Updated: 18 April 1999 Press Conferences


18 Apr. 1999

Press Conference

by Jamie Shea and Brigadier General Giuseppe Marani

(Presentation Photo)

Jamie Shea: Ladies and Gentlemen, Good Afternoon. Welcome to today's operational and political up-date on Operation Allied Force. I will begin today and then I will ask General Marani to follow-up on the military side.

I would just like to announce, as an introduction, that on Tuesday Prime Minister Blair will be visiting NATO headquarters to meet with the Secretary General, he will also see SACEUR, and to discuss obviously the latest developments in the Kosovo situation, and I am anticipating a press event with Prime Minister Blair and the Secretary General some time around 1.00 pm, but I will confirm the exact time tomorrow. Prime Minister Blair will also of course, as many of you know, be speaking to the US media today, I understand he is on "Meet the Press" later, and Chancellor Schroeder is on CNN, so those are two other activities, apart from our briefing, for you to follow.

As far as the operations are concerned, in the last 24 hours we have had some good weather over Yugoslavia, particularly yesterday afternoon, and that allowed us for the third day running to have a highly successful day of air operations, particularly against the Yugoslav Army and the Special Police targets on the ground. I am glad to say that all of the aircraft returned safely to their bases.

In one operation, 36 aircraft were involved, all of them found their targets and we have good reason to believe from our assessment that 13 vehicles were damaged, including armoured personnel carriers and tanks. At the same time in this package, supply lines and military facilities were also struck, and then as you know, you have seen the pictures already, during the night 36 targets were struck in Yugoslavia, including an explosives plant at Rakovica, the Pancevo refinery and production and storage plant, we believe that that has now been destroyed, and an airfield at Ponikva. And in addition, radar relay sites and lines of communication were also struck.

You also know that the US Apaches are now well on their way to Albania where their deployment will be taking place over the next few days.

We have good reason to believe that the integrated air defence system of Yugoslavia has been now seriously depleted, causing Belgrade to rely upon ad hoc and makeshift arrangements to try to keep its remaining systems intact and operational.

At the same time on the ground, the Yugoslav Army and Special Police continue to expand their operations against the Kosovar Liberation Army, mainly as before along the Albanian border, I think General Marani will have maybe something to say on that in his up-date, but we also see that fighting is taking place not just along the Albanian border, but in central, eastern and northern Kosovo, particularly in the north around the Podojevo and Metrovicka areas.

However, the UCK still is far from defeated, it may control little terrain now but it retains a capacity to harass the Yugoslav forces, and like me, you will have seen the TV pictures of all of those volunteers arriving from abroad to join the ranks of the UCK because of their outrage at the persecution of the Kosovar Albanians, and again it shows that one rarely succeeds in suppressing a people through repression.

NATO pilots that have been flying over Kosovo in the last couple of weeks, since this operation began, have been extremely struck by the enormous amounts of smoke that they have seen from burning villages across Kosovo. We also now have strong indications from a number of sources that Arkan's Tigers are operating around the Pec area.

On the humanitarian side, all of you are aware, how can you avoid it, of a new wave of ethnic cleansing, 20,000 plus entered Albania yesterday, perhaps as many as 50,000 are immediately behind them trying to go to Albania, and this is the result of fighting south of Pec and spreading eastwards via Prizren across Kosovo, right to the south near the border with the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. Let me put it this way, everybody in the international community has condemned this latest round of ethnic cleansing. The Vatican announced it yesterday as a disgrace that bloodies Europe, and this is certainly the sense of all of the allies as well. And the physical condition of the refugees, according to the humanitarian organisations that are receiving them, is much worse than during the previous round of ethnic cleansing just a couple of weeks ago. This is in part because many of them have been living in the rough and having run out of food have now had no alternative but to try to leave. It is also to some degree the consequence of having been forced to walk for 4 or 5 days in conditions now which are becoming warmer, but where there has been a very great deal of heavy rain in recent days, as you have seen from TV pictures, in Kosovo itself.

But we are better prepared than last time in the Alliance and I think in the international community to deal with this latest influx of refugees. You know that the Ace Mobile Force is now deployed in Tirana in Albania for what we call AFOR, or Albania Force, and this force is already getting down to work, it is doing some basic engineering, for example it is constructing a helicopter pad at Rinos Airport Tirana to better allow a shuttle service between Tirana and refugee camps in the north, it is also improving the quality of the runway at Rinos Airport so that C130 transporter aircraft are able to use the airport round-the-clock. In fact our military have scheduled most of their flights into Tirana at night so that during the day the airport is free to be used by humanitarian relief operations. And the NATO soldiers will also be helping to improve the road between Tirana and Kukes as well so that more food can be transported by land, and not purely by air.

At the same time, the NATO forces in Albania are supporting work undertaken by the Albanian government to make schools and Ministry buildings available for refugees.

In the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, the NATO forces there are working on expanding the capabilities of the existing tent camps to deal with the additional influx of refugees so that we don't have a system of stress and overcrowding in those existing camps. The non-governmental organisations in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia have taken over virtually all of these camps, except one - Neprostino - which will pass from NATO's hands on 21 April.

I would like to stress once again that NATO is not trying to replace international humanitarian organisations in Albania or the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, we recognise that these organisations are the specialists, these are the experts, they have the mandate and the expertise to deal with the situation, but of course we want to be helpful, we want to provide them with things like transport, logistics, communications, security, that of course can help them cope with what is after all still for Europe in recent years an unprecedented situation.

At the same time we can offer intelligence and information to organisations that may be able to enter Kosovo in order to bring aid to the people there who of course are displaced but who do not have the same access to relief, food and water. That continues to be one of our prime concerns.

Before I hand over to the General, I would like to develop a theme today which has been on my mind for a while, which is that of the Serb state media. I think the time has come to take a closer look at the Serb state media. It is not really a media at all, it is part of President Milosevic's war machine and over the last few weeks as I have been standing here I have been aware that as the Spokesman of this Alliance I have under pressure, day and night, to explain and justify NATO's actions to all of you here, and via you to public opinion at large, and to face your very justified and very appropriate questions.

But it also has struck me that President Milosevic doesn't have to justify anything. There is no independent media in Serbia, particularly nobody there to ask the government why they are conducting a campaign of killing, rape, maiming and forced deportations of innocent civilians inside Kosovo; or to ask Milosevic why he brought this situation upon his country by constantly rejecting diplomacy, and indeed taking on the entire international community, and NATO, in a conflict that he can't win.

We have to check our facts, we have to correct our mistakes, we have to tell the truth, that is well known, but Milosevic is under no such restriction. There aren't any such things as objective facts in Serbia and Milosevic's media re-writes history as it happens.

I don't want Milosevic to get away with this. In fact anybody inside his country who dares to challenge this monopoly of the media, or dares to challenge the newspapers and radio stations that have been closed down, tends to be silenced, in some cases quite literally, as with, as you know, a well known newspaper Editor, Mr Kurudjeva, who was assassinated in Belgrade on 11 April. What struck me was that 1,000 people showed up for his funeral, showing that there are still a lot of courageous people inside Serbia, despite what you see, who are prepared to stand up for the truth and for democracy. Not every crowd in Belgrade is at a rock concert.

Now the reason why this situation has happened is because the media in Serbia is President Milosevic's personal fiefdom. His daughter controls a radio station in Belgrade, his son owns several in the provinces and his wife controls a good portion of the print media. And therefore it is hardly surprising that whereas our TV screens have thankfully been deluged day in and day out with pictures of the hundreds and thousands of Kosovars who have been forced to leave, virtually none of this has been seen inside Serbia itself. In fact the one incident this past week in which NATO, and I personally, have had to express regret for an attack on a convoy was declared a war crime by President Milotenovic of Serbia and Belgrade even declared officially a day of mourning against NATO.

Again those western journalists who were taken to visit the scene of this incident were not allowed to film anything en route, or get out and take a look at all of the burning villages which to my mind continue to constitute the real story of this conflict. This was something of a Potemkin (phon) village tour in many respects.

And I would just like to give you, if I may, just some incidences that we have picked up, monitoring the Serb media here over the past week, to show that we are not dealing with an isolated case. The Serb media have alleged that NATO has deliberately bombed the elderly and the retarded; they have claimed that NATO has been dropping napalm bombs and firing radioactive missiles at targets; they have alleged that many of the refugees suffering on the border with the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia are in fact Macedonian Albanians that are doing this in collusion with NATO; they have insisted that dozens of planes have been shot down, whereas we have only lost one, as you well known; 46 cruise missiles, that I have counted, they claim that we have shot down; they have claimed that a helicopter crashed recently killing 40 soldiers; and I have already spoken to you, as you well know, about that incident where they claimed that an entire German unit in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia had thrown down their arms and fled because of the resistance at the hands of Serb forces; they have even shown demonstrations in western capitals portraying thousands of people, whereas in fact when we have looked into this we have discovered that there were 10, 12, 20 people maximum.

So I just wanted to point this out because I intend in these briefings over the next few days to continue to highlight what I consider the disparity between an operation which is doing its best to be truthful, and one which clearly doesn't even accept the truth as a starting point.

General Marani: Good Afternoon, Ladies and Gentlemen.

NATO Air Forces are increasing the intensity of their air strikes against FRY strategic targets, military infrastructures and fielded forces. All of our aircraft, as has been said, returned safely.

Humanitarian aid efforts also continue. During the last twenty four hours there were 16 aid flights to FYROM, delivering 63 tons of food and water and 24 tons of other supplies. There were 33 flights to Albania. Unfortunately I am unable to give you the details of the tonnage carried but should be in direct proportion to the number of flights.

The activity of the Yugoslav Army and Special Police continues in the areas shown on this map. As you can see, activity and artillery action continues in the west, close towards the Albanian border. Evidence of ethnic cleansing and further atrocity is apparent throughout the area of Serb activity.

NATO flew over 500 missions yesterday, making the most of good weather in the afternoon and overnight. Fielded forces were attacked in and around Kosovo. Armoured vehicles were destroyed and damaged together with control facilities and supply trucks. We also successfully struck a Serb military marshalling area.

Attacks against strategic military targets, shown on this map, also continued successfully. Damage to petrol production and storage, together with supply routes, is limiting the mobility of Serb forces, reducing their ability to move assets on a regular basis.

We are learning of the latest humiliation being inflicted on to the Albanian Kosovars. We understand that they are being used by President Milosevic to dig graves for their countrymen killed by Serbian ethnic cleansing.

There have been numerous refugee reports of the Serb police assembling Kosovar Albanians into grave digging chain gangs. They are reportedly put in red/orange jackets to readily identify them and the use of these men in red to dig graves is supported by imagery evidence which has already identified 43 mass grave sites in Kosovo. Yesterday I showed you one of these. These sites are different from the mass, open trench graves, that the Serbs created during the Bosnia war. Instead, these sites are neat rows of individual graves, pointing to the south-east - towards Mecca. Despite being forced to do this gruesome task, the Albanians are clearly trying to bury their victims of Milosevic with respect.

In another ominous development, numerous refugee reports have reached us of Kosovar Albanian men and boys being forced to dig coal from the mines around Pristina. This coal is needed to run the coal-fed power plant in Pristina, the main source of electricity for Kosovo.

Finally, this video shows a planned attack against a mobile radar. These radars are particularly important as they provide early warning of NATO attacks. This particular pilot was briefed on the position of the radar and launched his attack successfully. However, during the later stages of the weapon trajectory he noticed that this site was located very close to a church. You will recall how we have briefed on President Milosevic's strategy to colocate military targets with civilian infrastructure. Fortunately this quick-thinking pilot was able to pull his weapon off the target and redirect it into a wood where it exploded harmlessly. This emphasises the fact that the pilots are always aware of possible collateral damage, doing whatever they can to avoid it, even if a great deal of effort and risk has been taken to position the aircraft near the target and in a firing position.

The target was just under the 4.00 o'clock position of the cross when the video started.

BBC Russian Service: Have the developments in Kosovo affected the agenda of the forthcoming NATO Summit in Washington? If yes, in which way? In particular are there any plans to offer some sort of special partnership, or even full membership, to Balkan countries like Romania or possibly Albania?

Jamie Shea: Welcome to the briefings and thank you for that question. Yes, we have obviously had to take account of the impact of Kosovo on the summit. Now you all know the summit is going ahead of course and there are many important things, apart from Kosovo, that have to be done in Washington, but Kosovo clearly is going to be a main theme, perhaps the main theme.

The Summit will be less commemorative as a result, we are still naturally going to mark NATO's 50th anniversary, but given the circumstances of Kosovo in a more sober way than perhaps we would have wanted originally, but that is clearly something that has to be done. And on Friday, the day which was originally earmarked for many ceremonial events, most of the meetings will focus on Kosovo, Kosovo policy, meetings of the Heads of State to discuss the way ahead, and I anticipate that there will be a very strong show of unity and determination on Kosovo by all of the Heads of State. The message will be that we are going to see this through to the end and nothing will make us deviate from that course. But at the same time I think in Washington they are going to want to look ahead and try to map out a programme for the Balkans which can be developed once we have succeeded in stabilising the situation in Kosovo and which would ensure the economic development of the area, closer security, cooperation, among the states in the area which would obviously promote human rights and democracy building and look to the integration of the region into the European mainstream, including of course a democratic Yugoslavia which will have ultimately its place in that scheme as well.

The second day, the Saturday, I imagine will be taken up with some of the long-standing topics like the new strategic concept, the membership action plan, the concept of how to bring our partner countries closer to the Alliance and help them to prepare more quickly, more actively, to meet the criteria for NATO membership. The future of the European security and defence identity, and so on. So there will be lots on the Saturday and then on the Sunday we will be having the meeting at Heads of State and Government level of the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council and the meeting of the NATO/Ukraine Commission at Summit level.

As for the second part of your question on the possibility of new invitations to membership, well of course that is going to be left to the Heads of State and Government in Washington to decide and I wouldn't like to pre-judge their decision.

Richard: I know you are still investigating the incident, but back to the convoy, I don't want to get off your theme, but do you have any reaction to what the Pentagon said in their briefing last night regarding the playing of the F16 tape we heard here? And in case you have no comment, can we take that as a correction that we should not be stating that this pilot in any way was involved in an attack on a civilian vehicle?

Jamie Shea: Richard, I would really welcome anything that would throw light on this business and put the facts on the table, I am even more than you on this. I have received today no further information so I cannot give you any up-date on this incident. SACEUR, as you know, went to Aviano yesterday on his way back from his trip to Albania and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, and he spoke of course with all of the people who are involved in this business of establishing the facts.

One thing that has struck me is that this has become, or is, a complicated business, establishing the facts. There really are an awful number of different things that you have to look into, including trying to gather intelligence from the ground by the way, and my latest information, and this is hot off the press because I spoke to SHAPE just a few moments ago, is that their enquiries are still on-going, and so I have to say what I have said before, but with sincerity, which is that as soon as they have everything established, we will be happy to give you a full account of this particular incident. But I would want them to do it when they have got the facts on the table in a most comprehensive way. So I can't add anything today.

Richard: Would it be inaccurate for us to keep saying that this tape, played on Thursday, has anything to do at the moment with this potential convoy, you are still standing by that, you are not retracting that?

Jamie Shea: Richard, all I am saying, and I have said this before, is that I am not in the military chain of command so I do not have any privileged insights into this at the moment. The inquiries are being conducted by the military commanders, they have told me that once they have concluded and they have got everything on the table, then they will bring it up to my level and I will hopefully be in a position to tell you more. But I can't give you information, frankly, that I don't have, even with the best will in the world. I am flattered that you believe that I know everything, but on this one I don't, and until the enquiries are complete I can't share more information with you.

Mark Laity (BBC): Two questions, one for each of you.

Has the refugee flow, which has been much increased over the last few days as we've been hearing, had any impact on the attack profiles that you've been flying? For instance, have the roads which you had been able to attack now been almost off-limits because there are so many civilians on them? Are you able to attack the highways which we've been talking about over the last week or are they now, in a way, off-limits because of the people who are crowding them who are clearly civilian?

Jamie, there is a report that Chancellor Schrder has complained that an oil pipeline is still open going through Hungary. I assume the Chancellor would know what he is talking about. Can you confirm that is the case and if that is the case, could you explain why one NATO member is allowing oil to go into Yugoslavia when the rest of NATO is trying to bomb them?

Jamie Shea: General, would you like to go first? I'll see if I can find my wire report of Chancellor Schrder's statement.

General Marani: There are no off-limits areas inside Kosovo, attacks are carried out anywhere it is possible to do it with the certainty to avoid any collateral damage. Of course, when you have a large mix of civilians and military you have to be extremely careful and so if an open space you can carry out so many attacks, in this other situation you have to be more careful and therefore for sure you will perform less attacks but as I said, there isn't any off-limits area.

Mark Laity: I wasn't trying to suggest it is off-limits, it is really just a factual thing. Given the number of extra refugees that are on the roads that have been reported, has the problem become worse over the last few days? I am not trying to suggest they are off-limits but literally, are pilots having more problems than they were before?

General Marani: The problems the pilots have are proportional to the number of refugees you find mixed with the military assets really.

Jamie Shea: Mark, I don't have the wire bit. I read Chancellor's Schrder's statement. I confess I don't recall he mentioned Hungary but I'd have to check that. Let me, however, point out that Hungary's loyalty to the Alliance is absolute. Just a couple of days ago, Hungary turned back several oil tankers at its border with Ukraine which, as you will recall, were part of a humanitarian aid package en route to Montenegro and I think that demonstrates the seriousness with which Hungary takes its Allied obligations and the need to keep up the pressure on Milosevic. There are some pipelines into the area but I think the routes are, from my information at least, not through Hungary at the present time.

Obviously, what we want to do is clearly deprive Milosevic of his military oil and we're doing that; we've deprived him of 70 per cent of it thus far and many of our targets in recent days have been, as you know, refineries and the rest and storage sites. In fact, Milosevic no longer has the capability to refine crude today but of course, we will continue to look at how, within the present scope of our operations, we can bring that pressure to bear, we are going to continue to do that.

Mrs. Savic: General, last night, as far as I know, the refinery of Pancevo was again hit for God knows what time and right now there is a very heavy smoke over Belgrade so please tell me are you aware of this and are you aware that some of your hits are producing ecological catastrophe? Does it help NATO to save its face, its credibility or not?

General Marani: Of course, we are aware of what's happening but conflicts have never been healthy for anybody. It was a military target, it had a military value, it has been struck. This is what I can tell you.

Jamie Shea: Can I just say two things on this? First of all, I think there is more smoke coming from burning villages in Kosovo, quite frankly; that's what our pilots pick up when they see smoke, a hell of a lot of smoke, how about the environmental effects of that, of 200 burning villages, town and cities in Kosovo?

Secondly, if there were an environmental danger from that, why are not all of the people in the surrounding area being evacuated? I've seen no reports of that whatever.

Thirdly, this could stop immediately, today, if President Milosevic would simply meet the requirements of the international community. We'd be very happy to stop today I can assure you but not before those fundamental demands have been met.

Charles: Jamie, I'm not going to ask any further questions about what exactly happened on Wednesay because you made it very clear.

Jamie Shea: Charles, you can ask me whatever you like, there's no censorship of questions in these briefings.

Charles: That's true, all right, then I will, Jamie, OK.

First of all, to clarify how the chain of communications works between the Pentagon and yourselves and what exactly your relationship is - I don't know whether the General or yourself should answer this question - how was it that this tape that you played last week - I believe it was Thursday or Friday, I forget which now - how was it that that tape turned out to be the incorrect tape? Was it wrongly asked for by yourselves or was it wrongly given by the Pentagon? How could this extraordinary mistake have happened? And is it the case that the information that you gave us at the time regarding the co-ordinates of the only civilian collateral damage that you were prepared to accept responsibility for was based on the co-ordinates of that pilot and if that pilot was the incorrect one, therefore the claim that that was the only incident north of Djakovica that you accept responsibility for goes up in smoke.

General Marani: For what the data positional parameters are concerned, the activities, the inquiry is still going on, therefore whether to confirm or not the numbers, it is one of the results that we have. Therefore, at this moment it would be premature to tell you it was wrong, it was correct. When we have cleared the whole situation, you'll get the answer.

The pilot tape was brought here because the intention was to clarify what was the procedure of a pilot involved in an action of that type, what he was taking care of, what he was saying and because that tape was clear and was available it was brought to you to tell you what that type of attack was like.

Charles: Can I clarify, Sir? If I read you right, you are clarifying this as saying that you never intended that tape to come across to us as being the pilot who was responsible for hitting mistakenly a civilian vehicle thinking that it was a military one. Is that correct, is that what you are saying?

General Marani: I brought you that tape to try to clarify what was the process of the pilot, how the pilot was acting and what he was saying and looking at. There are many pilots flying over Kosovo doing every day that type of action on different targets, that one was an example.

The relationship with that specific pilot and what was the narrative on that tape and specific events on the ground, as I said, will be clarified when we get the results of what we are doing now.

Jamie Shea: Could I add Charles, as you know yourself, there's an immense difference between going to a place with a tv camera and saying: "Bang! That's the story!" and coming up with something that would stand up, let us say, in a court of law as evidence, there are leagues of difference between the two things; the one could be done immediately but we cannot prove that that is the truth. To establish the facts, requires doing a lot of things, particularly in a very confusing situation, aircraft flying extremely quickly, lots of smoke on the ground, up at 15,000 feet, the need to gather an immense amount of technical data, to collate that technical data, to interview pilots, to look at other sources of intelligence that you may have had and then to try to get as much material as you can from what people have filmed on the ground, then to analyse things like damage, holes in the ground, shell-holes or whatever, to see if that could correspond to a certain type of munitions and all the rest. You know yourself that that is not a very simple process but at the end of the day it's that which holds up in the court of law as well as the court of public opinion, if I can use that expression, and not an instantaneous tv slot so this is really quite a major affair and that's the reason why it's taking a few days. It is not because of bad faith on the part of myself or the General or anybody else, it's simply because the inquiry is still ongoing.

As I've said before, there are some situations that one can clarify quickly and my God, that makes life a lot easier for me when we can but there are other situations where really things are rather confusing and that has always been the case with conflicts as you know, they do tend to general more confusion than the average norm of daily activity and we are still looking into it, when we have got more we'll give it to you.

Douglas Hamilton (REUTERS): I don't know quite who to address the question to. I was wondering about the state of Kosovo's six or seven major cities, we haven't really heard all that much about them recently. Are you able to say what sort of state they are in, how many people are left, is there any pattern to which ones are being emptied and which ones may not be emptied?

Secondly, you have insisted that NATO is of course not a humanitarian organisation but you said yesterday that this is one of the first humanitarian wars of modern times and it strikes me that NATO is in a sense changing radically and is becoming an enforcer of humanitarian values. Could you comment on that, please?

Jamie Shea: On the first question, the cities: again, I think it would great if we could have Western tv teams going down to Kosovo not just to see one thing and then hopping back on the bus and going back but who could really go and look at the situation and really give us the story because as I said, this is, whether one likes it or not, the story and I'm certain that historians will see that too as the essential story. So we only have reports of refugees, we have some photographic evidence, as you know, of villages burning, I spoke about 18 at the briefing yesterday and General Marani has shown you some of the pictures. We know, obviously, that all of the cities have suffered major systematic damage, the ones that seem to have suffered the most are Pec and Prizren according to the information that I have; Orahovac seems to be in a pretty sorry state, that's where most of the refugees are coming from that are now going to the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia; Pristina, it's less easy to know although we've seen pictures - again, courtesy of the Serb media - that suggest that the damage there could not have been done by NATO bombs but clearly is part of a systematic destruction campaign and we've seen it in Bosnia so there are certain similarities which can't be denied. Of course, it's going to make the process of reconstructing Kosovo that much more difficult at the end of the day so that is regarding your first question.

On the second question, obviously we in the Alliance believe that it's not simply enough to proclaim principles and then do nothing to defend them, if these principles are to be taken seriously, they have to be defended. We are going to defend them even if it means some difficulty, if it means engaging in a long operation but it is essential that those principles be implemented.

Is NATO a humanitarian organisation? Not in the strict sense of the term, no, but we have seen that the military working together with organisations like the UNHCR provide a very quick response to these overwhelming situations. Had we not done this, today we could have two neighbouring countries - Albania and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia - completely destabilised and in a very severe political situation because of these refugees and we have stopped that from happening. NATO forces are there, we've met with these countries, we've talked about their security, we've provided them with all kinds of assurances to give them the political stamina also to get through this situation, we are helping with the refugees. It's a terrible situation but let's face it, we are much better equipped to deal with it today than we were just a couple of weeks ago because of that essential infrastructure and therefore Milosevic remains very isolated today in his little corner, he has not succeeded in destablising the area. But at the end of the day, the major humanitarian objective has to be to stop the violence in Kosovo. That is going to be our major contribution to this humanitarian effort because as long as there is violence continuing in Kosovo, there'll be more refugees, more human suffering so we have to seek an ultimate solution to it.

Nick Macke (Deutsche Welle): President Clinton has a letter in Britain's "Sunday Times" today and he describes President Milosevic as a belligerent tyrant, Europe's worst demagogue. You said a couple of days ago that sometimes we have to risk the lives of the few to save the lives of the many. Is President Milosevic a legitimate target for NATO now and is the goal of NATO to bring down the regime?

Jamie Shea: No. President Milosevic is not a target of NATO and I don't see President Clinton's remarks as reflecting that in any way although every word that President Clinton used is a word that I would wholeheartedly endorse. President Milosevic's fate will be left in the first place to his own people of course and they will have to decide whether he is really the best person to take them into the 21st century. As I've said before, if you look at his record since he assumed power over ten years ago, it's one of unmitigated disaster, quite frankly, first of all for the former Yugoslavia which largely broke up because of the rabid nationalism that he instigated; for the countries in the region, which have been destabilised by his policies; and of course for his own Serb people. This is really one of the great ironies, that the Serbs too have suffered - all of those hundreds of thousands who were evicted in extremely difficult circumstances from their homes in Croatia because of the war in Yugoslavia that he unleashed, all those poor Serbs in the Republic of Bosnia that have been forced into exile, all of those Serbs in Sarajevo forced out of their flats and homes in 1995 by Serbs and now the Serbs that were even living in Kosovo more or less peacefully with the Kosovar Albanians that have been forced out as well so I don't think when enlightened Serb historians in the years to come write the history of this period, that they will deem Milosevic to have been their most brilliant leader quite frankly. But anyway, leaders have to be dealt with first and foremost by their own populations so that is the best I can say so, no.

NATO obviously would like Serbia to move in a democratic direction, of course we would, that would be not only stabilising for the region but I think ultimately it would be best for the Serb people and I personally am not convinced that the Serbs, despite the nationalism that you see on our tv screens, deep down in their hearts really want that as well, they are Europeans and there is no reason why they shouldn't have the same access to human rights, to democracy and a civilised life as everybody else.

Luc Rosenzweig (Le Monde):

Merci Jamie. J'ai bien entendu votre critique acerbe des mdias serbes. C'est pas un verbe mais enfin, est-ce que a signifie que maintenant les lieux de ces mdias sont des cibles lgitimes, y compris si elles ne comportent pas dans leurs lieux de mode de transmission militaire pour l'OTAN, a c'est la premire question. Deuximement, c'est toujours propos des cibles, il a t mis en question ces derniers jours, disons le choix, le mode de choix de ces cibles. Est-ce que c'est un choix uniquement militaire ou fait-il l'objet cas par cas d'une discussion entre les allis pour en dterminer la liste et le sens.

Jamie Shea:

Luc, merci de ces deux questions. Je crois qu'il y a deux faons de combattre la propagande. La premire faon, c'est de l'exposer, c'est que tout le monde sache qu'il s'agit en effet de la propagande. Et c'est a que j'essaie de faire, et que je vais continuer de faire quand je vois des exemples flagrants, pour que personne ne se trompe sur la nature vritable du produit. Premire chose. Deuximement, l'autre faon de combattre la propagande, c'est d'offrir aux gens un choix. C'est ce que l'on appelle le pluralisme donc parce que la vrit est base sur la possibilit de regarder diffrentes informations et donc de faire un choix sur la base de ces lments. Malheureusement, ceci n'existe pas en Serbie. C'est regrettable parce que cela existait il y a quelques mois, il y a quelques annes. Il y avait beaucoup de journaux indpendants, des radios indpendantes. Mme, mme sous le rgne de Milosevic. Mais tout cela maintenant a disparu sauf au Montngro, mais mme au Montngro, il y a eu l'exemple l'autre jour d'un journaliste qui a eu un interview avec Tony Blair et qui l'a publi dans un journal et qui reu, tout de suite aprs, la visite de la police spciale serbe, serbe. Et maintenant les tentatives de la troisime arme au Montngro de limiter les missions des 4 radios libres, parce qu'elles contiennent des produits occidentaux. Bon, OK, soit dit, mais si nous avons des possibilits bien sr, d'envoyer nos messages en Serbie, nous allons le faire. Vous savez plusieurs Chefs d'Etat et de Gouvernements de l'Alliance, Mme Albright mme hier soir, enregistrait des messages. Nous allons essayer, dans la mesure de nos moyens techniques, d'atteindre le public serbe avec ces messages. Mais j'avoue que c'est difficile. En ce qui concerne les ciblages, j'ai dit ici trs clairement, que la tl serbe en tant que tel n'est pas une cible. Si il y a des transmetteurs militaires qui sont dtruits, c'est en raison n'est-ce pas de leur utilit militaire et non pas parce que, comme fonction secondaire, ils vhiculent galement les ondes de la tlvision serbe.

Augustino: Jamie, you said that Milosevic is isolated, he is trying to get out of this and there is some news that last night he spoke to Gadaffi. Is NATO aware of that and if there will be somebody in the world who will want to help Milosevic, can NATO stop him?

General Marani, yesterday a Soviet army general who is the commander of Pruskin Akorpus (phon), said that they have some 150,000 soldiers in Kosovo. Do you have any figure of how many Serbian forces might be now in Kosovo and another question, can you just locate which was the place that you showed in the picture of a church and the other systems that were hit because you didn't mention the village?

General Marani: About the 150,000 men, this is the Serb general's figure. Of course, he could have said 300,000, 450,000, a million, he is free to say whatever he wants to. What I'm saying is that the figures that we know are reasonable figures and quite far away from those numbers.

Jamie Shea: Augustino, I don't think I need to comment on the company that President Milosevic keeps. Let's say that they don't seem to figure at the top of the list of the world's most democratic and respected leaders.

Dominique Thierry (Radio France International): Je voudrais relancer la question de Luc Rosenweig sur la dtermination des cibles, y a -t-il un accord politique au cas par cas sur chacune des cibles. C'est la premire question de Luc Rosenweig, laquelle vous n'avez pas rpondue tout l'heure. Jamie : Ah. Excusez-moi. Et ma question, vous avez mentionn hier des contacts que le Secrtaire gnral entretiendraient avec des pays neutres pour apporter de l'aide l'intrieur du Kosovo aux personnes dplaces, qu'en est-il actuellement de ces contacts et est-ce que le Conseil a demand aux militaires d'envisager une option d'un dploiement militaire pour apporter cette aide l'intrieur du Kosovo.

Jamie Shea: Sur la deuxime question d'abord Dominique, non, le Secrtaire gnral reste en contact avec certains pays mais je ne peux pas, pour l'instant, en dire plus avant que ces discussions ne soient mures. Vous comprendrez, n'est-ce pas, la sensibilit de ce sujet et nous ne pensons pas crer des couloirs militaires, bien que, bien que nos autorits militaires continuent tudier les options mais aucune conclusion n'a encore t tire. Il s'agit, comme je l'ai dit au cours de mon point de presse d'essayer d'utiliser nos moyens d'intelligence pour aider ces organisations humanitaires en localisant partir de l'air les groupes de personnes dplaces pour qu'ils sachent o il faut intervenir prcisment. Voil, et nous continuerons faire ceci. En ce qui concerne les mdias, d'accord, excusez-moi de ne pas avoir rpondu l'autre aspect de la question de Luc, mais nous avons dfini des catgories de cibles et donc l'autorit politique approuve des catgories de cibles aprs il appartient aux autorits militaires de dcider chaque nuit, chaque jour quelles cibles ponctuelles vont tre attaques mais il n'y a pas de choix cible par cible par les autorits politiques. Si par contre, les militaires veulent changer de catgories ou introduire des cibles qui ne sont pas encore autorises, il faut bien sur une dcision supplmentaire du Conseil Atlantique.

Ok pour aujourd'hui, je crois que nous en venons la dernire question.

Journaliste: Dans un souci de transparence dont vous avez parl aujourd'hui, est-ce que vous pourriez nous dire quelques mots sur le cot, je parle du cot financier de la guerre. Combien cote-t-elle par jour ? Combien cote t-elle depuis le dbut ? Et dans la mesure o elle aurait tendance s'terniser par rapport ce qui tait initialement prvu, est-ce qu'il ai prvu des rallonges et si oui comment se font-elles, comment se dcident-elles ?

Jamie Shea: Ca c'est une excellente question laquelle je n'ai pas aujourd'hui de rponse. Mais ce genre d'opration effectivement cote chre. Mais quel prix la libert. A mon avis la libert n'a pas de prix. Vous avez vu aux Etats-Unis, le Prsident Clinton demander au Congrs une aide spciale de l'ordre de cinq milliards de dollars mais cet argent comprend plusieurs choses non seulement les cots des oprations mais galement l'aide humanitaire. Il y a beaucoup de pays aujourd'hui qui fournissent de l'aide humanitaire et de l'assistance financire aux pays de la rgion donc c'est un exercice un peu compliqu parce qu'il faudrait totaliser donc le cot des oprations, le cot galement de l'assistance aux rfugis, dans certains cas le cot d'accepter d'hberger provisoirement des rfugis sur son propre territoire quitte, bien sur leur permettre de retourner dans leur pays au Kosovo le plus rapidement possible donc il y a toutes sortes d'aspects dans une telle opration mais comme vous l'avez vu les pays de l'OTAN sont tout fait prts payer ce prix parce que nous pensons que, long terme, une continuation du conflit au Kosovo est innaceptable pour la paix et la scurit en Europe et lorsque j'aurai des indices un peu plus clairs, je voudrai bien les partager avec vous mais pour aujourd'hui, je crois que nous avons fait le tour du sujet et je vous accueillerai trs volontiers demain trois heures demain aprs-midi. Merci infiniment pour aujourd'hui. Bonne fin de weekend.

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