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Updated: 25 April 1999 NATO Speeches

Washington

25 Apr. 1999

Press Conference

given by NATO Spokesman, Jamie Shea
and Colonel Konrad Freytag, SHAPE

(Presentation Photo)

Jamie Shea I would like first of all to comment on the meeting which has just taken place between the NATO Heads of State and Government and leaders of the 7 countries that neighbour Yugoslavia. It is the first meeting that we have held at this level and it has taken place for a very simple reason, because in dealing with the Kosovo crisis they need us and we need them. These countries have all suffered hardship because of the crisis in Kosovo. In two cases - Albania and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia - they have had to accept unprecedented numbers of refugees, in fact the refugees in Albania currently constitute 20% of the entire population of the country, and that in a very short space of time. Those two countries - Albania and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia - have been making truly heroic efforts to cope with the burden of refugees in the most humane way possible and at a time when of course their democracies, their institutions, their economies, are still emerging from the years of dictatorship. But other countries too in the area, for example Bosnia, Montenegro, which were not here today, have also had major influxes of refugees.

At the same time we recognised that these 7 countries have incurred economic losses. Lines of communication have been severed or disrupted, they have also been the brunt of threats from Belgrade, and in the case of Albania of regular shelling and even troop incursions across the border, there have been similar troop incursions across the border between Yugoslavia and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. And they have suffered all persistently in recent years from a pattern of interference in their domestic affairs as Belgrade has tried to influence domestic politics in their countries and whip up the flames of ethnic nationalism. Bosnia has been particularly, as you know, afflicted by that.

And yet, despite these hardships, all of those 7 countries today reaffirmed in the most vocal way possible that they want NATO to win and that they believe that it is in their interests as much as our interest that NATO prevails in the Kosovo crisis. We heard 7 speeches today but only one message. They share our determination to prevail and to see this through and they are willing to put up with the short term inconveniences resulting from the Kosovo crisis because they realise that a democratic stable Balkans is their only long term chance for prosperity, integration and democracy, and I think that this resilience proves the strength of the young democracies of the region and a certain degree of maturity. They support the rights of the Kosovars to return to their homes and they support autonomy for Kosovo based on the principles of Rambouillet, in other words they all reject Milosevic's vision of a sectarian mono-ethnic Balkans based on confrontation and power balances rather than cooperation and integration.

And these 7 countries know about this because they themselves have all recently emerged from years of dictatorship and communism. At the time when they are building democracy, they know all too well that democracies can only flourish with other democratic states in the region. And as long as Belgrade, Serbia, Yugoslavia remain in the hands of a dictatorship, they themselves will not be able to achieve their full societal, economic and political potential.

Now the message of NATO today is that we appreciate the solidarity that they have shown in difficult circumstances. They have hosted NATO forces on their territories, notably Albania and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, in fact the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia only yesterday gave its assent, its agreement to the stationing of additional British and German troops, and we know fully well of Albania's solidarity in hosting not only the US Task Force Hawk with the apaches and upwards of 5,000 US Servicemen, but also the 7,300 NATO Servicemen and women in Operation Allied Harbour which is bringing help to refugees.

Two countries of those 7 neighbours - Romania and Slovenia - have granted us access to their airspace for operations and I anticipate a vote by Bulgaria tomorrow along the same lines. Others, for example Croatia, Bulgaria, have demonstrated solidarity by imposing economic sanctions on Yugoslavia, particularly in terms of cutting off oil supplies, again at cost to themselves but putting their long term interests before short term profit. It is an admirable principle.

NATO equally recognises an obligation to them, they need help and we are giving it to them, and we will continue to give it to them. We are first of all providing help in the form of security assurances. We have said that their security is a direct and material interest of the alliance, we will not tolerate threats against them or attacks on them by Belgrade. Secondly, we are helping to cope with the refugee crisis. As I have said, NATO forces have been at the forefront of international efforts to build refugee camps, to supply provisions directly to those refugees, to help with transport, evacuation and the like. And several NATO countries, in fact the vast majority, are accepting refugees in their countries on a temporary basis in order to take some of the immediate pressures off Albania and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.

NATO countries are also in the forefront of assisting with economic help: with balance of payments; with debt rescheduling; for instance with grants to help them to offset the lost trade resulting from this crisis; and finally we are helping with institutional links. This meeting today is a clear manifestation of that by further developing activities with them in the Partnership for Peace by making our consultations with them at Brussels much more regular than before, and of course by opening to them, as you saw yesterday in the declaration of this summit, the perspective of NATO membership and helping them with a membership action plan to work towards that objective.

At the same time, one of the themes this morning is that we must make the Kosovo conflict into a turning point for south eastern Europe. This area has got to stop being the bleeding wound of Europe, the source of instability, but become instead part of the European mainstream. In other words, NATO's victory has to exercise once and for all the demon of ethnic nationalism in that part of Europe. And today NATO leaders discussed with the leaders of the 7 neighbouring states the development of a politico-military solidarity action plan which we are now going to develop over the next few weeks. NATO is not interested only in winning the conflict, NATO also wants to work with these countries to build the peace, a durable peace, that is going to follow, that is our objective. We are interested in winning conflicts, yes, but we want above all to build a peace which will ensure that those conflicts never happen again. This action plan will have a security component in which NATO is looking at setting up a consultative forum with these countries and to promote confidence building measures in the field of security; there is an economic aspect of course where the European Union will play a key role with a conference to launch these ideas in Bonn at the end of May; and then of course institution building, the promotion of human rights and democratic values where other European institutions will play a key role.

So the conclusion of today's meeting is that in the region Milosevic is all alone. He is a pariah in his own back yard, his neighbours are moving away from him. They want to turn their backs on the past and look to the future. It is Milosevic who seems rather to prefer to turn his back on the future and look only to the past. Milosevic is standing in the way of progress and everybody recognises that. But what we want to do is to develop as part of this politico-military solidarity action plan a clear perspective for the region which would also be attractive to all of those democratic forces in Serbia itself, even if they have been in retreat of late, even if they have been forced to hide, even if their voices have been stifled, but those forces are there to show the people of Yugoslavia that there is an alternative to Milosevic, that there is no reason why they should be further distanced from Europe and once the political conditions prevail they can also return to that democratic European mainstream.

So that was the meeting and now I am going to ask Colonel Freytag of SHAPE to give you the military operational up-date with events in Operation Allied Force over the last 24 hours.

Konrad Freytag: Good Morning, Ladies and Gentlemen. Let me begin today by informing you that the Supreme Allied Commander Europe, General Clarke, has visited Albania today and he is right now on his way back to his headquarters at SHAPE.

NATO military forces continue their intensified airstrikes against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia's fielded military forces and special police in Kosovo, as well as against their strategic infrastructure and fixed installations. These include targets that support the power base of the Yugoslav leadership, such as the Serb television system, that helps create the political environment of oppression.

NATO forces also continue to aid the international organisations and governmental authorities in Albania and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia in support of humanitarian relief organisations.

In the last 24 hours, 28 aid flights came into Fyrom with 8 tons of medical supplies and there were 12 aid flights to Albania with 9 tons of food and water and 4 tons of medical supplies. To date NATO soldiers, sailors and airmen have helped in the delivery of 2,894 tons of food and water, 733 tons of medical supplies and 1,380 tons of tentage.

Whilst remaining on the humanitarian front, despite statements by President Milosevic on national television last Wednesday, the 3 NATO prisoners of war have still not been allowed visitation by the International Committee of the Red Cross in order to verify their safety and welfare.

Turning to Serbian ground operations in Kosovo. The usual map. Serb counter insurgency operations against the UCK are on-going in that area shown on the slide. The UCK continue hit and run tactics against Serb fielded forces, generally in areas highlighted by the dotted circles shown on the map. As in the past few days, Serb offensive operations are continuing along the Albania border, as depicted by this red line. These actions are directed at interdicting UCK resupply operations and the Serb military are also constructing defensive positions.

Finally, Serb paramilitary forces have moved the focus of their ethnic cleansing and looting operations from Pec to south central Kosovo in the Stimula and Suba Reka areas, as shown in the orange highlighted area. Serb air defence activity was very light, with only one launch detected. No Serb fighter aircraft activity was observed and once again, and contrary to some published reports, all our aircraft returned safely.

I will now turn to NATO air operations. Adverse weather conditions impacted our activities during the evening but we did have success during the day. We continued to target both strategic infrastructure and fielded forces. Targets from the past 24 hours and following. Command and control facilities, including the control buildings and TV transmitting towers at Avala and at Banja Korviliaka. Integrated air defence facilities, including the airfields at Ponikvia and Pristina, the petroleum storage facility at Pristina, highway and railroad bridges providing lines of communications for supplying fielded Serb military forces, Serb military support facilities including the ammunition facility at Pristina and Sudolika and the explosive production plant at Lukani. Fielded forces targeted in Kosovo included command bunkers, artillery, armoured personnel carriers, Serb assembly areas and numerous military vehicles.

I will conclude my short briefing with images from recent operations. This is an image taken before the start of NATO air operation, it is of the Kozovska Mitrovica ammunitions storage depot located in northern Kosovo. And the next slide shows the accumulative effect of precision air attacks against this facility. As can be seen, all the storage bunkers and their contents have been successfully struck.

The following videos are all from attacks on 21 April. The first shows an attack against the Novi Sad refinery facility which, as you are aware from our briefings, we have targeted on more than one occasion.

The next video is from the same attack but from a different aircraft. The next cockpit video is of an attack against the hangar at the Pristina Airfield, an element of the integrated air defence system. You also see a damaged aircraft on the run.

The following is one of our attacks on the explosive production capacity of the FRY military, this is the facility at Baric. Look at the fences, they are probably electrical power fences and you will see them after the strike again because they emit heat.

The final video is of the Kosmaka highway bridge, one of the lines of communication utilised by the Serb forces to enter Kosovo from Serbia. You will even see two vehicles we did not hit.

And that, Ladies and Gentlemen, concludes my part of today's briefing, thank you very much.

Jonathan: One clarification, you said that Macedonia I think had agreed to the stationing of additional British and German troops, are they troops that have already long been announced to deploy or are they additional troops and equipment? And second question, I know there are sensitivities operationally, but could you give us a little more sense of what benefits the opening of the different air spaces of these countries in the region brings to NATO, given the fact clearly that Austria still is refusing to allow flights.

Jamie Shea OK, Jonathan, thanks for that. In the case of Austria I think we have to be clear, Austria has a constitutional issue there, it is not a lack of solidarity with the international community, I want to point that out, it is a specific constitutional provision and we respect that of course, obviously. On the question of the forces, these are forces which have been planned for some time as part of the enabling force, as you know very well, the bridgehead for the operation of KFOR, in other words the Kosovo Force, which we hope to be able to deploy in Kosovo as soon as the permissive environments exist for that to take place. So they were scheduled to go in any event, but again the government of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia has given us the green light to begin that deployment now. So that is that.

On the business of the air space, yes clearly we want to intensify air operations and we also not only want to intensify air operations for strike purposes but also things like reconnaissance, being able to see what is happening to the internally displaced persons inside Kosovo is a particular priority that we have. And to the extent that we can enter the Yugoslav airspace from different avenues, it makes it much more difficult for the Yugoslav Air Defence system to be able to plan for when we are coming and from which direction, and that is of course a key objective. If you always enter Yugoslav airspace more or less from the same routes, it becomes if not routine, at least something which could be predicted by the Yugoslav air defence and they obviously can then put their radars in a certain location with the hope that they may have a lucky intercept. So it will enable us to intensify operations and we appreciate very much that decision to grant us airspace.

I think as I said earlier, that the regional countries know that anything that we can do to up the ante on Milosevic and shorten this conflict is going to be of direct benefit to all concerned.

Question: The oil refinery shown in Novi Sad, can you give us an idea of how much of that has actualy been destroyed, I know you have hit it several times, and also if you know how many Serb forces have actually been killed, any sort of estimate there?

Konrad Freytag: No, we do not have figures on how many Serb forces are victims of this war so far. We have assessment on the damage on the petroleum refinery in Novi Sad, but we also see, as we mentioned yesterday, that they of course tried to repair and therefore we need to hit again. It is not totally out of order.

Question: Could you give us a sense of how much of it is out of order, it was huge?

Konrad Freytag: No I cannot at this moment but I will try to give you an answer tomorrow.

Jamie Shea We will take the question and we will see. We can come back on that one tomorrow.

Question: Do you have any more on the thousands who are trapped in Kosovo, and on whether they are being used as human shields in the operations or whether you have damaged the Serb units sufficiently that that is not happening? And secondly, what other information do you have on any defections within the Serb unit?

Jamie Shea Let me take, as I tend to have a habit of doing, the second question first. There have been not so much desertions from Serb units, we have some indications, but I think what is the big problem for Milosevic at the moment is that he is trying to mobilise extra personnel. There is a general prohibition on military-aged males leaving the country at the moment, it is very difficult for them to be able to get passports or exit documents, and there are very stringent penalties that have been imposed on those that avoid or refuse the call-up, which is on-going. One of the great ironies is that by moving systematically against the Kosovar Albanians, it is of course Albanians who are not answering, as you would expect, those call-up papers to join the Yugoslav Army. Now we know of the 20,000 or so Yugoslavs that have entered Bosnia in the last few weeks, many of them have been military-age males trying to escape being drafted. So there is certainly a conscription problem and we have some indications of desertions or lagging morale, but I can't quantify it at the present time. If I can do so, I will come back to that at a later time.

As for the internally displaced persons, as you know Mr Samaruga, the Head of the International Committee of the Red Cross, is going to be in Belgrade tomorrow to see Milosevic and we very much hope that as a result of that meeting he will be able to regain access for the Red Cross into Kosovo and try to set up some kind of humanitarian chain. NATO has made it clear that we are willing to assist, to the extent we can, in terms of intelligence, identification of where these people are, or in other ways any humanitarian effort on the ground by either the Red Cross or other relief organisations because the problem can only be solved by something on the ground. Of course the fundamental way to solve the problem is for Milosevic to stop the violence of course, but we are willing to look at anything that could be done in the humanitarian field.

Numbers, it is difficult to say, anything between 450,000 up to 700,000 internally displaced people. We don't know for sure because Milosevic has surrounded Kosovo with an iron curtain that makes accurate information extremely difficult. He is also moving refugees around all the time and that makes it too difficult to localise them and to try to count them. Human shields, yes, lots of indications of those. I have been reporting them in my briefings over the past 5 weeks, but I think the biggest human shield of all is the fact that these people are trapped inside Kosovo, the flow outwards into neighbouring countries has slowed down, the borders have been closed and Milosevic's forces move them up and down the roads with military vehicles, as we have seen, in the hope of deterring NATO strikes in that way.

Konrad Freytag: I was asked yesterday about figures on the internally displaced persons and I said that we have an increase in these figures and the transcript this morning reads there is a decrease in figures, this is a mistake made by the transcribers and I apologise for that.

Jamie Shea Thanks for that clarification which I think was very necessary.

Freddie: I have got two questions, one for you Jamie and one for Konrad. The one to you is about the air space you mentioned. Does Hungary in fact allow strike aircraft from its bases or over it, as distinct from support aircraft which I know they have? Question two, you mentioned integrated air defence, Konrad, as targets. I thought the integrated air defence had been destroyed or wiped out in the first few days, is there still some integrated air defence, as distinct from ordinary air defence that are left?

Jamie Shea Freddie, all of the allies are showing the necessary solidarity that we expect from allies, there is absolutely no doubt about that. Hungary has made it clear that it is concerned, let me put it that way, with obviously the fate of the Hungarian ethnic community in the Voyvadina, and we are mindful of that as well. But having said that, Hungary is showing all of the support that you would expect.

Freddie: Inaudible.

Jamie Shea Freddie, as you can see very well, NATO planes are flying day and night, not hampered in any way. Hungary is as much part of this operation as any other ally and all requests that we have made to the Hungarian government for support have been granted up until now and we expect that to be the case in the future.

Konrad Freytag: The integrated air defence system is not totally destroyed, but severely damaged, and degraded, but we need to be careful for our air attacks that we further downgrade this capacity.

Jamie Shea I think, if I can add, though I am not a military person, but it is very difficult to eliminate entirely an air defence system because you can always reconstruct it, and it keeps popping up all the time, and so as long as the operation is on-going you have to continue to strike at the integrated air defence system. But what we are doing is we have achieved a situation as you can see from all of the sorties and the fact that with over 9,000 sorties so far we have lost only one aircraft, that we do dominate in the mid - upper altitudes.

Question: In reply to the KFOR question you said that Macedonia had agreed to accept British and German forces. Do you have any numbers on that and the plans were originally for I think 28,000 troops, is that the figure we are talking about here? How many will be there after these new deployments?

Jamie Shea At the moment we have in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, I did have a moment ago the exact figure, if providence is going to be good to me and I will be able to identify it, but it is just over 12,000 currently deployed there and we are sending via Greece at the moment the second German battle group, it is on its way, and also the second UK battle group, also via Greece, and this will take the numbers up to something like 16,000 once those deployments are completed. And as I wanted to stress earlier, I do so again, this is part of the original concept of the enabling force, the advance guard, of a peace support operation, but we have taken the decision to deploy those units now because obviously we want to be ready for all contingencies.

Question: But the Macedonian acceptance, is this regarding the whole 28,000?

Jamie Shea As you know, up until now the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia has given every support that we have asked for in allowing us to predeploy on its territory the force for a peace support mission in Kosovo and they have shown, as you can see with these latest deployments, every flexibility and we are very grateful for that as well. If I can find the exact figure, I will give it to you in a moment.

Question: I have two questions, one for you Jamie and one for Colonel Freytag. First of all, have you sufficiently degraded the air defence system where you feel comfortable deploying the apaches, and if so, when do you expect them to be deployed? And secondly, has NATO sought or received any assurances from Russia that it would abide perhaps in principle by the oil embargo that has been talked about recently?

Jamie Shea In the vein of second questions first, President Yeltsin has said on many occasions, and so have other members of the Russian government, that they do not intend to become directly implicated, involved militarily in the Kosovo crisis and we expect that restraint of course to continue with. There are no indications that it will not continue.

As for the oil embargo which all allies have pledged to uphold, and will uphold, and as for the visit and search regime, obviously we are going to have to look at the modalities as to how that is going to function, who will be included, the rules of engagement, the zones of operation, and as I said yesterday, it is premature for me to go into that at the moment until such time as the military planners have done their work. But again, we expect Russia to exercise the restraint that it has exercised thus far. As for the apaches, I think probably Konrad is in a better position than I am to answer that.

Konrad Freytag: The apaches are in the process of deploying to their location in Tirana and in the north of Albania and the air defence do not have a greater threat to them as they have to other forces, but they are very well able to cope with that, mainly the AAA as we say air defence systems, they are the ones the apache will deal with.

Question: But when do you expect that we would see them actually being used in theatre?

Konrad Freytag: Very soon.

Jamie Shea They are deploying now, as you know, and it is not just the apaches, there are also a lot of multiple launch rocket systems also which can be brought to bear against armour in Kosovo and that will be a major feature as well and those aircraft are arriving.

Dag: Why has NATO not shown us any pictures for the past few days of burning villages or mass graves or uprooted civilians on the road or hiding in the forests? Are these embarrassing to the alliance in that it can't do anything directly about them? And does the policy of going for Milosevic's power base, I think what you have called the trunk, Jamie, does this acknowledge that many hundreds or perhaps thousands of civilians are going to have to die while this policy works itself out on the branches, as you said?

Jamie Shea Dag, clearly the only way, as I have said time and time again, to solve the humanitarian crisis is to stop the war going on in Kosovo and therefore we have to keep that as the fundamental objective. It is only when the Serb forces are out that all of those people will immediately be able to return to their homes, international organisations and an international security force can start bringing in supplies, helping with the task of reconstruction, re-establishing distribution lines and to get the refugees to return, and that is clear. As long as there are Serb paramilitaries in Kosovo there will continue to do ethnic cleansing, there will be massacres, rapes, shootings and the whole thing will go on. There is only one solution and that is to stop the fighting itself, and therefore we are going to do that, that is the key objective.

We are trying very hard, let me make this clear, to get information on the internally displaced persons. The NATO military forces are now going to use their reconnaissance assets, in fact they have been using them for some time already but they are going to do this in an increasing way, not only of course to do the battle damage assessment, which is a key function, but also try to gather information on the internal situation in Kosovo. It is not easy, as I said earlier, when refugees are being constantly herded about, and that information we are passing, are going to pass, to countries or to international relief organisations that could be involved in the relief effort.

Now at the same time, as has been made clear here in Washington by many Heads of State and Government, we do not exclude doing something ourselves. Unfortunately there are no panaceas, the only panacea is to stop the fighting, but air drops or other things are being actively considered and we will get back to those as soon as we return to Brussels tomorrow.

Tom: There are reports of various peace envoys in train, the Swedish Prime Minister I think might be going to Moscow, and I have heard about the Canadian Foreign Minister to Belgrade, can you tell us anything about that?

Jamie Shea Yes, well Mr Axworthy, the Canadian Foreign Minister, announced yesterday that he is going to Moscow and we encourage that. I understand that Mr Chernomyrdin is due to visit Bonn as well in a few days, and this is good. We want to work with Russia, we are not trying to exclude Russia from the diplomacy of solving the Kosovo crisis. Russia was very actively and very productively engaged in Rambouillet, in helping to prepare for Rambouillet, and we want to work with Russia and Russia is going obviously to be included in the arrangements for a settlement in Kosovo and for a transitional regime on the way to such a settlement. And NATO has made it clear on numerous occasions that we want Russia also to participate in any international security force and we hope we are going to be able to achieve that. So I think all of these various visits, in both directions, show that Russia does not want to exclude itself, and that is very helpful, and that we do not want to exclude Russia. We supported the mission of Mr Chernomyrdin to Belgrade, it fell short of what we wanted and Mr Chernomyrdin himself recognised that it fell short of his own objectives. But we encourage him to continue and we will work with him on that, but clearly on the assumption that we will accept nothing short of our five fundamental requirements for a cessation of the NATO air operations.

Tom: Given that Canada is part of NATO, is this a NATO sponsored peace initiative?

Jamie Shea I am not sure it is NATO sponsored, but Canada will go I know to Moscow carrying the same philosophy as all of the other NATO leaders as to how we are going to solve this crisis. You heard Mr Axworthy in his press conference yesterday make that crystal clear. And other NATO leaders have been to Moscow recently or have met, in the case of Mrs Albright, in Oslo with Foreign Minister Ivanov and I would expect a number of those contacts over the next few weeks. We want not only to win the conflict, and we are going to win it, but we want to start preparing for the diplomacy that is going to come after and working with Russia is a key part of that. We know we are going to win, therefore we are already focusing on the future.

USA Radio: I have a question for each of you. Mr Shea, part of the new strategic plan includes economics. You have just announced a meeting in Bonn on the economics at the end of May, could you comment further on it, is this a new Marshall Plan for the 21st century? And Colonel, the United Nations has been working very, very hard on disarmament for all countries of the world for a very long time. I guess I am still surprised at the amount of power that a country like Milosevic's still has. Could you comment on the amount of military power available in that country as well as the rest of the world and where disarmament really is?

Jamie Shea On the economic front, obviously you are ill advised Ma'am to put this to a NATO official, but I will do my best from what I know. What I said in my briefing is clearly that a number of institutions are going to have to be involved in this long term stability plan and integration plan for the Balkans. NATO will have its role to play of course in the security field on the basis of Partnership for Peace and bilateral contacts and arms control measures, exercise, anything we can to diminish military tensions and to foster a co-operative approach to security in the region. The European Union, the World Bank, the financial institutions will obviously be the key ones on the economic front. The meeting in Bonn at the end of May, I think the date is 27 May, but that is only the planning date, I can't confirm that, but that is the date that people have in mind, will be to try to get the various players together and to discuss a strategy and who is going to do what. There will also by the way be important meetings here in Washington next week at the World Bank and the IMF in which the countries of the region will be participating on things like loans, and debt rescheduling, and assistance, advice and so on. So this effort is already cranking up into action.

The main thing of course will be to do what we can to foster open markets, trade links, to reduce barriers to trade, to target the assistance in a way which is going to produce the most synergistic effect in terms of helping these economies and coping with higher unemployment levels, and that of course is going to be a key part. But this is not simply the result of the Kosovo crisis. The collapse of the former Yugoslavia, the barriers that have gone up, have been a major drag on economic activities for too many years and we and we want to move these countries, particularly Bosnia and others, away from a situation where they are totally dependent upon aid from the international community, to where they are able to start producing some of their wealth themselves.

Konrad Freytag: You asked a very difficult question and I am not able to answer that totally. But I want to address a few things on that. Yugoslavia had a modern army, well equipped, of about 140,000 men, but it had a strategic potential with many reserves, it had extremely good operational capability and it was and as we have seen pursuing tactics which were successful on the ground, vis a vis all the victims as we see them in Kosovo. I am unable to give an assessment to what capacity they are down now, but our Supreme Allied Commander will do that in due time. So far we see we have had a major impact on all its categories, in the strategic sector as well as in the tactical sector, and that will go further down with his Armed Forces.

Question: Is NATO fundamentally today for the purpose of this conflict extending full Chapter 5 security guarantees for the frontline states? And could you tell us the purpose of General Clarke's visit to Albania today, who he met with and to what end?

Jamie Shea On the question of security guarantees, these are not the same as Article 5 but they are very strong indeed and much stronger than anything that we have ever done before, in making it clear that we would consider an attack on any of these countries as something which would obviously need to elicit a response from the allies and we have a direct and material concern for the security of these countries. And we don't only say that in rhetoric, we have demonstrated through all of these actions, including the meeting here today, that we mean that and we are taking it seriously. And as you know, certain countries in the region like Bosnia or Albania, or the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, are hosting sizeable numbers of NATO forces and therefore an attack on those countries would also be an attack on the NATO forces in those countries as well, and that is something for Belgrade I think to consider very seriously indeed.

Konrad Freytag: General Clarke's visit to Task Force Hawk, he talked with the Commander of the Allied Mobile Force Land, General Reith, the UK Army, and he had talks with Albanian officials.

Jamie Shea I think the visit is over, I think he is on his way back to SHAPE now.

Ladies and Gentlemen, as I stop for today, let me just if I may make two announcements. First of all the Secretary General will be here at 2.00 pm to comment on the meetings today, as you know the meeting of the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council is about to begin as well and that will be over after lunch at about 4.00 pm, but the Secretary General will be here at 2.00 pm to talk to you, or thereabouts. And secondly, Konrad and I are still in Washington tomorrow morning before we go back to Brussels and the NATO briefing will take place, for those of you who are interested, at 9.30, slightly earlier than here. It will be on the ballroom on the 13th floor of the National Press Club building, you are all familiar with that of course, and I understand that there are filing facilities which are also arranged with the US Information Agency in Suite 898 on the 8th floor of the National Press Club. So I look forward to seeing at least some of you at the briefing tomorrow morning at 9.30.

Thank you very much indeed for your attention and a pleasant afternoon.

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