the German plan, yes it was mentioned at the meeting of Ambassadors this morning, but I think it is clear that at the moment this is a plan which has been worked on by Germany which obviously will be discussed in the European Union. It is not an official position yet either I believe of any government, or certainly not at the present time of NATO. What I believe we should say about it is that it is a very useful effort and a necessary effort to begin reflection in the Alliance, in the European Union, in the wider international community, as to how we are going to handle the diplomacy of the end game, in other words how are we going to instrumentalise these five core principles which we always enunciate in our briefings, because we have to obviously have a strategy for translating them into action when the appropriate time comes. But it is simply at the moment what you might call a food for thought paper, a discussion paper, to provoke this necessary reflection. I do not believe that it has any official status at the present time either in the Alliance or in the European Union but obviously it is a very valuable contribution and I think that is the way that all allies have reacted to it.

Jim: A couple of questions: in the first point of the strategy, talking about the air campaign, three weeks into all of this is there some kind of a recognition perhaps that there is a likelihood that President Milosevic simply will not cave in, that you will have to have an absolute victory in order to accomplish all of these goals? Second question, the probe under way for a possible NATO spy turning over information about targets?

Jamie Shea: First of all, Jim, as I have said, I think we are in a situation where the correlation of forces is turning to NATO's advantage with every passing day because every day Milosevic has less and every day we have more. So this situation cannot go on indefinitely, the pressure will become even more considerable on Belgrade and it is clear that we are not going to stop. President Milosevic knows that now, he has had to calculate into his planning the fact that NATO is not going to be bought off, or is not going to be divided, and he may be a cynical man but I think he is also deep down a rational man and eventually he will have to realise that he has no option but to comply with the demands of the international community.

Of course everybody here hopes that moment of what I would call the dawning of the truth will come sooner rather than later, but for our part we simply have to keep up what we are doing. We are doing it, as SACEUR explained yesterday, in a very methodical way, a very deliberate way, avoiding collateral damage within the constraints that have been laid down, but I think also in an increasingly efficient way and those forces in Kosovo are going to be increasingly isolated, increasingly cut off, lacking petrol, lacking resupply, lacking ammunition and as our capabilities become ever stronger over Kosovo itself, increasingly a target.

As for the spy, I have nothing on this whatever. I would love to know where I believe it was ABC got this story from, I have never heard anything about it. I know it is obviously an exciting topic for you but I really can't comment because I know nothing about it.

Doug Hamilton, Reuters: General Marani, one of the areas you mentioned where there was still on-going activity, fighting with Yugoslav forces was Srbica There is a report today from the KLA press agency that at least 1,000 people have been killed in the Srbica area, between Srbica and Lauther and that there are bodies all over the place. Does NATO have any information on this, and secondly does NATO have any signs whatsoever of any kind of Yugoslav forces withdrawal? And for Jamie, on the German plan, can we take it from your reply that there is no imminent prospect of a 24 hour bombing halt? And what do you have to say to British Defence Secretary George Robertson's report that Radko Mladic has turned up in Kosovo?

General Marani: I will answer the first question because mine will be a quick answer. No I am afraid I have no notice of what you just said. We will investigate and tomorrow we will give you an answer.

Jamie Shea: Doug, if I may, I can add something. Mr Krazniki, who I believe is the Deputy Prime Minister in at least the provisional government that was formed by the KLA the other day, has been in touch with NATO countries to report this. That is all I have. Of course I don't have any independent NATO verification of this at the moment, so that is the first point.

Secondly, on the German plan, I have said all I can. It does not have an official status at the moment, it is a very useful and necessary contribution to what will be an important discussion over the next few weeks, which is the diplomatic strategy for translating into reality our five core objectives, but none of it represents for the time being official policy in the Alliance, as the German government I believe has stressed this morning. But let me say, we welcome of course this valuable contribution. That is all I want to say on that.

On the third point, on General Mladic, no I personally have not had this information but I have no reason to doubt it if the British government at the briefing today, as I saw, has made that public. We all know that General Mladic has been in Yugoslavia since the end of the war in Bosnia. I understand that up until now he was really leading something of a private life and it would be rather stressing if he were resuming his old activities. I hope that he is not doing anything which is simply going to add to the overwhelming mountain of war crimes evidence which could accumulate in view of a trial in The Hague in the future. So that is all.

German Press Agency: As regards the meeting with Kofi Annan, now they probably have talked about more than just the reiteration of NATO's determination and resolve, probably they have talked about the diplomatic efforts of the peace process. Could you please elaborate on what Solana said to Kofi Annan and vice versa?

Jamie Shea: No I can't generally. Forgive me for not being helpful to you but obviously the purpose of these meetings is to keep a certain degree of confidentiality, so I don't want to say more than what I said in the briefing.

Jonathan Marcus, BBC World Service: Two questions to Jamie. First of all can you confirm that oil tankers are still putting in at Montenegrin ports, and General Clark hinted yesterday that something might be done about that in the near future by one means or another? Secondly, with the air campaign looking as though it is going to stretch on for some several weeks now, the situation of the internally displaced people in Kosovo must be quite desperate, we have seen the evidence of makeshift shelters and so on. Clearly you said that NATO was thinking urgently about what it could do, has there been any upshot to those discussions?

Jamie Shea: As far as the oil tankers into bar are concerned, the last report I have of an oil tanker bar goes back to the beginning of April. I don't have any recent information as to recent supplies. Obviously this is something that has to be looked at by our lawyers in conjunction with the clauses of UN Security Council Resolution 1160 which imposes an arms embargo, a military embargo against Yugoslavia, but we haven't come to any determination on this topic yet, that is my answer there.

As far as the situation of the internally displaced persons are concerned, obviously this is a major worry and SACEUR spoke on this yesterday. But let me, if I may, answer the question in the following way. At the beginning of the Irish campaign at the latter end of the 16th century, Queen Elizabeth I of England gave the Earl of Essex, who was to carry out this campaign, the following piece of advice. She said: "Essex, strike at the trunk and then the branches will wither away." And this is the philosophy we are following in Kosovo, we are striking at the trunk of the problem, stopping the violence, forcing out the Serb forces which are carrying out the barbaric acts against civilians there.

Once we have stopped that, which is the trunk of the problem, the branches of displaced persons, human suffering, refugees, looted homes and all the other manifestations will wither away. If we don't strike at the trunk, if we take our eye, if you like, off the main priority that we are following and go after all of the branches then clearly there will continue to be more and more refugees, more and more displaced persons, more and more suffering added to an already unacceptable total. So clearly the best contribution that NATO can make to resolving the humanitarian crisis is to stop the war in Kosovo because it is only when we have done that that we can start reversing this situation and in a durable way. That is my first point.

The second point is clearly these are Milosevic's citizens, they may not deserve to be Milosevic's citizens but they are, he has created this problem, the responsibility is on his shoulders to stop making it worse, even if he doesn't show any determination to try to improve it for his own citizens, and we are going to continue to point the finger where it belongs - in Belgrade.

The third point. Clearly if there is something that we can do that could help in a positive way to relieve the situation then we will do it. As SACEUR made it clear yesterday, we are examining a number of options. None of those options is a panacea, this is also clear, they all carry risks, they all carry the problem of trying to weigh what advantages may be gained against the considerable risks, that is clear of air drops, as SACEUR explained in great detail yesterday, where planes have to fly low, where they are transport planes there is a risk, a considerable risk, that they could be shot down and of course there is no guarantee that the food would arrive where you wanted it to arrive, in the bellies of starving people, not in the bellies of Serb soldiers. But again we are looking at it, when we have reached clear conclusions then obviously we will share with you those conclusions. But I want to take you away from the idea that there is some palliative here and I want to take you back, away from the branches, towards the trunk because that is where our efforts have to lie first and foremost.

Dirk Kok: Mr Shea, you have had NATO in the war and they are approaching the diplomatic end game, so could you give us your clear definition, what is the victory of NATO and what you would consider as a defeat? For example, would you consider it a defeat if there is no unconditional acceptance of the five core objectives by Mr Milosevic?

Jamie Shea: Mr Kok, as you remember, last October there were a number of diplomatic efforts by NATO, by NATO countries, by the OSCE, to solve the Kosovo crisis and a number of agreements were struck with Milosevic. And three months later, as you well know, little was left of those agreements either on the political front in terms of negotiations, or on the military front in terms of the Serbs promising to keep to the levels that they committed to in the agreement with NATO of their forces, or to keep those forces in barracks.

So I think we have learnt clearly from Milosevic that half-measures are the equivalent of no measures as far as he is concerned, he doesn't respect them, he doesn't keep them, he waits for the attention of the international community to go off elsewhere and then he systematically reverses everything that he promised to do and we find ourselves, 3 or 4 months later, back with the same problem. We don't want to do that again, quite frankly, we have learned all of the lessons of that experience of last October, and so this time we are not going to compromise on these five core principles, it is in our own interest not to compromise because we don't want to be back in the same situation.

So we are going to insist on a verifiable end to the Serb military action, we are going to insist on the withdrawal of the military police and paramilitary forces. If they don't go, we won't get the refugees back and so we won't solve the humanitarian crisis. We are going to insist on the deployment of an international military force because we know that if that force doesn't go in, the refugees also won't return and there will be no future for Kosovo.

And we are going to obviously get the refugees back because we realise that not only does that represent justice but it represents the only hope of a multi-ethnic democratic Kosovo, and probably of a multi-ethnic democratic Yugoslavia in the long run as well. And of course we need to have some undertaking to work seriously towards a political solution. So these are not simply moral principles, they are in our fundamental interest if we don't want to have this crisis like an albatross around our necks for a long time to come in the future.

Dominique Thierry, Radio France Internationale : Jamie, deux questions : l'une des objections potentielles au plan allemand serait mme s'il reste informel la difficult technique d'appliquer une trve de 24 heures pour essayer de ...Quelles seraient les difficults techniques de manire informelle la deuxime concerne les cibles vises hier soir par l'OTAN et notamment la centrale hydro lectrique de Bedtritsa (phontique), le poids conomique de cette guerre pse trs fort sur les pays voisins, notamment le trafic fluvial sur le Danube est interrompu, l'lectricit de Macdoine vient en grand majorit de Serbie, comment comptez-vous aider les pays voisins en ralit avec le cot de cette guerre?

Jamie Shea: Merci de ces deux questions. D'abord en ce qui concerne le plan allemand je n'ai vraiment rien rajouter ce que je viens de dire, parce que vous me parlez de ces diffrentes prvisions comme si c'tait une espce de politique officielle au sein de l'Alliance, alors que pour l'instant il s'agit d'un papier de discussions, trs utile, mais un papier informel de discussion et donc je ne pense pas qu'il faut le prendre pour ce qu'il n'est pas.

En ce qui concerne la deuxime question je crois galement qu'il faut regarder la realit en face - la Yougoslavie est un pays presque coup du monde extrieur sur le plan conomique depuis un certain temps dj, en raison des diffrentes sanctions, mme les sanctions restes en place aprs l'accord de Dayton. Donc la seule manire en quelque sorte d'aider les conomies des pays voisins, c'est bien sr de promouvoir une Serbie dmocratique, ouverte, base sur l'conomie de march qui pourrait reprendre en quelque sorte un certain dynamisme conomique et reprendre les changes commerciaux avec les pays voisins.

Il ne faut pas considrer que la situation antrieure avant les frappes de l'OTAN tait normale cet gard, loin de l, donc il faut viser la solution long terme. Aussi comme vous avez vu, le Prsident Clinton hier soir demandait au Congrs amricain d'octroyer quelque quatre milliards de dollars non seulement pour financer les oprations ariennes mais galement pour aider les pays voisins faire face aux difficults conomiques occasionnes par la crise actuelle au Kosovo.

L'union europenne la semaine passe a galement adopt un certain nombre d'initiatives pour venir en aide, j'ai vu M. .........du ............internationale galement parler d'un r-chelonnement de la dette de l'Albanie pour faciliter ce pays au cours de cette priode difficile, donc je crois qu'il suffit de regarder un petit peu droite et gauche les institutions internationales comptentes et les pays de l'Alliance font dj pas mal d'efforts pour essayer de venir en aide au pays voisins, mais la seule solution est la fin des hostilits, c'est une normalisation n'est-ce pas des rapports dans la rgion et c'est pourquoi l'OTAN lundi dernier a evoqu l'ide d'une espce d'approche long terme et global du problme pour rinsrer la rgion dans le moyen en quelque sorte de l'Europe.

Dominique Thierry: ............opinion publique et une monte de l'opposition aux frappes ariennes et l'action de l'OTAN dans les pays voisins ?

Jamie Shea: Non, absolument pas. Je crois que les pays voisins savent apprcier Milosevic sa juste valeur. Ils savent trs bien que Milosevic n'est pas un facteur de stabilisation dans la rgion. Au contraire, il est un facteur de dstabilisation dans la rgion. Ils savent trs, trs bien que leur intrt est dans la coopration avec l'Alliance et avec la communaut internationale.

Michael: In discussing the Serb incursion in Albania yesterday you said that any attack on Albania as a result of the deployment of NATO forces there would have the gravest consequences. Do you consider the incursion that occurred yesterday as a challenge to that defence commitment, or do you consider it the sort of spill-over that might have occurred regardless of whether NATO forces were deployed there? And if this sort of incursion occurs again, does NATO plan to take specific action or merely deplore it?

Jamie Shea: Action by NATO, Michael, will obviously depend on the dimensions of these type of incursions and our appreciation of what lies behind them, because clearly there have been a number of border incidents in recent months, we know about that, up there on the border and of course the Kosovo Liberation Army continues to operate in the border area clearly. We are of course concerned by what happened yesterday because it goes a little beyond the type of cross-border shellings and incidents that we have known in recent weeks. NATO's position is quite clear but obviously the appreciation would be left to the allies in the light of the particular incident and certainly we have repeatedly in the past called on the Kosovo Liberation Army to exercise restraint. Obviously all Serb units in Kosovo will be considered as targets by NATO.

Paulo: I understood you well that you have nothing to add to the German plan, but allow me please to come back to this question. I wonder if the Germans did or did not inform the Allies on Monday during the NAC session of the Foreign Affairs Meeting? And my second question, the Russian President Yeltsin has named today his ex-Prime Minister, Chernomyrdin, as his Special Envoy for Yugoslavia. Do you think that Chernomyrdin can do more than Primakov did?

Jamie Shea: Again, Paulo, I hate to disappoint you on the German plan but this is a question you must put to the German government. I cannot speak on behalf of the German government, that is not my role and I think I have described to you in the best way I can what the status of that plan is, so please follow it up with the competent authority and not me.

On Mr Chernomyrdin's appointment as Special Envoy, I saw that. Let me state what I have always said on this. We would welcome any diplomatic initiative from whatever country, including Russia, that can persuade Milosevic to meet the fundamental conditions that I have laid out. There is no competition here, whoever can do it should do it and will receive NATO's thanks and acknowledgement. But of course the agreement of Milosevic has to be on these five conditions and not on something else, no more but no less if we are going to, as I have said, achieve some permanent way forward for Kosovo.

So let's see. But Mr Chernomyrdin is a very experienced diplomat, a statesman, he is a heavyweight figure, there is no doubt about that, and if he can do something then as I say that would be all for the better. But we will judge by results clearly and we will see how that develops in the next few days. But any sign that Russia wants to continue to work with the allies in seeking a diplomatic solution is welcome, we want Russia to be part of this, inside working with us, not on the outside looking in.

Barry: General, are there any command and control facilities that are being hidden in buildings that cannot be attacked, either museums or churches, and if so is this going to complicate the air campaign?

General Marani: Not that we know of at this moment of command and control facilities that have been hidden in places that couldn't be attacked. The concept is that everything that constitutes a military target could be attacked. Of course we have been always extremely careful in avoiding collateral damage and in avoiding casualties among the civilian population. Nevertheless, General Milosevic must know that doing so, if he does so, he endangers the lives of his citizens.

Jamie Shea: As you know, we have hit a number of tanks and artillery and units already, so fortunately there isn't a human shield around every one, mainly because Yugoslavs have so much military hardware in Kosovo given the deployments that General Clark explained in the briefing yesterday. But I endorse what General Marani said, we of course are going to continue to avoid risk of loss of life by civilians.

F2: Je voudrais savoir si ce soir M. Solana va demander Mme Arbour si M. Milosevic sera poursuivi pour crimes de guerre?.

Jamie Shea: C'est l'affaire du Tribunal, ce n'est pas notre affaire.

Dragan Blagojevic, Beta Agency: (some text inaudible)...dans Le Figaro aujourd'hui on trouve que de plus en plus les attaques de l'OTAN qui continuent ne sont plus seulement des cibles strictement militaires mais aussi civiles. Je trouve que c'est une guerre maintenant qui commence tre contre la Serbie, non seulement contre les appareils militaires et de l'autre cot un groupe de.........yougoslaves ont present un plan, une demande la Cour internationale de justice La Haye pour demander leur opinion, ce que eux ils trouvent une agression contre la Yougoslavie et une demande de ddommagement de pertes contre les objets civils et d'autres. Qu'est-ce que vous avez comme commentaire?

Jamie Shea: Je rpondrai votre deuxime question et je demanderai au Gnral de rpondre votre premire question sur les cibles civiles si vous voulez. Si la Cour Internationale de Justice de La Haye entend un tel rquisitoire, j'espre qu'ils prendront galement en considration les milliards de dollars de dgts infligs par les forces serbes la proprit prive du peuple kosovar, contrairement la constitution yougoslave, et peut tre la compensation qui doit tre paye tous ces gens qui ont t privs de leur pargne, de leurs conomies, de leur argent et refouls dans les pays voisins, qui ont d dpenser beaucoup d'argent avec la communaut internationale pour construire les villages de tentes et pour venir en aide, donc, d'accord mais dans la mesure ou tous les facteurs soit pris en compte. La justice ne demande pas moins.

General Marani: If I clearly understood your question, I must say, and what General Clark yesterday said, SACEUR, we are not at war with the people of Yugoslavia. Nevertheless, military targets can be hit and NATO cannot be blackmailed using civilians as human shields. Of course civilian losses, it is our biggest concern and as you can realise we have done so far the best we could to avoid civilian losses. But a military target is a military target. The Yugoslav authorities know what a military target is and therefore where it can be. They should keep their civilians away from military targets.

Jamie Shea: Ladies and Gentlemen, we will stop there, but just two quick points before I leave. As you know, in about 50 minutes from now, at around 1645, the Secretary General will be here with Madam Ogata of the UNHCR for a quick press briefing; and Chief Prosecutor, Justice Arbour, of the International Tribunal should be with you here at around 1830 - 1845. So those are the two events for the remainder of the afternoon.

Go to Homepage Go to Index