by Mr Jamie Shea, NATO Spokesman
and Major General Walter Jertz, SHAPE
Jamie Shea : Ladies and gentlemen, good afternoon.
Welcome to our daily briefing. General Jertz is thankfully with me once
Ladies and gentlemen, before we turn to Kosovo, I would like to tell
you some news from Bosnia. A few moments ago the NATO Stabilisation Force
in Bosnia detained Dragan Kulundzija, who is indicted for war crimes by
the International Criminal Tribunal for Yugoslavia. Mr. Kulundzija is
now being processed by SFOR for transfer to The Hague. We will give you
further details in due course about this particular operation.
You should know that Dragan Kulundzija has been indicted in an open
indictment by the International Criminal Tribunal for grave breaches of
the Fourth Geneva Convention relative to the protection of civilian persons
in times of war. Also for violations of the laws and customs of war and
crimes against humanity. These alleged offences were all committed at
a place known as the Keroterm Concentration Camp near the town of Prijador
in the Republic of Bosnia Herzegovina, upon the territory of the Former
Yugoslavia. Detainees at this Keroterm camp were killed, sexually assaulted,
tortured, beaten and otherwise subjected to cruel and inhumane treatment.
Now back to Kosovo. As you all know, the weekend meetings in the Former
Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia between General Jackson representing NATO
and the Yugoslav Generals did not produce an agreement. The Yugoslav authorities
presented proposals that simply failed to guarantee the safe return of
the refugees, the protection of all of the people of Kosovo and the complete
withdrawal of the Serb forces. Those proposals were unacceptable. As we
have made clear since this campaign began, there are two indivisible requirements
for any suspension of the air campaign by NATO: we have to have the complete
acceptance of our non-negotiable conditions and we have to have the verifiable
and credible implementation of those conditions. An agreement without
implementation is not an agreement.
There has been no movement towards implementation by the Yugoslav military.
In fact, as General Jertz will point out, the activities of the Yugoslav
military continue in Kosovo at this moment. Instead we have had some proposals
from the Yugoslav side that, if accepted, would fail to guarantee the
safety and security of the people of Kosovo, and these proposals are also
inconsistent with the Ahtisaari/Chernomyrdin agreement that President
Milosevic accepted last week. In short, President Milosevic so far has
failed to keep his word. And that is why we were right, and continue to
be right, to be cautious and to maintain our full vigilance.
There are always three stages in reaching an agreement with President
Milosevic. The first is the agreement on principles; secondly there is
the agreement on the details; and thirdly there is the full implementation.
Then you know that you have an agreement.
There is now an attempt to negotiate non-negotiable conditions. We will
not accept this because it is a far cry from the verifiable and credible
implementation that we are looking for. The demands of the international
community remain the only way to guarantee the safe return of the refugees
to their homes. We know, and every Kosovar refugee repeats it every day,
that the refugees will not go home while the forces responsible for the
ethnic cleansing remain in Kosovo. The Kosovars will not go home until
they see NATO forces arrive in Kosovo to guarantee their safety. The Kosovars
will not go home until Milosevic agrees to, and acts on, our five conditions.
Until such time as those five conditions are being effectively implemented,
NATO's air operations are continuing and will continue.
General Jackson of course remains in the Former Yugoslav Republic of
Macedonia. He has lots of work to get on with in terms of preparing NATO
forces to be ready for their mission to bring peace to Kosovo. And General
Jackson is ready at any time to discuss with competent Yugoslav authorities
the implementation of the Ahtisaari/Chernomyrdin agreements. He is ready
whenever the Serbs are ready to talk real business. But he is there to
discuss one thing and one thing only, implementation; not a reopening
of what Milosevic has agreed to, but simply how we are going to implement
it effectively and rapidly.
With that I will ask General Jertz to give you the last 24 hours military
Major General Jertz: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen.
Let me start repeating the words General Jackson finished his public announcement
with last night. He ended his statement by saying that the air campaign
will continue, and he is right.
Yesterday NATO flew over 480 sorties against strategic and tactical
targets in and around Kosovo and in Serbia proper. We struck a wide variety
of tactical military targets, including a command post, an early warning
site, a radar relay site and ammunition storage facility. And as I told
you yesterday, our main emphasis again was to hit Serb forces on the ground.
Targets included artillery pieces and mortar positions, plus armoured
personnel carriers and other armoured vehicles. We also struck two battalion-sized
staging areas. Even so, detailed battle damage is still ongoing. First
reports indicate that Serb ground forces in Kosovo had to suffer some
heavy losses, especially on artillery pieces and armoured personnel carriers.
NATO's air campaign will continue until implementation of a withdrawal
agreement. As yet however there is no military agreement to withdraw,
much less actual movement of Serb forces out of Kosovo.
The ground fighting continued in Kosovo, still heaviest in the west
along the Albanian Kosovo border. Two main areas of conflict remain: in
the Mount Pastrik vicinity and to the north of Mount Pastrik around the
Junik area. The artillery firing into Albania continues in the Mount Pastrik
area and from positions near Junik, in fact just a little over along the
Kosovo Albanian border, forcing Albanian people to leave their homes,
another clear sign that Serb military forces do not bother about civilian
casualties. Elsewhere in Kosovo we have evidence of clashes between Serb
and UCK forces in south and central Kosovo, especially near Oralovac.
Air defence activity, including anti-aircraft artillery and radars,
was light again. There was no Serb aircraft flying activity at all and
two surface to air missiles were fired against NATO aircraft. But once
again, all NATO aircraft returned safely. Even so I have learnt yesterday
in the discussions with General Jackson that the Serb Generals, having
participated in the meeting, still claim now 75 NATO aircraft having been
shot down, and they tend to believe it. As you can see, the fighting isn't
Let me share some more thoughts with you. Serb forces will not halt
their operations until their senior commanders give them the order. But
bear in mind, the senior commanders report to the political leadership
in Belgrade. Only Milosevic can end the continuing destruction of his
military and special forces, those forces carrying out the brutalities
The air campaign will not end until Serb forces begin a verifiable and
credible withdrawal from Kosovo. NATO will continue its successful air
campaign, the most precise, persistent air campaign in history, until
Serb forces begin to follow their leaders' words with actions. NATO's
arsenal is extensive and it is flexible. Yesterday we managed to divert
heavy bombers from their original targets to strike Serbian positions
along the Kosovo-Albanian border. Shortly after we detected numerous Serb
troops in fighting action on the ground. We are capable to increase the
number of strikes. We can hit Serb targets even harder and more often
than we have done to date.
This concludes my portion of the briefing. Thank you very much.
Question: Jamie, can you elaborate a little bit on
the plans the Serbs submitted to General Jackson in his meetings there?
Jamie Shea : I don't want to get into the details
of this, particularly as of course it is our hope and expectation that
these military-to-military discussions will resume in the very near future.
But let me just say that the Serb side did not accept the sequencing of
activities, as proposed by NATO, a sequencing which in our view represents
the only way to ensure that the Serb forces leave, an international security
force is rapidly thereafter deployed and the refugees are able to return
home right away. Secondly, the Serb Generals claim that they were empowered
only to discuss certain aspects of the military-to-military agreement
and not other aspects and they stalled on many other points of detail
as well. So it is not clear that they were really interested on that occasion
in genuinely seeking an agreement.
Question: Did the Council today discuss the question
of ground troops?
Jamie Shea : No. If you mean by that ground troops
in terms of a new option - no.
Jake Lynch, Sky News: You said the other day that when
the G8 Foreign Ministers meeting was initially postponed, you said don't
conclude from that that nothing is going on because G8 Political Directors
continue to meet. I am wondering if you have received any indication that
those Political Directors have managed to prepare anything to put to the
Foreign Ministers which bridges the gap in the codicil to the document
accepted in Belgrade last week, the difference of understanding between
Russia and NATO as to the precise command and control structure governing
those respective troop contingents.
Jamie Shea : Jake, it is obviously very positive that
the Foreign Minister of Russia, Mr. Ivanov, has arrived in Bonn and is
attending those talks now. They are starting, as you know, over lunch
but I don't know naturally what the outcome of the discussions is yet,
we will learn that later when they have their press conferences. But we
hope, of course, to bridge the remaining gaps in terms of how NATO and
Russia can cooperate in a peacekeeping force, even though I believe the
technical details will be worked out at the military-to-military level
and then obviously at the level of the North Atlantic Council here. But
I think the main order of business is of course the discussions on the
UN Security Council resolution where again we very much hope that the
G8 is going to make progress. But of course I can't talk for them, they
will be speaking for themselves later today.
Jake: You have expressed some puzzlement as to what
can be motivating the Serbs to drag this out. Isn't it clear that until
those details are nailed down, the analysis in Belgrade will remain that
something might be there to be gained, and therefore until the text of
a UN resolution is finalised, you can't really expect to get a deal with
the military technical talks?
Jamie Shea : Jake, they in Belgrade have to calculate
their cost benefit ratio too you know, and they realise that as long as
they don't agree and start pulling out their forces, NATO air operations
are going to continue, and that means that every day that that happens,
as General Jertz has said, they are going to lose another percentage point
or two of their armed forces. And so believe me, the costs are also very
real ones for Belgrade in continuing to postpone what is going to have
to take place in any case sooner rather than later.
Craig: What was the sense of the Council meeting today
on expanding and intensifying the air campaign, particularly in areas
Jamie Shea : The sense is that as far as the air campaign
is concerned there is no reason to suspend it, of course not, at the moment
the conditions for that have not been met, and that we are going to keep
it up, we are going to keep up significant military pressure on Milosevic
so that he has a chance to rethink again the strategy of not following
through on what he has agreed. At the same time, NATO countries, obviously
with the G8 as well going on, will be meeting to seek a pragmatic way
through this current difficulty which we hope will be a little local difficulty
and not a major sticking point. We still believe that we have come a very,
very, very long way in the last 75 days. We haven't got as far as we have
got only to trip up at the final hurdle.
Dimitri Khavine, Russian Line: Did any contacts appear
in the last days between the Russians and NATO and also there are some
sources saying that at the end of the previous week the Secretary General
met Andre Kozarev, a former Foreign Minister. What was this meeting about
and was it related somehow to the Russian role in this crisis?
Jamie Shea : No. The meeting did take place, Dimitri,
it was over the weekend, it was a totally private meeting - I insist on
that, private - they are old friends from the days when they were both
Foreign Ministers and it was to discuss really general European security
issues but Mr. Kozarev was not there in any official capacity and I am
not aware yet of any contacts between NATO and Russia at the working level
to discuss the participation of Russia in the Peace Implementation Force
but we will get to that, I hope, in the near future.
Mark Laity, BBC: General Jertz, you talked about General
Jackson saying the air campaign will continue. I believe actually he said
it would continue and intensify. I know you have given us the last 24
hours, can you talk about whether air operations, as was alluded to this
morning, are actually going back to their prior intensity, have there
been more air strikes, are they spreading beyond Kosovo more than they
were and are you planning to get up to and to exceed your previous levels
of intensity, 700-plus sorties, 350 air strikes?
Jamie, there is a lot of sense that the Russians are separating somewhat
from NATO now, that they are insisting on a bombing pause before the Security
Council resolution and that this is going to be one of the main stumbling
blocks in the G8. Can you comment on that?
Major General Jertz : On the first question, Mark,
I like you very much but I have it in front of me. It says: "meanwhile,
the air campaign will continue." If somebody cut something away then of
course I have to apologise but other than that, no, General Jackson did
not talk about intensification. What I said was that we are capable and
of course, to be very honest, the numbers already did go up and I think
in the last few days I already told you that we will beef-up again just
to make sure that a whole range of targets - even though I am not going
into more details on that - will be struck like we did in the past.
Mark Laity: Beyond Kosovo as well?
Major General Jertz : We already did it in the last
24 hours as you will realise.
Jamie Shea : Mark, I am not aware that Russia has
introduced any new positions in addition to the longstanding views of
Russia which are well known and as you know, one of the purposes of the
G8 meeting today is to continue to work with Russia on these issues and
to try to come to a common viewpoint, particularly in view of the need
to pass a UN Security Council resolution to the extent that it is possible
as soon as possible and therefore we will see what happens at the G8 but
I wouldn't like to second-guess the outcome of those talks.
Jean-Marc Ilouz, France 2: Jamie, the sounds from Blace
and then from Kumanovo sounded pretty positive until a Russian defence
attache walked in apparently and some sources are saying that it sort
of changed the atmosphere so can you tell us more about why the NATO people
in Kumanovo sounded so hopeful and so positive and suddenly there was
a breakdown? Is that related to a message delivered by the Russian envoy
Jamie Shea : It is clear, Jean Marc, that if there
was yesterday a breakdown of the talks it was because of Milosevic, it
is clear that is where the responsibility lies. There was a Russian participant
as an observer but no more than as an observer in those talks.
Patricia Kelly, CNN: Jamie, in the absence of a UN
resolution but if there is a withdrawal, would NATO troops go in without
a resolution and if some countries don't like that idea; could they be
transferred to national command and go into Kosovo under national command
instead of NATO command?
Jamie Shea : A lot of speculative questions there
and you know what spokesmen always answer to speculative questions, two
things: first of all, we are working very hard to get a UN Security Council
resolution, all Allies are participating in that effort, all Allies want
a UN Security Council resolution; secondly, we are working very hard to
prepare for the Peace Implementation Force to be ready for deployment
as soon as possible and we are going to continue on those two tracks for
the time being and do our best to make them come together.
John: Jamie, you seem to be blaming Milosevic for the
breakdown. What do you think he is up to and have there been any talks
since the breakdown in the early hours of the morning to try to get the
process moving again?
Jamie Shea : I wish he would convene a press conference
so that you could go and ask him that question by a live link from NATO
headquarters even because it would be good to know. He does have a habit,
as you know, of agreeing to principles which he then tries to work back
as it were on the details, that is why we have said right from the word
"go" that we had to be vigilant, that we weren't going to count any chickens
around this place before they had all hatched because we do have that
experience with Milosevic over several years.
The message from NATO last week was one of great caution, as you well
remember, because we stressed that we would only believe it when we saw
the implementation moving ahead but what we are going to do is do what
we have always done on this occasion, we are going to be firm, we are
going to be consistent, we are going to be constructive, we are not going
to, if you like, see this as a set-back, we are going to see this as another
reason for redoubling our pressure on Milosevic and redoubling our vigilance
and when he sees that this stratagem is going to be no more successful
than his previous stratagem of resisting the five conditions, then I believe
we will be moving ahead so this is a time of cool resolve and that is
the message from NATO headquarters.
John: And have there been any contacts since the early
Jamie Shea : We have established, as I said earlier,
a liaison mechanism which, if you like, is a way of keeping in touch at
a low working level to see if the Yugoslavs have anything to tell us,
to provide any clarifications that they may still need. This doesn't mean
meetings as such, it just means contacts from time to time and exchanging
telephone numbers so if the Yugoslavs are having second thoughts believe
me they know which number to ring.
Dominique Thierry, RFI: Jamie deux questions dont l'une
qui vous a t pose ces deux derniers jours sur lequel je voudrais revenir
la lumire des vnements de la nuit dernire. L'OTAN n'a-t-elle pas
baiss sa garde trop rapidement, n'a-t-elle pas diminu l'intensit des
bombardements trop rapidement et ainsi a permis a Milosevic ce coup de
pied de l'ne, si vous me permettez l'expression. Deuxime chose est-ce
que le Conseil aujourd'hui a voqu les rgles d'opration et d'engagement
de la KFOR?
Jamie Shea : Si vous tes un soldat serbe au Kosovo
aprs ce que le Gnral Jertz vient de dcrire, je ne pense pas que vous
auriez subi a comme une dclration ou une dsintensification des oprations,
loin de l. Hier, par exemple, une bonne cinquantaine de vhicules blinds
des forces armes yougoslaves au Kosovo ont t frapps par l'OTAN, donc
journe noire sur le plan militaire pour le Prsident Milosevic hier.
Maintenant en ce qui concerne le plan oprationnel : le plan oprationnel
doit tre approuv peu prs maintenant l'heure o je vous parle par
le Comit militaire, soumis pour approbation rapide au Conseil Atlantique
avec les rgles d'engagement, et s'agira d'une approbation provisoire
par le Conseil, l'approbation finale intervenant au moment o les forces
sont effectivement dployes au Kosovo mme, mais tout a suit son chemin,
le Comit militaire ayant planch au cours du weekend est trs proche
maintenant d'un accord et s'il y a un accord au Comit militaire, l'accord
au Conseil Atlantique suit en gnral rapidement.
Question: General Jertz, how is the situation inside
Kosovo? Do you have any more information about the looting or the preparations
of the Serbian forces to leave?
Jamie, some Serbian representatives are saying that the army is still
afraid of the reaction of the KLA when they start to withdraw. Did General
Jackson start already to have contact with the KLA about that issue?
Major General Jertz : In the last 24 hours we had
no further indications of looting but I think I still owe you the answer
to a question somebody asked me yesterday about the looting I was discussing.
This happened in the Pristina area where two buses of VJ infantry have
been seen going into Pristina and the same troops returned later with
trucks and other vehicles and those trucks and vehicles were loaded with
stolen goods so we know what happened at least two days ago but in the
last 24 hours, as I have already, there have been no further indications.
Jamie Shea : Certainly, we know that the Kosovo Liberation
Army is continuing to fight the Yugoslavs intensively despite the losses
that they have sustained. For example, near Orohovac or around Lake Radonjico,
near Decane and in the area between Javaliska and Kraljani there is active
fighting going on and we know that the UCK have had some success in retaking
certain areas around Suvereko and delivering ammunition to one of their
key strongholds at Malebreso so they are far from a spent force that is
If the Yugoslav soldiers really fear the KLA, that is a good reason
for agreeing to the detailed implementation with General Jackson because
to the extent they withdraw in an organised way along specific routes,
they are less likely to be attacked. If the Yugoslavs are using this as
an excuse to delay or not to withdraw, it is not an excuse that is going
to work with the NATO side and once again, as I have said on previous
occasions, the KLA share the objective of having the Serb forces leave
Kosovo, they have every interest in not trying to stop or delay or impede
that but to see those forces leave as quickly as possible and we are counting
on their restraint in that connection.
Same Questioner: You said before that they have also
to act under the instructions of General Jackson when KFOR start to enter
so did KFOR already establish any kind of contact with the leadership
Jamie Shea : Not to my knowledge but there have been
several contacts between UCK leaders like Mr. Thaqi and Alliance governments
on a bilateral basis and the statements that I have heard in the last
few days from Mr. Thaqi and Mr. Krasniki seem to suggest to me that they
have received those messages from Allied governments.
Bill: Jamie, you mentioned that a major problem seems
to be in the sequence, that is the withdrawal of the Serb troops and the
entry of NATO troops but there are some reports saying that the Serbs
want to keep as many as 15,000 forces in Kosovo. Can you clear up the
confusion as to what their new demands are in terms of renegotiating NATO's
Jamie Shea : Bill, I am not going to go into the details
of that, I don't think at this stage it would be helpful but the Serbs
clearly know, whatever they may suggest, that they are not going to be
allowed to keep forces in Kosovo above the level specified to them by
General Jackson which is a small level, we are talking about a few hundred
and not the levels of last October which were a disproportionately high
level and anything that goes beyond what General Jackson has specified
would be a Serb policeman or a Serb soldier too many for the refugees
to have the confidence to go back home. Robin Cook used the expression
today "a non-starter" and I am quite happy to echo that comment.
Major General Jertz : Let me add another word. The
numbers General Jackson mentioned - and Jamie just did it - were the ones
which had been used in the Serb parliament and this was agreed as we all
know so the other numbers could not be discussed at the present time and
should not be discussed.
Doug Hamilton, Reuters: I would like to go back to
the idea that you hope that this might be a little local difficulty as
you said. If General Jackson is speaking to people who still believe that
75 NATO planes have been shot down perhaps he is speaking to the wrong
people. Has NATO got any plans to go to Belgrade and speak to Drago Juolbanic
or indeed Slobodan Milosevic and ask him for a "yes or no" answer and
get one from him?
Jamie Shea : No, we have no plans at the moment, Doug.
It is very clear what has to be done. These generals will sign what Milosevic
tells them to sign and therefore we will wait. As I said, the door is
open for Milosevic to rethink the position because in the meantime NATO
air operations are going to continue. We are very tenacious, we have not
come, as I said, this far to stumble at the final hurdle and therefore
we will wait for those generals to appear again but this time more prepared
to do business than was the case over the past weekend.