Updated: 3 May 1999 Press Conference


3 May 1999

Press Conference

by Dr. Jamie Shea
and Major General Walter Jertz

(Presentation Photo)

Jamie Shea: Ladies and Gentlemen. Good Afternoon. A hearty welcome to you all on this day 40 of Operation Allied Force, and as you see to mark day 40 I can introduce to you a new face up here at the podium, he is General Walter Jertz, as you can see from the German Air Force. I am delighted to welcome him as the SHAPE briefer and let me tell you that he joined the German Air Force in 1965, he has over 3,000 flying hours to his credit, mainly on the F104 and the Tornado, and recently he has been the Commander of the German First Air Division and also a Commander of the air element in the NATO operation in Bosnia, IFOR and SFOR. He has also been a Commander at Air South, so he has extensive national, NATO and Bosnian experience. And I don't know where he found the time to do this, but he is also the author of a book called "Tornadoes Over Bosnia" and apparently this is the aircraft variety, not the extreme gusts of wind variety. So a hearty welcome to you General up here at the podium today and I would like to pay tribute to General Marani for doing the job for several weeks as my partner here.

Ladies and Gentlemen, this is the beginning of an active week for NATO. We have tomorrow a press conference by General Nauman, the Chairman of the military committee, who is the outgoing chairman because he will be leaving on Thursday when we will have a change of command ceremony and we will welcome his successor, Admiral Ventoroni, from Italy.

At the same time, as you know by now, President Clinton, accompanied by several senior members of the Administration, will be here on Wednesday morning. I will have the complete timetable for you quite soon, but it will mean an early start for everybody on Wednesday morning as the President will be arriving around 7.00 and departing around 9.30. He will be here to meet the Secretary General, the Chairman of the military committee, SACEUR, the NATO community in the broad sense and to consult naturally on the political and military aspects of Operation Allied Force with the decision makers at NATO.

Now last night we had another very extensive range of operations over Yugoslavia. There were 45 targets and 21 of those were in Kosovo itself, so again I want to stress that we are really focusing on those Yugoslav forces in Kosovo that have to withdraw if peace is to come to Kosovo itself. And as I mentioned this morning, we now have had over 14,000 sorties in the last 40 days and last night the focus was on the Yugoslav forces, their tanks, their artillery, but also on the headquarters of the MUP, the MUP special police, on an alternate command post, on airfields and ammunition storage sites.

But as you know, the new feature of last night's operations was the attacks on the electricity systems that feed the command and control of the Yugoslav Army, and as SACEUR has said and pointed out that a tank without fuel is far less useful than a tank with fuel, and equally a command and control or a computer in military hands without electricity simply becomes a mass of metal, wire and plastic. And last night we attacked 5 main electricity yards that distribute power to the great majority of the Yugoslav military establishment, and of course this power feeds the airfields, headquarters, communications and the entire command and control network. No power means no runway lights, no secure communications at all.

Specifically our forces struck the transformer yards at Obrenovac, which is a key electrical distribution station in western Serbia. We attacked the transformer yard at Nis which has degraded the command and control of the Third Yugoslav Army headquarters at Nis, and we hit transformer yards also at Bajina Basta, Drmno and Novi Sad. And the fact that the lights went out across 70% of the country I think shows that NATO has its finger on the light switch in Yugoslavia now and we can turn the power off whenever we need to and whenever we want to, and we can use this to severely disrupt, degrade, diminish the capacity of the Yugoslav Armed Forces to operate over long periods of time, delay their ability to repair the essential power systems, and of course by disrupting in this way the integrated air defence, improve the safety of our pilots flying over Yugoslavia.

But I want to emphasise that we took great care to ensure that important civilian facilities like hospitals had the redundant power capacity to keep their systems running through these power outages. We realise of course the inconvenience that may be caused to the Yugoslav people, but it is up to Milosevic to decide how he wishes to use his remaining energy resources - on his tanks, or on his people - and we will continue to attack every element of the Yugoslav military establishment until Belgrade accepts the unconditional demands of the international community. I reiterate: Belgrade must stop the killing; it must withdraw its forces from Kosovo; it must accept an international military presence with NATO at its core to establish security inside Kosovo; it must allow the unrestricted return of refugees, all refugees; and work to build a permanent political solution based on the Rambouillet peace plan. We are not asking for more but we will accept nothing less.

Today our concern is with the plight of the people of the city of Prizren in southern Kosovo. Prizren, which was once a cultural heritage of Europe, and declared so, was a city of 180,000, in other words a major city. But now it is practically empty. The UN High Commission for Refugees believes that 50,000 people in the last few weeks have been forced to leave and have set out towards Albania. But we are concerned by reports from many refugees that at the border the Serb police have separated women and children from the men and interestingly this time it is the men that have been allowed to move on, and the women and children who have been sent back, in other words the most vulnerable are those who are being forced to suffer the most. And again interestingly, those with ID cards from other cities have been allowed through, but for some reason those with Prizren identity cards are being turned back and we have reports recently of the Serb forces going from street to street, forcing people to leave but now apparently forcing at least some of them back in a reversal of their previous policies. The World Food Programme has reported the burning of foodstores and the refusal of many Serbs to sell food to the Kosovar Albanians that remain.

In fact in the last 3 days, over the May 1st weekend, normally a time to celebrate peace, 21,000 people have gone to Albania and 15,000 to the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. Indeed I was very struck to see a quotation in a newspaper this morning from Stafan de Mistoura, who is a senior official of the United Nations, who has a great deal of experience in refugee situations, he has worked in 17 conflict zones, and he said that this is probably "the most cynical, calculated, glacially coldly planned humanitarian tragedy that I have seen in 29 years working for the United Nations". And the situation in Prizren today again demonstrates why NATO's 5 conditions are so essential and unavoidable, because only the acceptance of those 5 things which I spelt out a moment ago will allow the international community to deal adequately with the refugee situation and get all of these people back, now a considerable number, to achieve the type of security that is going to be necessary if they are to go back, to allow the international relief organisations, who are going to have a tremendous and virtually unprecedented job to do, to go in in conditions of security and with the military support that they are going to require, and indeed to start a political process which will ultimately bring a solution. I think the scale of what is going on shows that anything less than the 5 conditions would not unfortunately allow that humanitarian tragedy to be adequately addressed.

Finally, before I hand over to General Jertz, let me just say that we continue with our forces in Albania to do what we can to bring support to the local refugee population there. COMARC, that is to say General Jackson, the Commander of the Allied Forces in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, is now working with his counterpart, the Commander of the Forces in Albania, General Reith, to identify three sites for refugee camps in Albania near the city of Koka. That work will start in the next few days in order to be able to settle refugees already in Albania and refugees en route there from the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and to make life as comfortable for them as we can.

Major General Jertz: Jamie, thank you very much for the introduction. Ladies and Gentlemen, Good Afternoon. Let me, before I do start into the briefing, let me give you just a few words on what I think is going to be necessary for you to know.

I am a pilot so I know how Airmen feel while they are risking their lives for others. I want to be credible, I want to be honest, I want to be giving you timely information where our intent is to provide as accurate, as timely information as possible. I am fully aware of the media's need to report news as fast as possible, but please bear in mind, we do have to investigate things carefully, thus taking up some time. And by finishing with Klausavitz (phon) "Every age has been marked with its own kind of war", and this is unfortunately true for this century.

NATO's military forces continue their intensive airstrikes against military and other forces in Kosovo and against strategic targets throughout Serbia. In the past 24 hours, fielded forces, electrical power transformers, airfields and radio relay sites were struck. In our campaign to disrupt and degrade the ability of Serbian forces to persecute the innocent citizens of Kosovo, we have continued our emphasis on engaging the fielded forces in Kosovo.

To this end, during the last 24 hours, we have successfully targeted a full range of tactical targets deployed throughout Kosovo, including artillery, tanks, armoured personnel carriers, military vehicles, mobile Sam 6 systems, ground to air systems, the Kosovska milicia station and border posts at Dragas and Gorozup. We also hit dispersed ammunition storage sites and fuel supplies.

As stated in yesterday's briefing, we will be giving you a more in-depth assessment of the effects of our efforts against fielded forces in the near future.

Turning now to NATO operations against strategic targets. As many press services have already reported, last night we conducted a co-ordinated effort against the electrical power distribution system in Serbia, as also has been mentioned by Jamie. Let me explain further the rational behind this. The supply of electricity is fundamental to the command, and control, and support systems of a modern military or police force. Alliance forces struck electrical power transformer yards at Obrenovac, Nis, Bagina Basta, Drmno and Novi Sad. The cumulative effect was to deny temporarily electric power to a large part of Serbia without undue effect on neighbouring countries.

These strikes continued our campaign against the Yugoslav command and control nervous system, they further degrade the Serbian ability to direct and prosecute its continuing campaign of aggression and are part of progressive action to disrupt Serbian military and police forces involved especially in Kosovo. I would like to emphasise that these actions are not, and I repeat, they are not aimed against the Serbian people.

Other strategic targets included additional command and control assets such as radio and TV relay sites at Novi Pazar, Kosovaka and Krusevac, as shown on the slide. This is a pre-strike image of the Veliki Jasterebac radio relay site. This image was taken after one of our attacks three days ago. We also attacked airfields at Ponikve and Pristina, along with a petroleum production facility at Pristina. The ammunition production plant at Valjevo was also struck.

Lines of communication supporting the resupply of Serb fielded forces were again targeted to include bridges at Bistrica, Kokinbrod and Prijepole. This photograph is a post-strike image of the Novi Sad refinery which we have struck on numerous occasions. The following image is the Novi Sad railroad and highway bridge, both pre and post-strike, which was attacked last week.

Serbian forces infrastructure was also targeted throughout the FRY, as shown on the slide. The next slide is an expanded view of these infrastructure targets within Kosovo. This last image is a post-attack image of Pristina airfield.

I would now like to turn to NATO's humanitarian efforts. Our support for Non Governmental Organisations and the governmental institutions of Albania and Macedonia continues. In turn the support of these organisations contributes significantly to the relief efforts in these countries and fulfil what we believe is humane, helps people to survive and gives them back their dignity.

In the last 24 hours there were 17 aid flights flown into Macedonia delivering 8 tons of food and water. For Albania there were 14 aid flights delivering 17 tons of food and water and 11 tons of medicine. Thus far NATO has assisted in the delivery of 3,334 tons of food and water, 968 tons of medical supplies and 1,775 tons of tentage, 3,127 tons of general goods.

Finally let me turn to Serbian operations. First of all I will cover ground operations in Kosovo. In general a reduction of Serb Army offensive activity has been noted as they continue to attempt to conceal their assets. This is in contrast with special police forces unfortunately who continue to pursue and engage UCK elements away from the main lines of communication. In northern Kosovo special police elements attacked UCK west of the Podujevo/Pristina line.

The goal is to maintain the security of key terrain and protect the vital lines of communication. In central Kosovo special police reportedly conducted operations in the Stimlje and Gracanica area south of Pristina. We have evidence that these operations were supported by Serb military artillery.

Special police operations continue north and east of Suva Reka. Serb military artillery also continued firing along the Kosovo Albanian border.

Let me turn now to Serbian Air Force activity. Serb early warning radar activity was again noted. Also Serb air defences were more active than in the past. Finally, while all Alliance aircraft returned safely, one aircraft was damaged by Serbian anti-aircraft fire but landed at a divert field.

That concludes the operations briefing for today. Thank you very much.

Augustino: Jamie, one political question. I saw one interview of one very well known Belgrade lawyer. He is saying that Milosevic's political future is necessarily linked with his biological future, so if he cannot survive politically he cannot survive biologically, therefore he is ready to sacrifice everything, everybody, infrastructure, everything until the end. Is NATO going to change the operation planning to be more concentrated directly to Milosevic?

Jamie Shea: Well are we going to target Milosevic, do you mean? No, I have made clear we are not going to do that. His future will have to be decided by the Serb people, they will have to decide if he really is the best man to take him into the 21st century, or whether they would be better off under new management as it were. But that is up to them to decide. It is true that President Milosevic does seem to have a remarkable appetite for power, but at the same time we are going to continue this operation until he realises that it is not only in the interest of his people, that has been clear months ago, but it is also in his interest to agree to the demands of the international community.

GEORGE: General, you were saying that you just temporarily have broken the electricity supply, what does it mean temporary, how much effort is needed to repair, how much time you secured that no supply for the time being? And also do you have any assessment as to what extent the civilian population could be affected by this operation in this respect? And thirdly, do you know already what was the reason of the motor failure, because yesterday the F16 went down and at the time it was said that it was the failure of the motor, do you know the exact reason already, was it shot down as the Serbs claim or not?

Major General Jertz: It is very difficult to give you an answer on how much time they will need to repair. All we know is that at 5.30 in the morning, after the attack, most of the power was back again, so you can work out approximately how long it did take to do that.

On the F16, you know that the aircraft is not in our hands. We still are under investigation and under review, trying to find out what really happened and we just have to wait another few days before we really get you the answer.

Jonathan Marcus: Two questions: one, could you give us a little more detail about the nature of the weaponry used against these power transformers? There is a lot of stuff on the news agencies suggesting it was something similar to what was used by the Americans in the Gulf war against similar Iraqi installations. The other thing I am not entirely sure of is the exact reason for doing this. If it gives such a short period of power outage, is this something you are doing to achieve tactical superiority for one particular set of raids? Does that mean that this is going to happen repeatedly and surely if it does happen repeatedly isn't it much harder for NATO to keep up this kind of fiction that it is not at war with the Serbian people, but that it is only attacking military and strategic assets?

Major General Jertz: First of all, the nature of the bomb, yes you are right, I can tell you that there is a bomb having been used which hasn't been in the theatre yet, but unfortunately I am not in a position to comment in further detail on that.

On the effect on the electricity, well we are working according to a special plan and of course we also want to make sure that civilians are not harmed in an extent which we would not be able to accept ourselves. So according to a plan, working systematically this plan, yes we did start with attacking these electricity plants, on the other hand we will just have to continue systematically if Mr Milosevic is not willing to really do what he is supposed to do, take the telephone and tell us that he wants stopping to be bombed, for the sake of his own persons and for the sake of his own people.

Questions & Answers

Pierre Boucher: Thanks Jamie. Any possible update on the "visit and search" thing?

Jamie Shea: No, that's still being worked on by the NATO military authorities in conjunction with the North Atlantic Council, that will take obviously a day or two. As I have said earlier, Pierre, we want to get this right. Obviously, it has got to be something, as I mentioned yesterday, which is based on international law, which is militarily effective, is going to do the job and is going to gain not just the support of allies - which it has already - but the support of the wider international community.

If I may, let me make the fundamental point. What counts here is the oil embargo. If the stuff isn't leaving in the first place then obviously a "visit and search" regime has less to do at the receiving end. That is the thing, cut off the oil tap at source, and this has been the focus of the Alliance's political efforts and with the new ban coming into effect a couple of days ago with the United States over the weekend promulgating a very extensive range of sanctions with a dozen or so other countries in Europe that have joined on to this oil embargo - and Canada also has taken measures, every ally has done so - we have now got 30-plus countries that used to be among the suppliers of oil to Belgrade that are not doing it any longer and so the tap has gone from a run to a drip and that counts, that is really the important thing in this business. But to answer your question directly, as I have more for you as the operational planning develops, I'll brief you on that but it's still being worked on.

Michael (New York Times): Just to clarify, is the intent now to take the electricity off and keep it off from now on or just to disrupt it temporarily? What type of aircraft dropped this bomb?

Jamie, you said that various research and studies were made to limit the effect on hospitals and the civilian population; what exactly was done?

A last question, you mentioned that an aircraft was hit by anti-aircraft fire and diverted - was that an A-10 and was the pilot wounded?

Jamie Shea: OK Michael, let's try to answer those and of course, some of them are for the General.

On the last one - the last ones are always the easiest to answer - it was an A-10, it was diverted to Skopje, it was as you know, an engine problem occasioned by some anti-aircraft fire. I don't believe unless the General can contradict me here, the pilot sustained any injury, at least I haven't heard of any. That's the first point.

Secondly, on the business of the electric grid, the basic approach is not to destroy the producing infrastructure for electricity but to be able to disrupt in a substantial way for a period time which shuts down the military computers, which shuts down the command-and-control, which complicates life for the Yugoslav Army which is of course our objective, in such a way that they are even less able to respond to NATO operations and that their own operations elsewhere in Yugoslavia, particularly in Kosovo, become disrupted as well, it complicates their planning, it complicates their life, they then have to take all kinds of measures to try to get around that, it ties them down and keeps them focused on at least trying to counter our measures and the more they are focused on keeping up their command-and-control, the less able they are to focus on causing mayhem in Kosovo and that's what we want to do and I can't tell you when we are going to do it again but I think last night we demonstrated that we're able to do it quickly, professionally and effectively and that is the main purpose.

As far as the other aspect of your question, Michael, yes, obviously we have our information on hospitals that have back-up transformers and obviously we are quite pleased that those hospitals are able to continue to function, that is the main point. We want to use this as an extra way of disrupting military operations, no more and no less than that.

Major General Jertz: I would like you to accept at the moment that we are not talking of a specific type of aircraft using this kind of bomb but we will come to it later on and on the other hand, back-up power, as Jamie already mentioned, is the main emphasis. We know that hospitals and other civilian facilities, if they are important enough, do have back-up power.

Secondly, let me mention that Jamie is really a good military expert already as you might know by his answers.

Jamie Shea: That's the only exaggeration in these whole briefings!

Question (Fox News): What is NATO looking for from Milosevic, a statement, a letter or a pull-back of his troops?

Jamie Shea: As you know, actions always speak louder than words. What we want is a clear sign that Milosevic has now accepted the conditions of the international community. What would be the clearest sign? He obviously could make a statement and if he made a statement accepting those conditions then obviously our ears would prick up and we would listen very attentively. But we would want to see any statement that he made followed up immediately, real time, by evidence which we can monitor of the Serb forces packing their suitcases in Kosovo, turning around their tanks and heading back into Serbia whence most of them came by the way. I think it would be pretty clear if this was for real or not.

We would be looking for dust on the tracks as all of these artillery, tanks and vehicles begin to move and obviously we would do what we could to facilitate that withdrawal. It would soon be clear if it were a feint or for real and Milosevic can do that very quickly. As I said yesterday, if he can order the release of three US servicemen within an hour, he can order his forces to turn round within a hour.

In an interview he gave, as you know, to certain American media a couple of days ago, he sort of indicated that his paramilitary forces were undisciplined. Well, he orders them into action as much as he orders his army into action, I don't believe in the myth of autonomous Serb paramilitary forces. We know that they get their orders - as they get their equipment and they get their protection - from Belgrade so that is what we would be looking for first and foremost, the withdrawal of those forces.

Jan: After 40 days of bombing, is there any way we can put a figure on the extent of the degradation to the Yugoslav economic infrastructure? Is it possible to say its ability to general GDP is down by whatever it is?

Jamie Shea: Well Jan, I've constantly made the point that the Yugoslav economy was in a fairly dilapidated state well before NATO even came close to the action that we are in today. It has been on a kind of hard piste downhill ski run for the best part of a decade unfortunately and I constantly made the point that Yugoslavia was probably the wealthiest of the emergent post-communist societies back in 1989. Its GDP per capita is about $1500 now which is one of the lowest in Europe but that of course is not because of NATO action, that is the result of sanctions consequent upon the collapse of Yugoslavia in 1991, that is of course because of a lack of economic reform because of the sort of crony capitalism that has been introduced, that is because a great deal of the talent, realising that there was not much of a future, quit a long time ago and went off to work in California or Australia. As you know, there is an enormous Yugoslav diaspora around the world and you have to wonder why. That is one reason.

So whatever the economic consequences of NATO's campaign - and I don't believe that they are either lasting or devastating, far from it - the only salvation for the Yugoslav economy is going to come from Belgrade doing the same kind of things that Hungary, Poland, Slovenia or the Czech Republic and countless other countries have been doing which is of course to go towards democracy, the market economy and integration and as you will remember, Jan, at the Washington summit we made it perfectly clear that if that is the direction that they want to move in, we are going to help, we stand ready to help them do that.

This is something of a tragedy for the Yugoslav people because Yugoslav of the post-communist emerging societies was probably the most industrialised back in 1989, probably the most skilled labour force, the highest standard of living and look where it has come but it is not the result of NATO. I'm afraid the rot had set in a long time before and the end of NATO action is not going to turn the situation around, that can only come from a leadership that wants to move in the direction of the world economy.

Doug: Jamie, you said that NATO regrets any inconvenience to the Serb people from turning the power off. If one of the side effects of shutting the power off to 70 per cent of the country was to undermine the confidence of the people in the regime of Slobodan Milosevic, would NATO regret that too?

General Jertz, do you have any information on a report by Serb media that NATO aircraft have hit a bus on the road from Pec to Rozaje in Montenegro, about 12 km outside Pec, causing some civilian casualties?

Jamie Shea: Perhaps the General could answer the first question.

Major General Jertz: The second question is the easier one. I too have seen the reports, I've read them but I have no information on whether that is true or not so I will have to come back to you again when we find it out. So far it is only in the press.

Jamie Shea: Doug, it's not for me of course to try to represent the mood of the Serb people but I do read - and I think you do too, I think everybody here does - more and more reports that the climate of nationalism has subsided, we are not seeing at least so much the big demonstrations in support of the government in Belgrade that characterised the first few weeks of the operation. I think most people now are weary of this and they know that this is something which Milosevic has imposed on them and why is this happening in the first place? Because their government has refused to co-operate with the international community and has avoided every single opportunity to solve this crisis through diplomatic means which could have avoided NATO having to use force.

We have given Milosevic hundreds of golden opportunities to settle this in a reasonable way and Milosevic tends to prefer meeting foreign journalists and speaking to them rather than speaking to his own people - contrary to what most democratic leaders normally do - as to why this is happening and why the Yugoslavs are in this situation and they know now that it's only if Milosevic accepts these five key conditions that this is going to stop so, yes, I would hope that he would start getting some echoes up from the grass roots over the next couple of weeks, particularly with more and more brave opposition leaders having the courage to speak out that the population is decreasingly behind him on this and they would very much like this to be solved and so let us wait and see.

But in the meantime, sometimes I wonder if some of the leaders really want to deny reality. You may have seen an interview that Mrs. Markovic, Milosevic's wife, gave on the CBS Sixty Minutes programme yesterday where she actually denied that there was any ethnic cleansing or whatever going on in Kosovo and said that anybody who believed that was happening was thinking that it was Wednesday when indeed it was Saturday. But this is Monday and we know very well what is happening unfortunately.

Major General Jertz: Jamie, this is the political part of it but let me add some military aspects on that please. First of all, by doing that, confusion and disruption to most military command-and-control and communication systems will occur just degrading of course the power of the military forces, including special police forces, the air-defence systems will be degraded by doing that, you know that is good for our aircraft and they cannot be shot at; tv and radio will be interrupted and of course the last point I would like to make is that the emergency generators will also have to burn fuel which we hope they will not have for too long, or Milosevic will have to make a decision as where and how he uses the fuel he has.

Stephen (BRT): Thank you, Jamie. I would like to come back to the attacks on the power transformers. Does that not illustrate that for NATO a legitimate military target actually unattended may be of use to the military even if the civilian population is also wholly dependent upon it?

General, you said that we want to make sure that civilians are not harmed to an extent we can't accept ourselves so my question to you is that if you were a citizen living in Serbia and one or more of your relatives or friends was killed during one of the bombing incidents that NATO is responsible for, would you consider that acceptable because of the greater aim of restoring peace to Kosovo?

Major General Jertz: Let me bounce this question back to you. Would you accept living in Kosovo, that hundreds of thousands of Kosovars are being driven out of their homes losing maybe their lives, atrocities, being raped and things like that? Would you answer this question also? It is very difficult. What I am trying so say is that of course it is a matter of what we want to achieve and what we want to achieve is that Kosovars can return safely home to the country where they were born, where they grew up and we take all military action which we think is necessary - of course under political guidance - which is necessary to achieve that goal.

Jamie Shea: Stephen, let me also comment, if I may, on that briefly and then we will obviously move on.

We waited a year before used military force, one year. That is a long time, in fact many people said we should have used it earlier but we didn't even though there were many fatalities in Kosovo we know of that were documented because we had international observers in those days who could actually count the bodies. We also had 250,000 internally-displaced persons and upwards of 100,000 refugees but we tried to solve this without using force. We believed we had the obligation to do everything that we could to exhaust all other possibilities before embracing force as a last resort. We threatened force but with the aim of trying to avoid having to use it by having a diplomatic solution.

We made an agreement with Milosevic in October, I've seen his signature on the paper, I was at meetings where we were negotiating this, he promised to stop the killing, he promised to withdraw his forces, he promised to keep those that remained in barracks and use them only for normal police duties or border-guard duties; he signed agreements not just with NATO but with virtually everybody else in the international community. Every single one was broken but still we didn't use force.

We then said: "Fine" Let's try to get another negotiation started!" We had three weeks in Rambouillet, one week in Paris, we came up with an agreement which against all expectations was signed by the Kosovar Albanians, they agreed to compromise; it was a tough agreement for them, they gave up a lot of things that they held dear but they agreed to compromise. Milosevic made it clear that he was interested in only one thing and one thing only, a military solution on his terms and damn the consequences so we then took the decision to use force.

I don't believe that under any criterion of a just war we could be accused of not having exhausted all ways of trying to solve this diplomatically. If people therefore are killed as a result, as badly as this affects me personally and everybody in the Alliance, the responsibility is with Milosevic. He is the person who has made it inevitable that force has to be used to stop force.

(Question In French)

Jamie Shea: (Reply in French)

Question: Jamie, if you've used these so-called "soft bombs" against the electricity facilities in order to protect the infrastructure and I assume lessen civilian casualties, why then did you not simply jam their television and radio communications rather than bomb the Hell out of that infrastructure and kill those civilians?

Jamie Shea: I think the term "bomb the Hell out of" is an insult to the NATO military commanders who do nothing of the sort, quite the reverse. When historians write the account of this in the future, they will emphasise the opposite, the extreme precautions that have been taken to spare civilian lives, the great professionalism of the pilots in striking only at legitimate military targets. There has never been an air campaign in history which has been discriminating against the military but in favour of civilians as this one even if we haven't been able to achieve - nobody can, nobody ever will - 100 per cent perfection. But what we have to do is to try to end the conflict so we have to balance on the one hand the discriminatory means that I've described, on the other hand with a degree of military pressure which is going to persuade Milosevic to stop what is - and everybody agrees with this - the most significant human tragedy in Europe since the end of the Second World War and we are going to keep that up.

If I could use your term of "bombing the hell" out of somebody, then I would refer it to those Serb forces who have been shelling internally-displaced people on hillsides in Kosovo.

Same Questioner: The phrase was used with regard to infrastructure.

Jamie Shea: I don't think we are doing that either. I think when this campaign is over, you will see that the targets that have been struck for the great majority are strictly military targets which have strictly military uses, there isn't much of great civilian use in an ammunition storage depot - I can't think what else you could use it for - or in a military radio relay station for example or in a tank shelter or whatever. The great percentage are military targets, there are lines of communication where they serve military purposes but I stress in response to what I said to Stephen, if President Milosevic had seized the 100-plus opportunities that he was given by the international community to resolve this peacefully, NATO pilots would not be flying over Yugoslavia today.

Major General Jertz: Let me mention the military aspect on that, this one can be a very short one. If you really want to jam and do nothing but jamming, you need a continuous effect and to reach continuous effect you need a lot of aircraft for a special amount of time and you would not be able to reach the same amount which we did by using the weapon. Jamming, of course, is also an ongoing thing, we do it in other areas also and we do continue jamming. When dropping this bomb, even the aircraft flying-in use jamming by themselves.

Same Questioner: I was looking for substance rather than rhetoric, thank you.

Jamie Shea: All right, let's go for a final question today because it has been rather a long briefing, let's go to Luke Rosenseig (phon)

Luc (Question in French)

Major General Jertz: Once again, all I can say, which I have already said at the beginning of my briefing, is that we will in a very short time come back to you and tell you about the effects on fielded forces which includes of course the effects on artillery, tanks and everything that is in the Kosovo area so I would ask you to just wait another day or two because it is not a military situation which we discuss at the present time and of course we do want to continue to be as effective as possible to really stop the terrible things which are happening in Kosovo.

Jamie Shea: (Reply in French)

Ladies and Gentlemen, I think we'll stop there for today, I look forward to seeing you again tomorrow and I reiterate that tomorrow we will also have a briefing by General Naumann. I will give you the time later but some time in the afternoon.

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