Updated: 25 May 1999 Press Conferences


25 May 1999

Press Conference

by Mr Jamie Shea, NATO Spokesman
and Major General Walter Jertz, SHAPE

(Presentation Photo)

Jamie Shea : Ladies and Gentlemen, good afternoon. Welcome to our 3.00 p.m. briefing on Operation Allied Force.

Well, Ladies and Gentlemen, first of all, as you know, on the diplomatic front NATO has been a beehive of diplomatic activity this morning. We've had, first of all, the visit of Mr Edward Kukan, the Slovak Foreign Minister, but also the Special Envoy of the UN Secretary General who was here seeing the Secretary General this morning before going on to Stockholm to meet tomorrow with the UN Secretary General. You have just heard a few moments ago a very strong message of solidarity, determination from the Prime Minister of Spain, Mr Aznar, and this afternoon at 5.00 p.m. the Council will be meeting once again with the Prime Minister of Albania to review NATO's help to Albania and the situation in the region. There we will certainly discuss how Albania is coping now with 450,000 refugees on its territory, we will thank the Albanian Government for its co-operation over Allied Harbour, that is the NATO deployment of forces in Albania to help with the refugees. We will discuss with the Albanian Government our plans for the Peace Implementation Force to go to Kosovo once NATO's essential objectives have been met. We will once again reiterate as you can imagine our security reassurances to Albania, and finally we will discuss the question of border security in the wake of the recent incidents along the border between Yugoslavia and Albania.

I must say it was a depressing weekend, wasn't it? Pentecost, I think, is the time when the Apostles went out to spread the word of peace, and tolerance and reconciliation after the death and resurrection of Christ. But that certainly wasn't the message that was being spread in Kosovo this past weekend. In fact, I think that on the humanitarian Richter Scale of suffering, we hit a nine over the weekend. We had, first of all, a major upsurge in refugees heading towards the borders, particularly to the South, to the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, 18,000 alone crossed at the weekend with the refugee agencies telling us that another 20,000 - 30,000 are well en route to cross as well. This brings the total of refugees in that country now to nearly 240,000 and that is notwithstanding the ongoing efforts to take refugees out on a temporary basis to other countries. Over 60,000 refugees have been evacuated so you can imagine that there would be nearly 300,000 there by now if that temporary evacuation programme had not been done.

And, as we have seen, not only do we have lots of people, but we have lots of people in bad shape as well compounding the problem still further. Most of the refugees coming out are desperate, both psychologically and physically. They say that they no longer can buy food or get medical attention in Kosovo.

The overall security situation has deteriorated to the degree that they are even frightened to leave their homes. And not only, therefore, do we have a difficulty with refugees, but we also as you know also have seen over the weekend the terrible spectre of about 1,000 young men, old men, men apparently of military age, but not showing signs of having done any military service, certainly not in the Kosovo Liberation Army, being released from a prison near Mitrovica. People I've called the living dead and certainly these are the kind of images which we have become used to seeing on our movie screens recollecting former days of European history, but certainly not live on our TV screens, reflecting the reality of the present. The prisoners say they have been packed into small cells with 40 to 60 people in each, they have been given crusts of bread or soup made of dirty drinking water, many have been beaten on the hands, kidneys and knees while in prison, others have been forced to fight each other, sometimes fathers have been pitted against sons for the amusement of the Serb guards. Others have tried to commit suicide while in that jail by opening up their veins. Nearly all of them crossing the border have been emaciated, again evoking images of past wars, not the ones that we are accustomed to today.

And of course although 1,000 have been able to cross and be cared for, this still does not explain what has happened to the other 220 odd thousand men of military age that we believe have if not disappeared, are at least unaccounted for. It's very good if the Serbs want to demonstrate that these abducted males are still alive, although barely, by allowing 1,000 to leave, but it still begs the question of what is the fate and the precise physical condition of all the others. We have had, at the same time, almost the end now of the UN humanitarian mission under the Under Secretary General of Humanitarian Affairs, Sergio Vieira de Mello, reporting, I quote, that the situation is even worse than we had ever feared in Kosovo today. And then today, to add to the depressing tableau, a report from the United Nations Population Fund on rapes, including gang rapes in three different cities in Kosovo, and reports of the physical examination of a number of women showing lacerations and evidence of beatings to the arms and to the legs.

Again, these reports simply reinforce NATO's determination to continue with Operation Allied Force until justice has been done to those poor people. At the same time, today in Albania, AFOR, that is to say the NATO forces there, are beginning with the UNHCR a programme of evacuations to other cities and other places in Albania to get the refugees away from Kukes. 30,000 have been identified in this way for immediate evacuation, and AFOR will provide the usual transport and logistic support to help those refugees to be transported to safer areas.

Today we are hoping to take initially 400 to camps in the Hamalas area and indeed there is away from Kukes plenty of spare accommodation in Albania, where there are currently 47 tent camps, 244 collective centres and 17 sites of mixed accommodation. The real crucial area is in fact in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, where a week or so ago, we had plenty of spare capacity for refugees but where the influx of new arrivals has now unfortunately largely used up that excess capacity.

Finally, I noticed a statement by the spokesman of the Socialist Party in Belgrade, Mr Dacic, over the weekend saying only those Kosovo Albanian refugees with proven citizenship documents may return. As you know, most of them have been deprived of their citizenship documents, but I'd like to assure Mr Dacic that documents or no documents all of those refugees will be able to go back to their homes.

And, with that, I'd like to ask General Jertz to give you his military operational up-date. General, please, the floor is yours.

Major General Jertz : Good afternoon, Ladies and Gentlemen. Let me start today's up-date by stressing the ultimate military goal of the whole campaign. Destroy Milosevic's military and special police forces to degrade their combat capability so that they can no longer continue their brutalities against their own people, the Kosovar Albanians, and, secondly, give peace negotiations another chance. Let me quote SACEUR, General Wesley Clark, on that in today's morning brief. "We will intensify the pressure against Milosevic's forces thus backing diplomacy by force."

On day 63 of Operation Allied Force, the air campaign against Milosevic's regime continues to intensify and the allies' diplomatic pressure on Milosevic continues to increase. It is working. Serb forces are feeling the heat. There are mounting signs that the Serb people are losing patience with the regime. There is still unrest in southern Serbia near the Kosovo border. There have been reports of Serb special police arresting demonstrators in several towns and villages in Serbia like Kosovac, Alexandrovac, Kacak, Askar, and others depicted on this slide.

The reason we assume that it is in southern Serbia lies in the fact that the majority of Serbs fighting soldiers in Kosovo do come from the southern part of Serbia. The remarkable unrest in Kacak, for instance, is thought to be connected with the call up of reservists. These troops are moving into the western area of Kosovo which I indicated two days ago. These troops are going in there to bolster their flagging forces in Kosovo. These very forces that have been degraded severely by constant NATO attacks obviously have to be at least replaced. These events demonstrate the effectiveness of the NATO campaign against Serb forces in Kosovo. They also indicate growing unrest as Serbs witness the return of coffins instead of their young men from Kosovo. Despite unfavourable weather, NATO aircraft attacked targets in Kosovo, and strategic targets in Serbia. Once again, I'm happy to say that NATO aircraft returned safely.

In Kosovo we struck several artillery pieces, mortar positions and revetted military vehicles as depicted on the slide. The army's support base at Klivevo was also attacked, where fuel and resupply vehicles had been seen. At the same time, we pressed the attack against the governmental command and control facilities that orchestrate the ethnic cleansing in Kosovo. Attacks against strategic targets included a strike against the command and control bunker at the Presidential villa at Dobonovsi and the Ministry of Internal Affairs. The airfields at Badanica and Sernica were struck again to hamper Serb efforts to repair aircraft operating surfaces. A radar site at Novi Sad was also successfully attacked forcing Serb forces to resort to older equipment. An ammunition site and a petroleum storage site in Serbia were struck to further disrupt supplies to Serb forces in Kosovo.

In Kosovo, Serb ground forces continue their actions, mainly in the western part; close to the Albanian border. In this area are being replaced by the reservists which I already announced in the beginning of my script.

NATO aid flights continue. Yesterday, there were nine into the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, and eleven into Albania, and there are still nine convoys notified and seen in Kosovo and Serbia. We have also been notified that non-governmental organisations are planning humanitarian air drops within the next few days. It is imperative that the NGOs co-ordinate closely with NATO, but we also must make it very clear NATO cannot provide full protection for these flights against Serb air defences.

Finally, today I would like to show you a series of videos and the increasing effect of the NATO air campaign on Serb forces in Kosovo. The first video shows an attack against a radio relay facility at Propotak. These attacks continue to degrade the Serb ability to control its forces. You will see the bomb come in from the right of the picture and destroy the target.

You know that NATO aircraft generally operate in tactical formations. The following series of two videos shows a co-ordinated attack by two aircraft on the ammunition storage site at Prepotak. In both videos, you will see one set of bombs explode on one building, closely followed by weapons from the second aircraft impacting on another selected building. The reason why we show you these videos is that the pilots co-ordinate their attacks to achieve weapons on the target as close together as possible. By flying together, they confuse and saturate Serb air defence while providing each other with what we call mutual support. In this final series of videos you will see two armoured personnel carriers and a tank destroyed. As the weapons explode, you can see large fragments of the vehicle as it is destroyed. You see large secondary explosions after the bomb self exploded as the tank is hit. The fragments and secondary explosions are an indication for battle damage assessment that the target was the real one.

That ends my part of the briefing. Thank you very much.

Jake: You explained this morning that the NAC has before it a proposal for an expanded KFOR of up to 48,000, which includes an assumption that some of them will come from non- NATO countries. Now could you tell us have any non-NATO countries actually been approached to ascertain their willingness to take part in such a force and, if so, what have they been told about the circumstances in which their troops would be expected to enter Kosovo?

Jamie Shea : First of all, this is what I personally call our Teddy Roosevelt force. It's a force that we are designing to speak softly but to carry a big stick. In other words to be a robust force, robust command and control built around a NATO core so that it will truly be able effectively to do the difficult job that it is going to have to do to create an environment of security in Kosovo. As soon as the NATO Council has approved the updated operational plan for this force, called Operation Joint Guardian, we will then ask SHAPE to prepare a status of requirements. That is to say a detailed list of those units and forces which in the view of the NATO commanders are necessary to ensure that the force is properly manned and equipped. That will then lead in due course to a force generation conference at SHAPE where nations will be asked to come forward and to give preliminary, non-binding at this stage, but preliminary indications of the type of forces that they can provide, having seen SACEUR's status of requirements.

Now as with our IFOR/SFOR force, as our planning develops we will brief our partner countries on our planning, and ask them to express also a preliminary interest in participating. In fact some countries have already expressed an interest in participating and, by the way Jake, many countries have told us that they would only be interested in joining this force if it has a NATO core because they too want to benefit from the efficiency and from the robust approach that they know NATO and only NATO can provide. So I can't give you at this stage an exact date but as our planning develops they will be brought in. And let me just remind you that in Washington at the NATO Summit we approved new arrangements with our partners for sharing our planning and bringing them into the process at an earlier stage than has been the case up until now. We'll be using those arrangements in real life in conjunction with this force.

Jake: One follow-up to that. If NATO has not yet ascertained for certain that non-NATO countries are prepared to participate in this force, doesn't that effectively mean that the NAC is about to pass a plan before NATO actually knows for certain that it could be carried out.

Jamie Shea : No absolutely not. This is all part of the planning process. We have to be prepared. We have to be ready. We are boy scouts, Jake, and the motto of the Boy Scouts is "Be Prepared". And that is exactly what we are doing.

Mark: Can you give us any idea in broad terms - the figure going around is 45,000 to 50,000. I know that that figure is not a firm figure because you need the status requirements, but can you confirm that is the ballpark figure which the Pentagon has also talked about ? And can I also ask a second question? You talked about reinforcements coming in. Are they coming in through Montenegro. If they are, how big are these reinforcements. I'm told that it could be as much as a brigade coming in, and what can you do about it, given that you have not been bombing Montenegro precisely to avoid causing offence to the Montenegrin Government and destabilising it.

Jamie Shea : Mark, yes I can confirm that that is the ballpark figure, although your question is probably my best answer, because you yourself said that it depends on units and capabilities rather than on numbers, but that is more or less where we think we will come out from this initial planning cycle.

Major General Jertz : I already had told you about 3 or 4 days ago that we have indications that reservists have been called up in the Montenegro areas, the 326 Brigade. I still cannot confirm the specific number of reservists. Yes they do come obviously from the Montenegro side into Kosovo, we do of course have a close look at them, we are close to destroying the lines of communications inside Kosovo to make sure that those reservists do not have a chance to bring in heavy artillery, heavy pieces, and the plans of course I cannot go into more operational or tactical considerations, but plans are up to, at least inside Kosovo, they will be attacked.

Mark: I understood that. You were saying that they are all coming from southern Serbia, is there any sign that the Serbs are moving forces from the north, you were saying that the emphasis is on all the Serbs in the south and there is unrest there. Are they moving forces down from further north?

Major General Jertz : I didn't mean to say that those forces do all come from southern Serbia. We have no real details on that, we are checking it of course, as I said. The unrest is in southern Serbia and I think most of them will be from southern Serbia, but once again we are looking into it and you can imagine we are not on the ground over there, so we have to wait until we have more information on that.

Question: Jimmy, do you have any additional information on the meeting of the Secretary General with the UN Envoy, Mr Kukan, besides the mutual information exchange? And do you have any comment on the Czech/Greek initiative?

Jamie Shea : No, the Czech/Greek initiative, I haven't studied the details yet because this is still apparently going to emerge today, so I will reserve judgment on that until I have seen the details. And with Mr Kukan, obviously a very good cordial meeting. Mr Kukan briefed the Secretary General on how he sees his mission at the moment particularly and how that is going to tie in with the other diplomatic initiative which is on-going at the moment between President Ahtisaari/Strobe Talbott and Mr Chernomyrdin, who are due to meet in Moscow again tomorrow, because obviously we want to ensure here complementarity, not duplication, that is a concern I believe everybody shares, and as I said Mr Kukan is on his way to Stockholm to meet with his colleague envoy, Carl Bildt, and the Secretary General of the UN tomorrow to discuss how they see the way ahead and which role the UN can play, not simply in terms of hosting an important Security Council resolution, but also in the direct contacts with Belgrade at the present time. But I don't want to go into any more detail than that into this meeting.

Neil: NATO is obviously at pains to accentuate both its successes and the misery of the people within Kosovo. But I am wondering to what extent the two go together. On Sunday you were saying Jamie that it was for the refugees and the displaced people that we began this intervention and it is for their benefit that we will end this operation. And then later you used one of your many analogies, saying we started this on 24 March and within a few days we had won the game, at the moment we are taking the first set and in the next couple of days and weeks we are going to conclude the match. If it is the case that, as you said, this last weekend, to use yet another analogy, registered a 9 on the humanitarian Richter scale, how can you claim to have even won the first point much less the first game or the first set?

Jamie Shea : I think Neil because we are creating the circumstances which are going to enable us to reverse that, and this will be quite rare, because it is very rare in history that you are able to reverse a geo-political earthquake such as we have seen in the last few years in Kosovo, and that is what we are going to do, not just reverse it but stabilise the region as well. I am confident of success because all of those conditions for the defeat of the Belgrade regime are now in place, I suppose we could say that it is not yet the end, it perhaps is not yet the beginning of the end, but it is certainly the end of the beginning, there is no doubt about this, and I think that that decisive turning point is being reached.

Why do I say this? I think first of all we really have now got the Yugoslav forces pinned down in Kosovo, their losses are mounting, and I think the signs of that are increasingly obvious, the fact that as General Jertz has said, they are forced now to go and look high and low in villages and towns for reservists, for people who would not normally be called up into the army, even for people well over the age of 50 because they need extra personnel. That is a sign that they are taking I think a lot of damage in that campaign. Secondly, we have got the economic noose around Belgrade now, we have also got the neighbouring countries firmly tied in with us to isolate still further Belgrade. We have managed to stabilise the refugee situation, despite the incredible numbers there has been no political collapse either in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, nor in Albania, quite the reverse with that situation, despite the enormous numbers becomes more and more stable as the international effort is created.

So I think Milosevic knows by now that this is not one in which we are simply going to allow him to present with a series of fait accomplis. Even if it takes a little bit more time, then again as we have seen in previous occasions we have reached the stage where the end now is not in doubt, it is simply a question of how long it is going to take. We have never claimed, Bill, that we would be able to stop every human rights breach, every refugee being thrown across the border, that is not something that we could have done given the fact that (a) Milosevic wanted to do this and was determined enough to use any method; secondly, he has always been the person with the tanks in the villages, with the soldiers in the streets, he has been the one on the ground. We have had to bring force to the region, build it up and make it count.

But what we can do, and that is no secondary achievement, believe me, is to reverse that, not to allow it to stand, and there aren't many other examples in human history - try to find me some - of where any group of democracies has been able to reverse a humanitarian tragedy rather than simply learn to manage its consequences.

Antonio: I asked this question yesterday and I only had a collateral answer, with some damage for my curiosity, nothing else. We know that the Foreign Affairs Minister of Italy is speaking with Serbian officials. We know that Joschka Fischer is receiving in Bonn Mr Varic, which is right-hand man of President Milosevic. And we are still waiting for some evolution in political terms after the G8 meeting in Bonn. So what is really blocking now that follow-up so that the Security Council gets this resolution and votes for the resolution. And General, I have another problem, just from the military point of view. Does it make a difference if Milosevic accepts the five points, or if he has to accept the resolution at the United Nations, from a military point of view does it make a difference, when and what he refers to when he wants to stop.

Jamie Shea : Antonio, if western leaders meet officials of Belgrade, that is fine, because they are delivering a very blunt message and it doesn't hurt if they hear the same message over and over again, it probably helps quite frankly, and I am sure that that message from the Government of Italy, from the government of Germany, is exactly the same as it would be if it were delivered by the government of the United States, or the United Kingdom or any other country in the Alliance. The diplomatic work obviously is taking time, that is not a bad thing, there are many complicated issues here and we want to get the road map right so that once we implement it it is going to be implemented in a smooth, rapid way. But the diplomacy is intense. As I mentioned, you have got already tomorrow again another meeting in Moscow, Mr Chernomyrdin is thinking of having a visit to Belgrade over the next couple of days with also I consider to be a very tough message. The more frequently Milosevic hears this message from the greater number of people, the sooner he will decide that he has no choice but to accept.

Major General Jertz : On the military, you know that NATO has proven since now more than 50 years to be a very stable Alliance and as long as on the military side, whatever force it is, it is the ground forces from NATO then of course we do accept to have a In France for the military we do obey the of the politicians and when they say we will be led by the UN then we accept this task, and when they say that NATO can do the task we go ahead and do it. So as long as the strategy and the plan is straightforward, the way it is, and the strategy is discussed between all 19 nations, for us all we have to do is wait for the decisions which have been made, which will be made, and then we go ahead and do it the military way.

Jamie Shea : Of course General Jertz is right, but we also anticipate a major NATO role in the command structure for this force.

Doug: The French Defence Minister, Alain Ricard, has said this afternoon that NATO estimates it has killed and wounded hundreds of Serb troops in Kosovo, he said he wouldn't say whether the figure was 150 or 950, but it is the first estimate that we hear, and that would be roughly at the maximum about 2.5% of the 40,000 troops estimated in Kosovo. Is this in line with NATO's expectations from the campaign? And if it is a correct estimate, what does it say about the degree of softening forces in Kosovo that has been achieved so far prior to the entry of a NATO force under possibly less than permissive conditions.

Major General Jertz : I read those reports also, but I think numbers are speculative. You know what you can do of course is let's say one tank has so many personnel in it and then you multiply it by the tanks which I told you we have destroyed, or you can do it the same as the artillery, but this is a very speculative number. I am hopefully not offending anybody, but no we are not counting persons, we are not counting the numbers and how many people have been killed on the ground, all we are looking forward to is to finally stop this conflict by destroying assets.

Doug: to avoid military casualties and to only hit equipment?

Major General Jertz : No.

John: Accepting the fact that the numbers for Joint Guardian are still somewhat up in the air, could you define for us exactly what the core of the force means, what functions NATO would insist that it hold and what other countries would be welcome to provide? And also, when you quoted Teddy Roosevelt you spoke of having a big stick and I think that's one of the issues being debated now, exactly how big a stick the force needs to have. How big would that stick have to be? For the General, General Jertz, you mentioned the humanitarian aid drops and I wondered could you tell us what organisations are proposing to do that and if NATO would consider, or has considered, providing air cover for these folks and, if not, will they be on their own going in over Serb air space? Thank you.

Jamie Shea : Well, John, certainly when we say big stick we mean a heavily armed force, absolutely, not side arms or side arms with a few other things as well. But already, this has been part of the philosophy since the word go, if you look at what we have deployed in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia as part of the enabling force you will see that there are hundreds of tanks, not simply light skinned tanks, but things like challengers, Leopard 2 tanks, armoured personnel carriers, artillery and the rest and SACEUR will be recommending to the Ambassadors very soon what, in his status of requirements, what type of extra equipment or extra numbers he foresees. We have been aware all along that if you take this equipment, you are far less likely to get into trouble than if you don't. We have a lot of experience in the Balkans, we have been there, as you know, in Bosnia for over the last 4 years and we have seen very well that when you have a heavily armed force that has a great deal of force protection, nobody messes with it. Nobody. We haven't lost one soldier I am glad to say as a result of hostile activity in over 4 years in Bosnia. And having had there over 60,000 at one stage, I think that's a remarkable achievement and I think it clearly shows that if you want peace, prepare for something else as the Latin proverb has it, and we will be doing the same. But as for the exact numbers I can't tell you but this force will be a force, as I say, which will speak softly by which I mean that it will be friendly to everybody, it will be even handed towards the Serbs as well as to the Kosovars, it will be constructive and co-operative but it will have very sharp teeth as well as very big teeth if anybody should try to oppose it carrying out its mandate or to threaten its personnel, but exact numbers will come out in the status of requirements.

Question: About the core then. What functions would NATO insist that it hold and only it hold? Signals, combat engineers, what exactly?

Jamie Shea : I simply think that, John, just looking at the practicalities NATO countries are the ones that have these type of forces mainly through the NATO planning cycle. We also have the core of integration because we have been used to doing things together for the last 50 years. Our partner countries have shown that they can make extremely valuable contributions. There is no doubt about this and they have a great deal of experience in peacekeeping but the combat core often comes from those NATO countries because of experience and because they have the equipment necessary. But I am not going to, at this stage, comment on exact roles but I would imagine the bulk of the operational manoeuvre battalions that will constitute the force would come from the NATO countries.

Major General Jertz : I can't be too specific on the numbers because you know it's actually the NGOs who decide if they want to do air drops and if they want to come in with convoys. So far I know we are talking about Russia and South Africa. Those are only the two which we know of. They are invited of course to talk to us because I think I mentioned it several times that we do have set up rules which we do give to the convoys which is rather clear, should be clear, to those who do air drops because if they talk to us we tell them which routes they could be flying in and of course once again I have to make it very clear, if they don't accept our invitation to talk to us, then we for sure cannot provide any safety and for sure we are not flying air coverage for them.

Jamie Shea : Yes absolutely, the co-ordination is extremely important and it is very important John, not that they give us the information, but they stick to it because if any of these organisations of course, having given us this information, then go and do something different in terms of deviating from routes or timings, that of course makes it more difficult for us to give the co-operation that we genuinely want to give. I understand also that many of these organisations are planning a drop on the so-called snowflake principle which means sending the relief out in small packets. This is good because it means that it is less likely to fall en masse into the wrong hands than if it's dropped on pallets if you like, in one big lump which means that whoever gets it, gets a lot of food and I think this is a very wise principle, the snowflake principle, to try to spread the food in small packages over the biggest possible area, thereby ensuring that hopefully internally displaced persons will be able to get this food.

Pierre: On a pu voir hier dans plusieurs reportages tlviss des mdecins et ....... yougoslaves confronts des normes difficults lies leurs gnrateurs dans leurs hopitaux et qui donc finalement accusent l'Alliance de prendre en htage la population civile, donc de prendre en htage des innocents par le fait mme de bombarder des centrales lectriques, des transformateurs ou alors des canalisations d'eau potable.

Jamie Shea : Pierre, excuse me if I reply to this in English but this is an important point and therefore I would like to get my message across universally here to everybody in this room.

Let us not lose sight of proportions in this debate. President Milosevic has got plenty of back-up generators. His armed forces have hundreds of them. He can either use these back-up generators to supply his hospitals, his schools, or he can use them to supply his military. His choice. If he has a big headache over this, then that is exactly what we want him to have and I am not going to make any apology for that.

Secondly, I don't know if anybody realises this. It's not often remembered but over 50% of the refugees in Albania and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia are under 18 years of age. Children, or at least adolescents. 40% are under 14 years of age. 20,000 are under one year old and at least 100,000 babies have been born since this crisis in March in those refugee camps, without incubators, without electricity, without medical support, without water, without a roof over their heads, with absolutely nothing. And therefore they are still considerably less fortunate than those babies in Belgrade. NATO doesn't wish any harm to any baby but let's make it clear here, the suffering, the real suffering, not the TV images, but the real suffering is in this business overwhelmingly on the side of the Kosovar Albanians who don't have the choice, unfortunately, between an incubator with electricity supplied by President Milosevic or an incubator without electricity. They simply have no incubator because they have been forced out of their homes and into fields.

I also could tell you that there are 60,000 children under the age of six in the camps in Albania alone being cared for at the moment by the International Relief organisations. This is not a few babies, no matter how precious, this is an entire lost generation. We are dealing with the Pied Piper of Hamlin here. In other words the government which has literally taken away from their homes a whole community of children, enormous numbers depriving them of their health, causing great psychological harm, you have seen this in terms of the pictures that they have painted which have been exposed at Segrabe, depriving them of their schooling, depriving them of their families in terms of separation and I think that this again is what we should focus on. Otherwise I just acknowledge that perhaps we have lost all sense of proportion in this matter.

Question (Norwegian News Agency): I am sorry Jamie but if you say that the Army has a lot of back-up generators, why are you depriving 70% of the country of not only electricity, but also water supply, if he has so much back-up electricity that he can use because you say you are only targeting military targets?

Jamie Shea : Yes, I'm afraid electricity also drives command and control systems. If President Milosevic really wants all of his population to have water and electricity all he has to do is accept NATO's five conditions and we will stop this campaign. But as long as he doesn't do so we will continue to attack those targets which provide the electricity for his armed forces. If that has civilian consequences, it's for him to deal with but that water, that electricity is turned back on for the people of Serbia. Unfortunately it has been turned off for good or at least for a long, long time for all of those 1.6 million Kosovar Albanians who have been driven from their homes and who have suffered, not inconvenience, but suffered in many cases permanent damage to their lives. Now that may not be a distinction that everybody likes but for me that distinction is fundamental.

Mr Kraziki: We have been hearing for quite a time here on this podium that NATO insists on the withdrawal of all Serbian troops from Kosovo, paramilitaries, police force and military but we have been listening to Mr. Chernomyrdin saying that he had convinced some NATO government to accept some Serbian troops inside Kosovo so please tell me who is wrong here and who is right? And a question for General Jertz, I have been trying to make some studies about the number of the targets you have hit inside Kosovo and comparing that number to southern Kosovo and the northern part of Kosovo, the difference is huge. Do you have any military explanation for that?

Jamie Shea : Well as you know the Rambouillet Accord did provide for a very small number of Serb forces to remain in Kosovo after a peace agreement and under international supervision of their activities. Now at the moment this question of a possible, very small residual Serb presence is being discussed by the G8 countries in the framework of drawing up a G8 sponsored UN Security Council resolution, but the NATO position is that first of all, first of all, before this question can be finalised the Serb forces have to leave Kosovo. That's right. What comes afterwards, that can be discussed in the framework of the UN Security Council resolution but again the forces have to leave first and NATO is attached to that and we remain attached to that.

We will take one more question after General Jertz has answered your second question.

Major General Jertz : Well you know the targets, I wouldn't go too much into the targeting process because it's not for the audience, but we know we do have a straightforward strategy, targets do come out of the tactical side, they are in Kosovo, they are in the operational side of the house, they are inside and outside Kosovo and they are strategic targets. All those targets of course have to be there in a wide range and they have to be destroyed because they are part of the command and control and of the force that Milosevic is using against the Kosovar Albanians and that is why I am not going into more details on how many targets are outside or inside. You remember that I said at the beginning because of bad weather we did have the emphasis on the targets outside Kosovo, because of bad weather, of course our main goal is to destroy, attack and destroy, the targets within Kosovo, inside Kosovo, to give the refugees a chance to come back to their homes again.

Question: I am talking about inside Kosovo itself, the southern part of Kosovo and the northern part of Kosovo?

Major General Jertz : That is a tactical question, wherever targets do come up and wherever they are valid targets they will be attacked, there is no distinction between northern and southern Kosovo.

Question: I wanted to ask you, how far did you get in the negotiations with the Macedonian government concerning the KFOR in Macedonia? And second question, what about the Apaches, we haven't heard about them for a few days.

Jamie Shea : Well, they are there I can assure you, they're there. Have they discreetly gone back to Germany? No. And as for the first part of your question, well as you know we have had extensive conversations and discussions in the past with the government of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia on the deployment of the NATO forces there. Once the NATO Council has finalised the arrangements for the updated operational plan at the appropriate time, as you can imagine, the Secretary General naturally will be in contact with the authorities in Skopje because clearly NATO cannot place any forces on the territory of non-member states without their consent or of member states for that matter without the consent of the government concerned. And we will, once the decisions have been made, be appealing for their support pointing out of course that this is done in the name of having an effective peace implementation force, that this will help to promote overall stability in the region and I think that anything that hastens the peace in Kosovo and which provides for a permanent peace in Kosovo, is going to benefit the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia in the first instance as well.

Ladies and Gentlemen, the Secretary General, at 5.45 p.m. will be holding a Point de Press with the Albanian Prime Minister at the main entrance.

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