Updated: 30 April 1999 Press Conferences


30 Apr. 1999

Press Conference

by Dr. Jamie Shea
and Brigadier General Giuseppe Marani

(Presentation Photo)

Jamie Shea: Ladies and Gentlemen, Good Afternoon. A happy Friday to you all.

I will begin today and then General Marani will take over, in the usual fashion, with his daily operational up-date. I would like to address three issues today with you briefly: first of all the intensification of Operation Allied Force; secondly, the humanitarian situation; and thirdly, the progress of the democratic opposition inside Yugoslavia today.

So first of all on the intensification. As I mentioned this morning, yesterday was the most intense day thus far in our air operations over Yugoslavia. Benefiting from more than double the number of aircraft that we had one month ago, benefiting also from a spell of good weather, which we understand is going to continue over the next few days. We were able to launch 600 sorties and a large number of those being strike sorties.

We hit a very impressive range of targets, both the strategic and the tactical level - highway and railroad bridges, a petroleum depot, a ferronickel plant in Kosovo, a border post, an airfield, several groups of military vehicles including howitzers, tanks, petroleum tankers inside Kosovo, SA3 and SA6 Sam sites, the main TV transmitter in Belgrade, a headquarters of the Yugoslav Army, Federal Ministry buildings in Belgrade and police buildings as well, and an ordnance storage site. I think that is one of the largest and most diverse target lists thus far and I am happy to say that all Alliance aircraft returned safely to their bases after these operations.

We are going to benefit within the next few days from the arrival of 28 additional tanker aircraft which will give us greater in-flight refuelling capabilities for 24 hour around the clock operations and General Marani will tell you more in just a few moments on that.

Now for the humanitarian issues. Today our force AFOR, Albania Force, in Albania, participating in Operation Allied Harbour, will be fully operational and up to the level of around 7,000 troops, and already it is hard at work assisting with refugees in Albania. It is currently looking at the placement of three refugee sites for camps to hold 50,000 refugees. The engineers of the NATO forces are now engaged in improving the road around Kukes to allow supplies to go up and refugees to be evacuated. They are building water purification plans and undertaking transport for refugee supplies. Their aim again, as I have said in previous days, is to be able to move as many refugees from Kukes as possible.

In other words, NATO forces in Albania are currently looking after 180,000 people, helping to look after, in conjunction with the other relief agencies. And to give you an idea, that is about the population of the German city of Tria, just to give you an order of magnitude of the type of support facilities that you need to take care of such a population. And you have to remember that 37 days ago when Operation Allied Force began, none of these refugee camps, none of these facilities existed at all.

Now in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, COMARC, that is to the say the Commander of the Arc, General Jackson, is now engaged with the UNHCR and with his engineers to see what we can do to expand one camp there at Sigarney so that it can be expanded to its maximum capability to cope with the influx of refugees, about 6,000 that entered the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia yesterday.

We had some rather disturbing news this morning in the North Atlantic Council, which is for the first time we have been receiving reports of ethnic cleansing taking place outside Kosovo, in Serbia proper. There have been as you know some reports of villages being cleared on the frontier of Montenegro and Kosovo, inside Montenegro, but for the first time today we heard that ethnic cleansing of ethnic Albanians had happened at Prosevo in Serbia proper, just east of the Kosovo border.

Now today there has been a very important report that has appeared in Paris of Medicin Sans Frontier, and I would like to draw your attention to this report because it is probably the most systematic analysis of what has been happening to the people displaced inside Kosovo. It is not only based on a number of accounts and testimonies of refugees, but represents the first systematic analysis of one single Kosovar community from the village of Roseje that are now primarily in Montenegro, and Medicin Sans Frontier have been interviewing these people, 1,537 of them that represent 201 families. And from the report that is being published in Paris today it appears that 13% of the men aged between 15 - 55 are missing. All of the refugees, virtually without exception, report terror and intimidation at the hands of the Serb forces. 45.8% of these refugees from the same village have had their identity papers confiscated, which is not only something which destroys their identities as individuals, but also makes the task of the international relief organisations that much more complicated in trying to reunite families at a later stage.

And it also appears from this report, again a mixture of first-hand stories and systematic analysis, that a lot of this was part of a pre-arranged plan, that the pattern of intimidation, of looting of homes, of being forced to leave at the point of a gun is the cause directly of why these people have moved in the first place.

And in the last few days we are very worried here because we have had increasing indications of men being separated from convoys, for example about 100 - 200 from Djakovica last Tuesday en route to the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, and refugees coming in afterwards seeing a number of bodies along the roadside, those reports are well documented. And this morning the UNHCR has just confirmed that it has evidence, clear evidence, that Serb forces have massacred a large group of male refugees in the south western village of Meja, earlier this month. So we continue to be very perturbed indeed by the humanitarian suffering that of course is still on-going, refugees being blown up by mines as they try to cross the border, increasing stories of rapes, increasing stories of men and old men too being led away from their families and many of them being subsequently executed indeed. Again, this is going to provide a great deal of work for the International Criminal Tribunal for a number of years to come.

My final point today concerns the opposition. We had today in a German newspaper an interview with Zoran Drinjic, the former Mayor of Belgrade, who is now as you know the Head of the Democratic Party in Yugoslavia. He announced that the opposition are forming an alliance for change involving 20 opposition parties. He said that Milosevic will soon accept NATO's key conditions. I hope he is right. I am sure he is. He announced that the mood of nationalism that had characterised the early days of Operation Allied Force in Yugoslavia was now changing and that when Mr Draskovic was still in government and had tried to organise so-called anti-NATO happenings, virtually nobody had bothered to show up. He threatened large demonstrations if President Milosevic did not resign once the crisis was over. He said that he personally supported NATO's five conditions. And finally he said that the responsibility for what was happening in Yugoslavia today was wholly on the shoulders of President Milosevic, that he had brought the bombing on himself.

Again this is another indication of somebody who is courageous, who is willing to speak out, who is willing to offer the Yugoslavs a different perspective on reality and I just wanted to indicate that to you because I found it personally very interesting indeed.

Having said that, I will now ask General Marani to give you his daily operational up-date.

General Marani: Good Afternoon, Ladies and Gentlemen.

NATO's airstrikes against military facilities and strategic targets gained further momentum in the last 24 hours. We struck command facilities in Belgrade along with numerous airfields, petroleum facilities, lines of communication and fielded forces in Kosovo.

These systematic strikes against President Milosevic's power structure continue to severely limit the FRY's capability to oppress and repress innocent civilians in Kosovo.

NATO forces continue to provide support for Non Governmental Organisations and governmental institutions of Albania and FYROM. Their support contributes significantly to the relief efforts in these countries. Total numbers of humanitarian flights and tonnage of supplies delivered will be made available in your handout after this briefing.

I will now cover current Serbian ground operations in Kosovo. Serb forces continued to concentrate efforts along the Albanian border while conducting cross-border shelling of Albanian positions near the Morine border post. VJ/MUP elements carried out localised operations in north-eastern Kosovo, south of Podujevo, near Pristina, Srbica and in south-western Kosovo in the Suva Reka and Prizren area, as shown in red on this map.

Operations however appear limited in scope and are concentrated around lines of communication and key terrain. Indications of a gradual decline in operational readiness of the VJ continue to emerge. Recent reporting has indicated that Serb military vehicles in Kosovo have begun establishing makeshift methods of acquiring fuel in order to continue their missions.

UCK forces continue their operations as generally shown here.

Turning to Serbian Air Force activity, Serb early warning radar were again evident. Serb air defence anti-aircraft activity was aggressive and there was an increase in surface to air missile launches, with 13 unidentified Sams noted. This increased activity was probably a reflection of our intensified air operations in the past 24 hours.

No FRY Air Force fixed wing activity was noted. Numerous short helicopter flights were observed as the Serb Air Force appears to be dispersing these assets into field locations, probably as a means of survival. And once again, we had no aircraft losses.

I will now turn to operations. First, I would like to give you a quick up-date on our operations against the deployed Serbian forces. Fielded forces in Kosovo have found it increasingly difficult to avoid destruction this week, particularly over the last two days. Bad weather has hindered their discovery by NATO aircraft, but the weather is getting better.

Now let me give you a short rundown of fielded forces recently attacked in Kosovo. It has been a successful week.

NATO aircraft have destroyed numerous offensive military equipment, including multiple rocket launchers, tanks, armoured personnel carriers, anti-aircraft artillery sites, artillery, portable rocket launchers, radars and troops. Additionally we have struck combat support elements, including railroad cars bringing fuel and trucks attempting resupply. Command posts also that were providing the local command and control, their tactical capability, they have been also struck.

Yesterday, despite a poor weather start, we achieved more encouraging results with successful attacks against important field command posts, tanks, revetted armour, AAA batteries, more railroad tankers and many other military logistic vehicles. In addition we destroyed several important air defence equipment.

I do not want to begin a tally sheet on specific numbers but instead want to convey a general sense that attacks on fielded forces have intensified and we will continue to do so. As spring gives way to summer and despite the excellent use of camouflage and deception techniques, their destruction becomes inescapable.

Now for the rest of yesterday's operations, Allied aircraft attacked the full range of military targets. Last night we took the battle back to the heart of Belgrade conducting numerous attacks against key command and control buildings. This map depicts the downtown Belgrade area.

We targeted the FRY Army headquarters, Ministry of Defence buildings. We also retargeted both the FRY and Serb police headquarters buildings since we have indications that operations were recommencing in those locations. We struck the television transmitting tower and important radio retransmission facilities at Avala and an ammunition storage facility in the southern suburbs of Belgrade.

Unfortunately we can confirm that we had one weapon that malfunctioned and missed its intended target and landed nearby. Once again I wish to emphasise that we only target military facilities and the command and control structure and take every precaution to avoid civilian casualties and damage to civilian property. Civilians and civilian infrastructures are not our intended targets.

Throughout the rest of the FRY we struck other command and control facilities and nodes of communication. The video is an attack on 26 April against an electronic intelligence collection facility at Somber in north-west Serbia. This attack was part of a co-ordinated multi-aircraft strike against numerous targets in the area. You will notice other bombs coming from the left side of the screen that are targeted at other aim points.

The integrated air defence system was again targeted in our continuing campaign to repress their capability to reconstruct an integrated defence. Airfields at Ponikve and Pristina were struck.

At this point I would like to give you an up-date on our co-ordinated attack against the Podgorica Airfield complex that occurred on Wednesday, 28 April. The fact that we conducted this large-scale attack in addition to increased operations against fielded forces in Kosovo reflects our clear intent to intensify the air campaign.

The Podgorica attack itself was undertaken under strict guidance on targeting in order to reduce to an absolute minimal, damage to civilian infrastructure such as the runway and terminal buildings. 30 precision weapons were scheduled to be employed to different aim points that included: military hangars, petroleum storage facilities, air defence radars and numerous aircraft and helicopters parked in revetments, apron areas and open field areas. The slide only covers half of the airfield complex. There were many targets at other locations on the complex that we do not yet have imagery of.

Returning to other operations in the last 24 hours, petroleum storage and production facilities were targeted, including the facilities at Novi Sad and Pristina. We again struck numerous bridges providing lines of communication in our campaign to isolate the Serb forces in Kosovo. An ammunition plant was struck in central Serbia.

And finally, VJ and MUP forces and their support facilities were struck throughout Kosovo, and the FRY. As you can see, the number of attacks in the Pristina area was quite significant, therefore we have broken the aim points down on this map so that you can better see the targets since the number in Pristina.

Ladies and Gentlemen, that concludes the operations briefing for today.

Question: I have seen in the last picture, how many depots was written, can you specify what this is please?

Jamie Shea: An ammunition depot. Well that's the easiest question we have had for several weeks.

Bill: There is a report in the New York Times and elsewhere out of Washington today that in contrast to what we have been hearing here, the Yugoslav Army and its leadership is perhaps more united than at any time in recent history because of the bombing strikes. I wonder if you could try to square that with some of the contradictory remarks we have heard here in Brussels?

Jamie Shea: Bill, I would say that one hears different anecdotal pieces of evidence from different sources and I wouldn't conclude, based on any one story, that that is the full picture. What I can say is that there are certain signs that suggest that the Yugoslav Army is not quite the phalanx of support that it is presented to be. At the top levels we know fully well that Milosevic has been changing Generals consistently over the past few months, most recently 8 at the head of his very important Second Army in Montenegro. That does not really suggest that he is himself totally certain of the loyalty of all of the people around him. We know that 9 former Generals have been placed under house arrest, or at least are heavily escorted wherever they go by special police forces. Again that is not the sign of somebody who is totally certain of the loyalty of his armed forces.

But what I would say is that no matter what the situation is with the head, we have many indications that the rot is beginning to spread at the bottom, and at the end of the day an army without troops, or a General without troops isn't a very powerful General. We know for example that in Kosovo itself one armoured brigade, I can't give you the number for operational reasons, is having its combat effectiveness hampered through a number of desertions. We know too that last week some VJ border troops deserted their positions on the eastern border of Kosovo with the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. We know that the army's operational readiness is now declining rapidly and that is sapping morale and that morale will be further hampered as the fielded forces in Kosovo increasingly come under NATO attacks. And General Marani has made it clear, if you have seen what we have been saying over the last couple of weeks we have been talking more and more about targets, fielded forces, in Kosovo itself.

Therefore I think that the picture we have is that many groups, particularly the non-Serb groups in the Yugoslav Army, which at the end of the day is a multi-national army after all, are not entirely happy about what is being done to their fellow citizens after all in Kosovo, but are refusing to obey the call-up, we know that a large number have fled across the border into the Republika Srpska, others have gone to Hungary to evade the draft and the Yugoslavs are having a hard time finding recruits at the moment to replace of course those that they are losing as a result of our operations in Kosovo.

So it may well be, although I don't believe it is true, that the top brass in Belgrade, close to Milosevic, who are dependent on him for their perks and privileges, are totally united, but what is clear is that as I said a General without troops can't do very much and I think the troops are beginning to fall away and will fall away as we step up this operation and as people are being asked to do things which troops normally are not asked to do. So as I say, the rot is setting in from below.

Questions & Answers

Neil: Jamie, if you would look at the pockets of hope for some kind of future resolution - one of them being whatever diplomatic efforts are made the other being whether Milosevic would suddenly change his mind or this rot that you say is beginning to spread at the bottom - considering that so much attention has been paid to that subject, the last one, is it fair to say that NATO is looking at the moment at the most promising development being this rot?

Jamie Shea: I think it's a sign that, as I've said, our attacks are starting to have an effect not only on the material but also on the psychology of the Yugoslav Army and I think that's going to continue as I've said already and I hope to be able to present more indications as I receive them over the next few days. Soldiers generally are people who are paid and trained to defend their country against foreign threats or to defend their country's interests in foreign lands, soldiers are not normally trained and recruited to massacre their own people and I think that this is distasteful for many. We know, of course, that the paramilitary units are staffed with thugs and ideologues who probably quite like engaging in that sort of activity and we even hear that some of these paramilitaries are criminals who have served time in jail but the army itself I believe is probably full of many who have no particular taste for inflicting suffering on their fellow citizens and are quite appalled by what's going on so, yes, I would expect, as people see where Milosevic's policies are taken them, that more and more will be voting with their feet and trying to either dodge the draft or get out of military service if they can.

Neil: Is that to say that this is the most promising thing going on on the stage right now, the sense of demoralisation?

Jamie Shea: I think that we see many different indicators. I've spoken in the last few days about more and more opposition figures. These people were fairly quiet for the first weeks of operation Allied Force but now every day we see more and more people speaking out and I think there is something there even if it's too early to speak of a tidal wave of popular opposition but certainly it shows that the opposition has not been snuffed out completely. We see signs of lagging morale and effectiveness among the armed forces too and therefore I do believe that Milosevic is running out of options and the sooner we can make him run out of options I think the better.

I think also that the message of the Washington summit is beginning to percolate down, that we are offering the Yugoslav people an alternative to the counter-productive policies of the government, an alternative of democratisation, of reform, of integration into the European mainstream, of security based on co-operation not confrontation, that the door is open to the rest of Europe. There is a vision there of reconstruction of the region in which Yugoslavia could participate and I'm sure that there are many receptive ears for that message.

Mark Laity (BBC): A couple of questions to Jamie. Could you just give us an update on where we are on the oil embargo? A minor point, General: what is the military value of hitting the ferro-nickel plan in Pristina? And can I also press you a little bit on you saying that there is no point in giving a tally count but I am quite sure that any general would want to know roughly how many tanks you've destroyed if he's going to be engaged in operations so can you give us even a ball-park percentage or something rather than just an assertion that it is all going jolly well?

Jamie Shea: Mark, on the oil embargo, I think we're in excellent shape quite frankly. Today, the EU embargo has come into effect. I spoke yesterday of virtually the same number of countries elsewhere in Europe or in the world, including the Allies naturally, that are doing the same so if I can put it in this way, the tap is being turned off all across Europe at the moment and the most effective way of depriving Yugoslavia of oil is not to send it there in the first place and that is indeed what is happening and therefore as I said yesterday, I don't expect that we can eliminate all supplies, at least not in the immediate, I think that this will start having an effect. Even before this oil embargo was coming into place, as General Marani and I have said, there are large shortages of fuel in Yugoslavia.

If you mean the "visit and search" regime that NATO is looking at, that is still being processed by the Military Committee. As I said yesterday, it is a complicated affair, we want to get it right, we want to make sure that when it's introduced it has the greatest level of effectiveness and the widest possible basis of support within the international community but what counts is the oil embargo first and foremost and that is in effect.

General Marani: On ferro-nickel, of course I am not prepared to discuss the targeting process but in general broad terms you are all aware of what can be done and what is currently done with such metals, a number of military and civilian products use this metal so you can image that in general terms hitting the source of such a metal to some extent restricts the possibility of producing those items for which these metals are used.

If you have noticed, all the NATO military spokesmen that have been on this podium, including General Clark, have never given what could be information useful to the opponent and I am sure if I were a Serb general I would like to know what the enemy thinks of his achievements and this is why I am not going to give you anything more specific than a broad collective assessment.

Question: A question relating to the accident in Bulgaria. The missile which fell some days ago in a Sofia residential area caused great concern among Bulgarians. Bearing in mind that NATO attacks will probably intensify after Bulgaria gives official access to NATO aircraft in its air space, my question, Jamie, is what can NATO do to prevent a reoccurrence of the accident and was that accident technically avoidable? Will NATO pay compensation for civilian damage? It appears that Bulgaria needs special technical support for aircraft recognition, will NATO help?

Jamie Shea: Thanks for those questions. Yesterday, we gave a full and I hope rapid account of the circumstances of that accident. As you know, we've been in touch with the Bulgarian authorities constantly over the last 24 hours, the Secretary General has seen the Ambassador here, the Secretary General has spoken to the Bulgarian President, we've made it clear that we are offering to the Bulgarian authorities all of the information that we have been able to gather on this accident and of course we have expressed our regrets very directly and as I said yesterday, obviously we will do whatever we can to avoid this type of affair happening in the future.

Bulgaria/NATO relations are strong, they have been strong throughout this crisis, we have a very effective partnership. Bulgaria is also a country which has expressed an interest in joining the Alliance of course and yes, naturally we are always going to do everything we can to minimise the prospects of this type of thing happening again.

But let us put this in context. If you think of all of the sorties that we've carried out, if you think about all of the missiles that we have fired, the number of these mishaps is extremely small, we're talking about a fraction of one per cent here and I think we would be hard-pressed to find any previous air campaign in which it has been so low.

Bulgaria/NATO relations are good, Bulgaria supports what we're doing in this operation - that was made clear in Washington by President Stainov (phon), it was made clear by Prime Minister Kosov when he visited NATO and we are putting this behind us.

I can't comment on compensation because I just don't have anything on that for the present time.

Question: Hitting the national Ministry of Defence headquarters five weeks into bombing, is this a symbolic attack or do we know that the building is still being used actively as at the start? Also, two weeks ago petro-chemical plants were hit in Pancevo and there was a lot of concern expressed in Yugoslavia about an environmental disaster. Have you folks done any sort of analysis of just what the environmental impact was? And I am a bit confused by General Marani's statement about not giving the number of tanks. On several occasions, we have been given numbers of MiG planes destroyed, why not armour?

Jamie Shea: OK, Barry, thanks for that array of questions, there we go, one after the other! First of all, why the Ministry of Defence buildings so far into the campaign? I think the answer is that the headquarters of the special police which we attacked some time ago were a larger priority target. All of these targets are important obviously, otherwise NATO aircraft wouldn't expend time going after them but as I have mentioned repeatedly, the special police, the MUP, paramilitary with military equipment have been responsible for much of the mayhem going on in Kosovo and obviously we wanted to disrupt those activities by attacking their central nervous system as early as possible, but the Ministry of Defence is important as well. We have been attacking, as you know, the army all over Yugoslavia and therefore I wouldn't place any importance on the fact that the actual defence headquarters have been spared up until now. It's really a question of trying to identify what are the locations which first and foremost are the brain behind this operation and in that respect the party headquarters of President Milosevic and his wife which were also struck as you know last week, were deemed by us to be the priority targets but the point I think we made last night is a point that we have been making for several days already, that we will go for the head as much as we will go for the feet in this operation.

On the environmental front, yes, I've seen some rather dramatic statements particularly from people in Yugoslavia on this but I haven't seen many protests from people in the surrounding countries and therefore if this environment ecological impact were as great as is being claimed I think there would be a lot more reports, a lot more calls from people outside Yugoslavia in the surrounding countries than has been the case so I think there is a great deal of exaggeration here and I don't have any evidence, I've seen no reports of either any long-term damage to the environment from these operations.

On the other hand, let's not forget that when our pilots fly over Yugoslavia and see a lot of smoke, the smoke is coming from all of these burning villages in Kosovo and if you're talking about environmental damage, I think the "scorched earth" policy applied to Kosovo, the destruction of livestock, the destruction of rivers and roads and communication routes, the destruction of the agriculture, the slaughtering of a large percentage of the cattle and the livestock, is going to be much more significant in the long term and incidentally require a lot more money to fix than the repair of some oil refineries.

General Marani: On the distinction between tanks and aircraft, actually there is no distinction but probably you have noticed that we have never provided consolidated data totals of destruction that have been made. This is the main value of the data, even about aircraft. If you expect in a specific event to have a partial number, I don't exclude that this can be provided but to underline a specific event and give you a measurement of the effect in a specific effect, as I said, I don't exclude it but I wouldn't expect us to provide total data of what have been the results of our military action in Kosovo or over FRY.

Jamie Shea: A couple of final questions.

Jake Lynch (Sky News): We heard last week from Commander Maltinti that NATO troops had taken part in providing I think roughly 270,000 places in purpose-built, properly-organised camps for refugees either planned or actual. Firstly, are the 50,000 you mentioned in Albania in addition to that? Secondly, whether or not they are in addition to that, there are still clearly a number of refugees over and above that number of places. Do they really equate to the number of refugees who really need to be taken to third countries temporarily?

Lastly, we do hear a lot of very disturbing stories from refugees about episodes like rape but of course we are constrained to point out that they are for the most part uncorroborated. Has any thought been given to setting up any forensic testing facility at the border area in order to provide some corroboration?

Jamie Shea: The rape thing, Jake, is not a NATO responsibility. We are obviously very concerned for the plight of the people but the question about how medical examinations are carried and how testimony is taken down is something that is being handled by other organisations and being handled well by the way and is now being done on a systematic basis first by organisations like Human Rights Watch or Medicine sans Frontiere or governmental organisations such as the OSCE which is very active as well.

I believe that really one cannot any longer say that these are just reports. I think that what we are seeing now from clearly women who have been abused, who are extremely distressed, who have stories to tell which clearly are not fabricated, which are corroborated by everybody else, suggest that although we cannot tell the extent of what is going on - we can't talk about the number of individuals - we know that these are not simply isolated incidents carried out by a few soldiers out of control but they are part of something which is being systematically done to a large number of people and therefore there must be some kind of central direction behind all of this, it is not spontaneous. I would expect, once the women in question have got over the initial trauma of what they have experienced, they will come forward with the evidence that is going to be required on that one.

As for the camps, yes, the 50,000 are additional because, as you know, over the last few days the refugee flow out of Kosovo has begun once again, I understand that yesterday there were about 6,000 entering the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, over 3,000 entering Albania. These are large numbers and this means that in Albania in particular there is a need to construct camps particularly to resettle people from Kukes. The people in Kukes have to be resettled first of all because there is a danger that they could be the target of shelling across the border, they are in an exposed position, and secondly because Kukes simply doesn't have the sanitation and other facilities to handle so many refugees they have to be moved elsewhere in Albania and that's one of the things that the NATO forces there will be doing, helping the UNHCR and other organisations to transport them out. I think from Kukes they are leaving at the rate now of 2,000-plus a day - but of course we need to go as fast as we can - and then resettled in other areas notably along the coast because it's easier to supply them for example through the port of Duris (phon) if they are closer to the coast.

Mr. Cresny (Phon): Jamie, there have been some reports three days ago about the use of chemical poison in the northern part of Kosovo and some British newspapers reported the same case in the southern part of Kosovo. Do you and General Marani have evidence because there are some local doctors who suspect it is the same gas they used in Bosnia which has been produced in a factory near Mostar at that time.

Jamie Shea: I've seen reports, I believe from UCK sources, in newspapers and in reports that I've read that chemical weapons or tear gas or riot control type of chemical substances may have been used. I say "may have been used" because I can't confirm this at the present time. I have seen those reports like you have but I can't offer you more at least not at this time on that topic.

Doug: A question for General Marani. You seem to have been very busy, the pilots were very busy yesterday against fielded forces in Kosovo which is something I think you've been waiting for and I'm surprised you have been so modest about it because all we've got is a very bare list. I know you don't want to give numbers but could you give some sort of description of the battlefield yesterday against fielded forces, did NATO use new entry points, did they change their altitudes, were these targets such as artillery tanks engaged in combat at the time, where were most of these targets, were they down in the south-west where you say the forces were engaged? Can you give us some sort of description of what the battlefield was like?

General Marani: What I can say is that they had a bad start because the weather wasn't too favourable, then, during the say it cleared up but as you know, action against fielded forces requires reasonable weather conditions because the identification of the targets has to be done in an accurate way and with the improvement of the weather conditions the tempo has been increased very much.

In terms of scenario, it was not a specific area that was targeted. Therefore, all over Kosovo you can expect that targets have been hit and the most mobile targets have been hit where they were found and you can expect that with the weather conditions that we are forecasting for the next few days, more and more of them will be found and struck.

With regard to entry routes, release altitudes, I must ask you not to insist because as I said, I'm not going to make a gift to the FRY artillery men.

Jamie Shea: OK. General, thank you. Just two things briefly before we stop. First of all, just to remind you that at 5 p.m., in just over an hour, three leaders of the Kosovar community that are currently meeting with the Secretary General will come along and speak to you about their experiences and their knowledge of the situation inside Kosovo at the present time, that is at 5 o'clock.

Secondly, tomorrow I will not be with you; yes, I am having my day off for the operation and my colleague, Peter Daniel, will be up at the podium giving the briefing but the briefings will take place at the normal times. I will back unfortunately, Craig, on Sunday and Monday at the normal times and join you in your suffering. Thank you very much indeed.

Go to Homepage Go to Index