by Mr Jamie Shea, NATO Spokesman
and Major General Walter Jertz, SHAPE
Jamie Shea : Ladies and Gentlemen, Good Afternoon.
Welcome again to our daily briefing.
As you know, the eyes of the world are at the moment focused on a small
border crossing on the border of Kosovo and the former Yugoslav Republic
of Macedonia, because it is there at Blace that a few hours ago began
an important meeting, a meeting between General Jackson, the Commander
of the NATO forces, and two Yugoslav military representatives.
I want again to emphasise that this is not a negotiating session and
it is not a place for haggling or equivocation. This is not the place
to discuss the size of the positioning of the conference table. This is
a place for decision and action. We expect the Yugoslav military representatives
to accept the terms that will be put to them by General Jackson and we
expect them to have the authority not only to agree but also to order
the immediate implementation of what is agreed.
As I have said before, NATO will remain fully vigilant until we see
specific steps and until we see the Yugoslav forces actually withdraw.
It is not enough to talk about withdrawing. If I can use a term from chess:
President Milosevic, it is your move.
General Jackson will be making it crystal clear to the two Yugoslav
military representatives what they have to do. Firstly, that they have
to commit themselves, and Yugoslavia, to a phased and rapid withdrawal
of the Yugoslav ground forces. This means that all personnel, all organisations
with a military capability, must start to withdraw. This will involve
of course units of the regular army, but also armed civilian groups, national
guards, border police, army reserves, military police, intelligence services,
police of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, local special riot and anti-terrorist
police and any other groups or individuals that will be designated by
General Jackson. It will also mean that as these military and police forces
leave, they will have to stick to a firm schedule, using designated assembly
areas and designated routes, and also designated areas that will have
to be vacated. The withdrawal of the Yugoslav armed forces must be completed
within 7 days from the entry into force of the agreement.
At the same time, the Yugoslav military commanders must provide General
Jackson with all relevant information concerning the location of landmines
in Kosovo, be they anti-tank mines, anti-personnel mines or booby traps.
Also the Yugoslav armed forces must withdraw Yugoslav air and air defence
forces from Kosovo and they too must leave according to a firm schedule.
This means that all aircraft, radars, surface to air missiles and anti-aircraft
artillery must be removed from Kosovo to other locations beyond the boundary
between Kosovo and the rest of Yugoslavia, and these air defence assets
must be removed very quickly to allow for the safe operation of the NATO
air surveillance operations which will verify the withdrawal of the Yugoslav
forces, and naturally we will be expecting the full cooperation of Yugoslavia
with the alliance's verification activities.
Until this agreement is obtained from Yugoslavia on all these points,
and until we see the beginning of the effective withdrawal of the Yugoslav
forces, the NATO air operation will continue. As I said yesterday, NATO
will remain vigilant. In dealing with President Milosevic we remember
that "once bitten, twice shy".
At the same time our preparations for the Peace Implementation Force
are now in full swing. In the next hours, SHAPE's revised operational
plan for the Operation Joint Guardian will be arriving here at NATO headquarters,
together with the suggested rules of engagement, to be approved by NATO
Ambassadors soon. General Jackson now has the operational command of all
of the forces in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia -- and his
headquarters is on 24 hours notice to move.
All nations that have proposed to participate in the Peace Implementation
Force have reconfirmed their participation, and as you know many additional
force elements are now en route to the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia,
even in advance of the Activation Order coming from the North Atlantic
Let me make one final point. As the Serb forces pull out and the NATO
forces move into Kosovo, we expect the Kosovo Liberation Army to exercise
restraint and not to attempt to take advantage of the situation. We expect
also the personnel and units of the Kosovo Liberation Army to abide by
the instructions of the Commander of Kfor, General Jackson. NATO forces
will be operating under strict rules of engagement and of course they
will not tolerate any hindrance to their mission or to their speedy deployment
throughout Kosovo. And we hope very much that we can count on the goodwill
and the constructive attitude that was shown by the Kosovar Albanian community
during the peace talks at Rambouillet in France. More specifically we
hope that the Kosovo Liberation Army will renounce violence and act in
conformity with the conditions that were laid down in the peace plan.
We hope too that the leadership of the Kosovo Liberation Army will fully
cooperate with the international peace force on all issues related to
demilitarisation. That way a better future lies with certainty for all
of the people of Kosovo.
Now I would ask General Jertz to give you his usual military update.
Major General Jertz : Good Afternoon, Ladies and Gentlemen.
Acknowledging the fact that NATO and Serb military leaders at present
meet for a military technical agreement on the deployment of an international
security force in Kosovo, NATO continues its air campaign.
Yesterday NATO aircraft flew more than 500 sorties. Strategic military
targets in Serbia were struck, as depicted on the slide. Inside Kosovo,
in addition to a command post at Pristina and ammunition storage sites,
we struck a variety of armoured vehicles and heavy weapons. Once again
our primary effort was against Serb forces still conducting offensive
NATO's Air Forces will continue to hit military targets until NATO's
appropriate authorities are satisfied with Serb forces' withdrawal. Until
now ground fighting is still ongoing within Kosovo, with emphasis along
the Kosovo Albanian border.
There was also yesterday and in the last 24 hours some cross-border
artillery firing into Albania, and even some mortar fire into Macedonia.
Air defence radars were quiet and there was no Serb aircraft activity
at all. NATO pilots reported the firing of anti-aircraft artillery guns
and one shoulder launched missile was shot at NATO aircraft. All NATO
aircraft returned safely.
On the humanitarian side, countries continue to maintain their strong
and most welcome efforts. There were 14 flights into Albania and 10 flights
into Macedonia, carrying food, water, medicine and general supplies. This
brings the total of supplies delivered by air to 16,475 tons.
We are continuing to improve conditions in the refugee camps to help
the victims, the real victims of this conflict - the displaced people
of Kosovo who have lost almost everything they had. But improved camps
and humanitarian aid flights, however welcome, are no substitute for a
safe return home. To that end, if the outcome of the current meeting produces
a solid basis for a cease-fire agreement, we are planning a smooth and
rapid force entry into Kosovo as already has been said by Jamie.
The goals of that force are to stabilise the situation within Kosovo
quickly in order to get the refugees back home as rapidly as it is possible,
to do so safely, and also to ensure their security after they return.
This, Ladies and Gentlemen, concludes the operational update of today.
Antonio: General, in this agreement that is under discussion
now, is there any reference to the KLA withdrawal and the delivery of
the weapons because probably this is also necessary to make Kosovo a little
bit more quiet. And Jamie, is there any link between the help the west
will give to make things go normal, reconstruction in Yugoslavia, and
the presence of President Milosevic? People in the west would not really
understand because taxpayers are paying and that the man that is behind
the whole thing remains in power?
Major General Jertz : The fighting between the UCK
and the Serb forces, especially close to the Albanian border, is still
ongoing. The disarming of the KLA of course will be a matter which will
be discussed pretty soon, but it is a separate issue and it is a difficult
Jamie Shea : Antonio, naturally there will be humanitarian
assistance to Yugoslavia, to help people there who may be in need. But
as leaders of the European Union and North America made it very clear
yesterday, there will not be any type of reconstruction help to Yugoslavia
under the present management, that is clear. And I think the ability to
receive reconstruction help will be a powerful impetus to the democratisation
process which we hope will take place in Yugoslavia tomorrow. I think
certainly today the Yugoslav people will be looking at the situation and
I think they will be putting one very important question to President
Milosevic: "How is it, Mr President, that you have accepted now, after
72 days of a very, very intensive air campaign which has obviously had
a severe impact on our country, essentially the same peace arrangements
in Kosovo that you could have had for nothing in Rambouillet on 23 February?
Why have you put us through all of this misery for essentially the same
result?" And I think it would be very interesting to hear what President
Milosevic's answer to that question is going to be.
Jean-Marc, FRANCE 2: Si j'ai bien compris, l'OTAN adresse un
double avertissement aux Serbes et aux forces de l'UCK de ne rien faire
que puisse compromettre le rtablissement de la paix civile au Kosovo.
Est-ce bien la signification du double avertissement que vous avez adress
tout l'heure ?
Jamie Shea : J'ai simplement dit qu'il faudrait que
tout le monde joue le jeu. Cela va de soi. Notre focalisation immdiate
est, bien-sr, sur le retrait des forces serbes qui est la "condition
sine qua non "de toute paix et de toute solution politique l'avenir
pour le Kosovo. Mais nous avons galement dit que lorsqu'une force internationale
de scurit sera pleinement dploye au Kosovo, cette force sera parfaitement
capable de fournir la scurit pour tout le monde et donc il n'y aura
plus de rle, plus de raison d'tre de groupes arms, et nous comptons,
cela va de soi, sur la coopration de tous les chefs politiques de la
communaut kosovar et, en particulier, sur la volont de l'UCK, de mettre
en oeuvre, partir des accords de Rambouillet qu'ils ont signs et qu'ils
prvoient leur dmilitarisation.
Patricia : Can you tell us if there is a buffer zone around Kosovo
beyond which the troops have to withdraw to and how wide it is, how big
it is? And also whether there are any instructions to the Yugoslav military
about where they withdraw to? For instance what happens if they all charge
off to Montenegro?
Jamie Shea : First of all, there are plans of course
to have that type of arrangement but the details will be worked out by
General Jackson. The responsibility will be his for determining the specific
military needs that he has in terms of the border arrangements for the
borders between Kosovo and the remainder of Yugoslavia. I don't know if
General Jertz will have anything to say on that, but my understanding
is that it will be left to General Jackson to determine that. And it goes
without saying that we would want, and would expect, the Yugoslav forces
that leave Kosovo to go to Serbia. There are already a number of Yugoslav
forces of the 2nd Army in Montenegro and we see absolutely no reason why
that number should be increased.
General Jertz, do you have anything to add?
Major General Jertz : No more than that. It of course
depends on the roads which are available for the Serb troops to withdraw,
then they might of course have to go through Montenegro into Serbia, but
still as Jamie said, there are no plans to actually keep them in Montenegro.
So we hope and we are planning to have them all back into Serbia, that
is where they belong.
Doug : General Jackson and KFOR are ready to deploy into Kosovo,
the Russians are not ready to deploy. Can you confirm that NATO will not
leave any corner of that province unoccupied, waiting for Russian troops
to come, when they do finally arrive to join the peace keeping mission.
They will find NATO troops present virtually everywhere in the province.
General Jertz, as an airman, do you think that the Air Force is going
to claim full credit for this result or are they willing to share some
of the credit, say, with the KLA, with the diplomatic isolation of Yugoslavia
and with the threat of a land invasion which was becoming quite obvious?
Jamie Shea : Doug, it is our intention to have soldiers
of the international security force, including of course many NATO soldiers,
in every village and on every street corner, that is clear. And we are
not talking about differentiated zones, that is also very clear. As for
the Russians, the sooner we can conclude the practical modalities of how
they will participate, the sooner they can join us, and of course it is
our intention to try to get on with that as quickly as we can in coming
Major General Jertz : First of all, we reached our
goal by an air campaign to come pretty close to a peace agreement which
I hope will be, if I am optimistic, in the near future. And on your question:
it was a common effort of all three Services of course, the Navy has participated,
the Army has participated and the Air Force has participated. And I think
that even though I am wearing a blue uniform, including the flying type,
I don't think I should say that the Air Force alone has done it. Of course
the Air Forces have had the biggest burden, we all know that, but once
again all three Services were united together to make sure that this could
Mark : We understand the G8 meeting scheduled for tomorrow has
been postponed. Can you confirm that and also if it is postponed, is this
going to delay a Security Council resolution and will that in turn delay
the KFOR starting going into Kosovo? And secondly, if there is any protracted
delay to the negotiations, even though you are flying a lot of sorties,
the air strike rate has gone down, you have become more careful in what
you are targeting, more obviously military targets. Are you prepared to
up the operational tempo, have more air strikes more widely to put more
pressure back on the Serbs?
Jamie Shea : Mark, obviously I have no responsibility
for the G8, it is not my role to try to speak on its behalf. I saw like
you the press reports, but I wouldn't conclude anything from that. My
understanding is that these are scheduling difficulties, not political
difficulties, in terms of trying to bring Ministers together in one place
at one time. And I can tell you that the UN Security Council resolution
text is very advanced now, there was a meeting of Political Directors
in the margins of the EU summit a couple of days ago, they have made a
lot of progress and I am sure that text can be sent to New York very quickly.
At the same time, as you know, Germany has sent an envoy to China for
discussions as well on that draft, so I think it is taking shape quickly.
As for the deployment of the Peace Implementation Force, that really
is in the hands of the North Atlantic Council to decide on the timing.
Major General Jertz : Mark, to make it very clear,
we always attacked military targets, we never did anything else and we
are ready to beef up again in case something happens, which we hope will
Jamie Shea : Yes, it is not as if any of the planes
have been sent home.
Craig : Will the text of the arrangements that are agreed on
by General Jackson and the Yugoslavs be made public, or the gist of it
anyway, published here after it is done?
Jamie Shea : That again is for the Council to decide,
I can't clarify that for you at the present time. But it is more important
that we get it agreed than it is made public, and it is more important
that it be implemented of course, first and foremost.
Thomas : The Rambouillet agreement has foreseen 120 days for
the demilitarisation. The G8 didn't say anything on the time limit, so
can we expect that the resolution would speak about it?
Jamie Shea : The UN Security Council resolution will no doubt
have a reference to demilitarisation and my understanding is there is
a general reference to demilitarisation in the text. Of course once General
Jackson is "sur place", on the spot, he will naturally have liaison contacts
with all of the representatives of armed groups to work out precise modalities
- my favourite word of the moment - or what you might call the essential
specifics of how that demilitarisation is going to take place and how
the international security force will oversee it.
Dimitri : It looks like the Russians didn't show up at the Macedonian
border for negotiations, although you said yesterday that they should
be there. How did you know? Is there any mechanism of communications between
NATO and Russian diplomats and military, have you received any calls or
something, how it works now?
Jamie Shea : What happened, Dimitri, is that NATO nations issued
an invitation yesterday for a Russian observer to be at the talks today,
if Russia so wished, and therefore it was entirely up to Russia whether
or not it wished to take up that invitation.
Dominique Thierry, Radio France International : Deux questions
sur les criminels de guerre et le TPI. Est-ce que le texte qui est ngoci
actuellement par le Gnral Jackson comporte des lments sur la livraison
des criminels de guerre inculps par le TPI, sur la possibilit de destruction
de preuves et d'exactions commises par les troupes serbes lors de leur
retrait ? Est-ce que le texte contient ces lments ? Si non, est-ce que
la Kfor aura le mandat de poursuivre ces criminels ?
Jamie Shea : La priorit du Gnral Jackson est de faire partir
rapidement les forces serbes du Kosovo. C'est un accord militaro-technique
qu'ils poursuivent en ce moment. Comme on dit, ' chaque jour suffit sa
peine', et pour l'instant, avant toute autre chose, il faut faire partir
les troupes serbes. En ce qui concerne le rle de la force militaire internationale
par rapport aux criminels de guerre, c'est quelque chose qui doit tre
defini par le Conseil de l'Atlantique Nord , lorsque les rgles d'engagement
de la force seront dtermines dans les prochaines heures. Mais je peux
vous assurer, sur un plan gnral, que la force internationale de scurit
va cooprer pleinement, avec les quipes d'enqute du Tribunal qui va
,bien-sr, les suivre sur le terrain au Kosovo.
Same Questionner : En cas d'exaction lors du retrait des troupes
serbes, quelle sera la raction des forces de l'OTAN ?
Jamie Shea : Si les forces serbes hsitent partir ou essaient
de faire un dernier 'round' de nettoyage ethnique avant de traverser la
frontire, nous considrerons cela comme une violation de l'accord et
les forces aeriennes de l'OTAN seront l, trs prs, pour ragir en consquence.
JAKE: The current text is actually less favourable to the KLA in one or
two respects than the Rambouillet text. First of all there is no provision
for a referendum in three years on independence; and secondly it does
away with items in the Rambouillet text like the authority to re-allocate
ownership of natural resources for example. Given that, you have expressed
the hope that the KLA will play the game, but what has been said to the
KLA about what will happen to them if they don't?
Jamie Shea : You know fully well that we are going to have a
very robust, large, well equipped, well led international security force
in Kosovo and that is why we have got such a force so that people will
be inclined to cooperate with it, we hope voluntarily naturally. That
is the whole idea. There need be no competition as to who is going to
provide the best security, it is clear that NATO is going to provide the
best security. And indeed, as I said yesterday, the indications from UCK
leaders like Mr Thaci are that he understands that fully well and wants
As for the long term, we have not said that Rambouillet is dead, but
once we have the international security force there, once the refugees
are back, once we have dealt with the most pressing urgent problems, then
of course it will be time to turn our attention to the political future
of Kosovo and I am sure that much of what is in Rambouillet will be resurrected
at that time. But we have not backed off from the fundamental goal of
far-reaching autonomy for the Kosovar Albanians, so I don't think that
anybody has anything to fear there. But let's allow the people to eat
bread and to live under one roof first, then worry about the more political
Norwegian TV: Would you mean that in the longer future that there
might be a referendum in Kosovo for autonomy inside Kosovo?
Jamie Shea : Again, this is something that it is too early to
comment on at the moment. I think that if you talk to a Kosovar Albanian
refugee about these questions, you will probably get the reply: Look,
first let us get home, first let us rebuild our lives, let's find out
where the other members of our family are and then later on we will worry
about those issues. The most pressing need at the moment is for security,
it is for safety, it is to get people back. You can't determine the future
of Kosovo when 60% of the population are living outside the country, quite
frankly. So let's get 100%, or at least the closest to it, of the population
living back inside the country, then that will be the time to worry about