MR. SHEA: Ladies and gentlemen, good afternoon to you.
For those of you who followed us to Washington, or even preceded us
to Washington, welcome back. And as you can see, as you know, today
I have a special guest. SACEUR General Clark has kindly agreed once
again to come up and give you his operational assessments and answer
Before I pass the microphone to SACEUR, I'd just like to say a few words
by way of an introduction. Firstly, upon returning to Brussels this
morning, the secretary-general had a meeting with Mr. Plesu, the foreign
minister of Romania. Romania. once again pledged its solidarity with
NATO, as it had done at the level of the head of the state, President
Constantinescu in Washington just a few days ago. And we expressed our
gratitude again for the support that Romania. is giving us, particularly
by making available to us its airspace.
The NATO ambassadors met at 3:00 this afternoon for their first meeting
post-Washington And as you can imagine, they very warmly welcomed the
positive results of the Washington summit across the board but, of course,
the special message of resolve and determination on Kosovo. And now
that we are back, the NATO ambassadors will be taking a number of concrete
steps in coming days to build on the momentum that was developed at
the Washington summit.
At the same time, the NATO Council today warmly welcomed the decision
of the European Union foreign ministers yesterday to tighten the economic
noose around Belgrade. Restrictions on travel, as you know, were decided
by the European Union on President Milosevic, his family and key regime
figures. This means indeed that they will become prisoners in their
own country and persona non grata in virtually everybody else's country.
It's a further sign of the isolation into which Yugoslavia is progressively
We also welcome the decision of the European Union to freeze financial
assets and bank accounts of President Milosevic, his family and his
colleagues in the government, to freeze export guarantees, to introduce
an investment ban and to ban products that could be used in the repression
of the civilian population. And indeed, allies who are not members of
the European Union warmly support these decisions and will follow them.
And Norway today announced its immediate readiness to do precisely that.
And I believe that these votes in the European Union over the last few
weeks following the decision on the oil embargo that was taken just
a few days ago, and also the votes in the United Nations, particularly
the Human Rights Commission in Geneva. Very decisive, overwhelming votes
condemning ethnic cleansing demonstrate that although NATO is the organization
which is pursuing the military objectives of the international community,
the political goals are supported worldwide, not just by the NATO members.
And I think it's quite revealing that President Milosevic now has to
join together with Libya to find a friend with whom he can attempt to
launch a diplomatic initiative or a peace proposal -- still insufficient,
as far as the NATO allies are concerned.
The Council will go back to meeting on a daily basis now that the Washington
summit is over, and let me say that although we're having this briefing
at 5:00 p.m. today, we will go back to the usual cycle of 3:00 p.m.
briefings from tomorrow onwards.
Having said that, I again thank SACEUR very warmly for coming up here,
and he will now give you his operational update and answer your questions.
So, SACEUR, the floor is yours.
GEN. CLARK: Well, good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. We're now about
five weeks into the air campaign, and I thought it was appropriate to
come before you and give you an update on where we stand overall. I
returned on -- actually, I left Washington on Friday night; I spent
part of the day there for the summit and then came back, and I gave
the heads of government/heads of state an assessment of how we were
doing in the air Campaign I want to give you an expanded version of
that. I will tell you that it was very warmly received and it seemed
to evoke a lot of reinforcement; that is to say, there seemed to be
unanimous conviction that we will continue to intensify the air Campaign
But let me show you the whole picture. Let's go to the four axes that
we're operating on, please. Actually, as the air Campaign is underway,
we are still operating in other areas. The first of these is Dayton
implementation. Secondly, we are doing a lot of work on humanitarian
relief. There is an air Campaign And we are increasingly involved in
the isolation of the theater. So I'd like to talk about each of these
actions here this afternoon.
First, you may recall that on the 5th of March, we announced the Brcko
arbitration decision in Bosnia. This was a decision that, frankly, was
a long time under consideration. Some people said it was long overdue.
And it provided for a new set of rules and a new opportunity to work
out the Brcko problem, which would have best preserved this key piece
of real estate for the benefit of all the people in Bosnia.
But as we were moving toward finalizing the Brcko decision and just
before it was announced, a constitutional crisis in Bosnia. Herzegovina
came to a head. This was a crisis having to do with the government of
the Republika Srpska. It was a crisis that was, for the most part, engineered
in Belgrade by President Milosevic, where he picked the radical President
Nikola Poplasen against the government headed by Prime Minister Dodik
and, time and again, refused -- Poplasen refused to follow through on
his constitutional responsibilities to confirm a government that could
govern. He was unable to nominate an effective or a successful prime
minister, and he continued to try to get rid of the Dodik government
and throw Republika Srpska into chaos.
Well, it just so happened that both the announcement of Brcko and the
constitutional crisis seemed to coincide, and there was a lot of concern
at the time with what was happening in Bosnia. It seems to me that we
have done pretty well since then, and Bosnia. is still holding together.
There were some tense days after the airstrikes began; some demonstrations,
some isolated acts of violence. But Bosnia. Herzegovina is basically
holding together. It seems to be manageable. People are getting back
to business as usual.
The demonstrations and the other disruptive activities have become low-key
events. They have drawn fewer and fewer people. Some were announced
and never materialized. Local police, even in Republika Srpska, are
on duty and generally effective in maintaining public order. And what
that shows is that, after three and a half years after the termination
of that awful conflict there, people are happy to have peace. They want
to get on with their lives. They don't want to see more chaos and turmoil
The international agencies operating in Republika Srpska have, for the
most part, returned. That's the OHR, the International Police Task Force,
Now some predicted that these airstrikes in Kosovo. and Serbia would
lead to a political meltdown, but at least thus far it certainly hasn't
happened. And although we're concerned about the state of the government
in Republika Srpska, we're also very pleased with the strong leadership
that so many responsible people have shown in Bosnia. and Republika
Srpska. Dialogue and cooperation between SFOR and the government officials
remains good. We make it clear -- and I think they all understand and
agree -- that there is no alternative in Bosnia.-Herzegovina to Dayton.
They increasingly recognize that Bosnia.-Herzegovina is a different
country than Yugoslavia and that the problems of Yugoslavia and Kosovo.
are distinct and separate from the problems of Bosnia.
I think Mrs. Plavsic, the former Republika Srpska president and the
leader of the Serbian People's Alliance, said it best. She urged the
Bosnian Serbs to maintain order and concentrate on providing Humanitarian
aid. She reminded Republika Srpska citizens that both the Dayton accord
and the Bosnia. constitution prohibit participation in fighting in Yugoslavia
So I think people recognize that that this was a hard-won peace in Bosnia.,
and they recognize that it's in no one's interest to disrupt it.
The rebuilding continues in Bosnia., and SFOR is deeply involved in
this. Thirty thousand troops under NATO leadership, about 80 percent
of them drawn from NATO countries -- General Montgomery Meigs (sp) is
the SFOR commander -- and they're working every day in a variety of
ways to help this situation.
Near Mostar, Spanish troops have recently helped in the
construction of a sports arena.
In Brajkovici, Dutch troops, with financial assistance from the Netherlands
and Great Britain, helped start up a garment factory and helped rebuild
a number of homes. In the process, they've created more than a hundred
jobs. They've pumped economic life back into the area and enabled 27
families to get back home.
Italian troops are organizing donations of clothing, food, medical equipment,
computers, and consumer goods in Bosnia.
SFOR troops are helping with housing reconstruction, medical airlifts,
and other projects all across Bosnia. So I think it's a very important
part of the NATO story to consider our work in Dayton implementation,
and we're very proud of the work of our 30,000 troops there in Bosnia.
On the other hand, in Kosovo. the situation for the displaced persons
remains extremely difficult. We figure that now there some 820,000 internally
displaced people inside Kosovo. -- many, if not most, corralled into
pockets by Serb security forces, largely cut off from any sources of
food or supplies, communications and living in conditions of hardship
In addition, over 700,000 persons had been expelled from Kosovo. in
this latest Campaign of ethnic cleansing, and they continue to come.
You can see the figures in the surrounding countries there of those
who have now arrived.
We're deeply involved in supporting the lead agencies in their Humanitarian
efforts outside Kosovo. in FYROM and in Albania. For example, in FYROM,
over 12,000 troops from the Allied Command Europe Rapid Reaction Corps
under the command of Lieutenant General Sir Mike Jackson; they were
originally deployed as the first echelon of the Kosovo. implementation
force, but they transitioned very quickly and very professionally to
Humanitarian support. In Albania. right now, we have almost 5,000 troops
under the command of Lieutenant General Sir John Reit (SP) and the Ace
Mobile Force Land, a force built and deployed from scratch to address
the Humanitarian emergency forced on Albania.
Both forces are providing a variety of key tasks to support Humanitarian
relief operations. They're helping to construct camps, they're providing
transportation for supplies, they're providing to the refugees themselves
means to move away from the frontiers where they can be better looked
after. They are running the airfield in Tirana to assist the Humanitarian
airlift, helping to distribute food, medicine, water, shelter and other
supplies, helping to provide security -- doing essentially whatever
it is that the governments and the lead agencies and, in particular,
UNHCR ask them to do.
To date, NATO military personnel have assisted in the delivery of over
3,000 tons of food, 800 tons of medical supplies and 1,500 tons of tentage.
And I would just point out to you that Bosnia. is another neighboring
country that has felt the effects of events in Yugoslavia, because over
45,000 Refugees have fled to Bosnia. That is a striking contrast between
what's happening in Kosovo. and -- what was happening in Bosnia. three
and a half years ago, where now in Bosnia., under NATO and international
community supervision, Bosnia. itself has become a magnet and a haven
for Refugees fleeing repression in Yugoslavia
The refugee demographics in Bosnia. are also worth noting because these
45,000 Refugees are, not only coming from Kosovo., they are also coming
from Montenegro, elsewhere in Serbia and the Sanjak region. And they
include an unusually high percentage of draft-age men.
Let me turn to the air Campaign
As we have discussed, what we are trying to do in the air Campaign is
work on two air lines of operation, one against the strategic targets
and another against forces in the field. This is where we stand in the
air Campaign in terms of performance and resource.
We have about tripled the number of strike assets available to us since
we began. Eleven thousand sorties, 4,400 strike sorties. I would tell
you the weather hasn't been everything we could have hoped for. It has
probably been about average for this time of year. On about two-thirds
of the days, we have had more than half of the strike sorties canceled.
So when I show you the results, I'd ask you to keep this in mind in
that the air Campaign, I think, has been very effective. It has been
very destructive to the resources and infrastructure, and forces and
support, of President Milosevic and his leadership. But it has been
only a fraction of what is to come.
First, let me just tell you that, over the last 24 hours, we have successfully
targeted some elements in Kosovo., both in the field and at places like
the airfield and the ammunition storage. Elsewhere, we have hit a relay
site, weapons and ammunition storage. We have, as you probably saw on
the television news, attacked the communications facilities at Socialist
Party Headquarters in Belgrade, which despite the damage to the building
were apparently still in use. We have hit airfields again and destroyed
the last bridge across the Danube, north of Belgrade, at -- (Balka Polanka
In Montenegro, where we have attempted to avoid striking, we have, nevertheless,
had to attack surface-to-air radars when they have illuminated our aircraft.
And so we have had a couple of strikes there.
And I do of course confirm the loss of the Apache in the accident last
night during the training mission north of Tirana. As you no doubt know,
the crew was recovered with minor injuries.
Now, that's it for the last 24 hours. Let's run through a broader assessment
of the air Campaign Turning first to the integrated air defense system.
Essentially, this air defense system is ineffective. When it's turned
on, when it attempts to target us, it is destroyed. So what he has tried
to do is conserve it by using it sparingly, and when he uses it, we
strike back and take it out. We reckon we're at 70-plus Aircraft. destroyed,
about 40 percent of his SA-3 battalions, a quarter of his SA-6 batteries.
Whatever is coming up and engaging is taken out, and increasingly, we're
finding these assets before they can engage us.
Here is a -- I'll show you some scenes now from various strikes, just
to illustrate each one of these assessments. Some of these have been
shown before, some have not. And here is a strike on a flat-face radar
16 April from an F-16 gun camera. Okay. It seems to try to live up to
the motto there of "no picture." I can assure you there was
a picture behind it. An SA-3 air defense site near Obrava (SP), 13 April,
from an F-15 Gun camera. Okay. We have impact of the SA-3.
Command and control and communications. What we're seeing here is a
very, very -- can we go to the next slide, please. Okay, I'm going to
run through this briefing and describe it to you while we work the computer
behind us. We've got an awful lot of data loaded in this. It's the biggest
small Computer we could find, and even then it obviously sometimes is
getting overloaded here.
Let me turn to command and control and communications. Essentially,
we've found is it's a very hardened and redundant command and control
communications system. It starts with cable. It uses commercial telephone.
It uses a military cable. It uses fiber-optic cable. It uses high-frequency
radio communication. It uses microwave communication. And everything
can be interconnected. There are literally dozens -- more than a hundred
-- radio relay sites around the country. And so everything is wired
in through dual use. Most of the commercial system serves the military,
and the military system can be put to use for the commercial system.
So there's really -- there seems to be no distinction, other than a
few private radio stations, which were put up over the last decade.
What we've found is that we have provided moderate to severe damage
on this system. They are having trouble communicating. They are having
trouble getting the message out. They're working through this and trying
to pull together information systems, but it is difficult.
The television, of course, has been key instrument of his military command
and control, and his way of mobilizing resources. It has been significantly
degraded and disrupted across Yugoslavia, through strikes against the
radio relay network.
I'm going to try one more time to show you a strike on a radio relay
site. If this one doesn't work, then I'll just stay with the assessment
(To staff.) Can we try the Ivanjica radio relay site, 21 April,
Okay, let's go to military supply routes. We've said before that what
we're trying to do is interdict and cut off Kosovo., and make it much
more difficult for it -- for him to sustain his military operations
down there. What you're seeing up here are three bands of interdiction.
They represent essentially where we're taking action against railroads,
roads, bridges, and other means of Transportation into Kosovo. or out
of Montenegro, because what we want to do is stop the flow of Oil out
of Montenegro, at the same time prevent any military supplies from going
into Kosovo. or elsewhere.
On 22 April, we took out the Kosmaca Highway Bridge. We'll show you
a scene of that. I don't know who moved across the bridge, but I hope
they got out of the way in time.
Here's the Mure railroad bridge, 22 April. Step by step, bit by bit,
we're cutting off his ability to reinforce or to sustain his forces
easily down in Kosovo. Of course, he can still walk them in through
the gullies and the rivers and so forth, and it's never going to be
complete, but it is certainly complicating their life down there.
We're also working against ground forces outside of Kosovo. We know
that his personnel and material losses are mounting; we know a number
of key facilities that they value highly have been destroyed and we're
seeing daily evidence of declining morale and increasingly widespread
avoidance of the draft.
Here is an attack on a command vehicle in the ground forces near Kursumlija,
19 April. In Kosovo. itself, we're going after the forces as best we
can despite the adverse weather, and we're using a variety of targeting
means and a variety of Weapons systems on these forces. His personnel
and material losses are mounting; he's lost the use of most of the key
facilities there and we're picking up increasing numbers of desertions
and declining morale among the troops. What you can see on the sketch
map there, as you can see, the troop concentrations where they're still
engaging in herding the Refugees around, ethnic cleansing and continued
to fight against the UCK who, by the way, have not been defeated in
the field by the Serb forces, and they're also trying to fortify defensive
positions in anticipation of NATO ground operations.
Here's a strike on a field command post in southern Kosovo., 22 April.
Damaged tanks, where we've taken them out, in the northern area of Kosovo.
You can see them on the road where they were picked off by military
Aircraft., and going after fuel trucks. You can see the secondary explosion
in that one, so there was a little
bit in that fuel truck.
And that takes me to the attack on his petroleum, Oil and
lubricants. We have essentially destroyed his production capability.
He can't refine it. Now, that doesn't mean it won't be repaired. We've
taken about a third of the military reserves. We know the military is
increasingly desperate for fuel. We know of at least three instances
where operations have been shut down in an effort to conserve fuel or
simply because they have run out of fuel.
Here's an attack from 22 April on a fuel facility in Pristina.
So the next area that we're attacking is his military production, and
in particular his ammunition production. We've had some very good success
against ammunition stocks, and we've done very serious damage to his
ability to repair and maintain his Aircraft., military vehicles, armaments
Here's an attack on the Baric (SP) munitions plant, 22 April.
I think what you can see from all of these is that we are still using,
by and large, precision munitions. This is a campaign that's not directed
against the people of Serbia, it's directed against the regime, higher
level command and control, the forces in the field, their sustaining
and supporting infrastructure. So we're trying to be as precise as possible.
We are trying to limit collateral damage in every instance insofar as
it's possible to do so. But we are determined to have an impact.
And so here's our assessment overall of the impact on various sets of
targets. In every case, we're doing significant damage. There's more
to be done. And, there should be no doubt, more will be done. The summit
leaders were very clear that they want the air Campaign intensified,
and it will be intensified.
Now, the fourth area that we're operating on is the isolation of Yugoslavia
This is an important part of what we're doing here because any air Campaign
is a race of destruction against his repair, reconstruction and resupply.
I've mentioned that we've destroyed the FRY's Oil refineries. We've
also stopped the flow of Oil through pipelines from Croatia, Hungary,
and Romania. And Romania., with an indigenous Oil industry, has cut
off all commercial delivery of petroleum products to Yugoslavia
I might point out, however, that prior to these actions, two to three
ships per day went to Bar harbor. Now we're seeing 10 ships a day in
port, almost exclusively tankers, off-loading 24 hours a day. This is
why the North Atlantic Council tasked us to present our plan for the
visit and search regime of halting the flow of Oil and other war materials
into the harbor there in Montenegro
But I want to make it clear that there's more to this Campaign than
that. We know that they're hopeful that they're going to get supplies
up the Danube. Well, they're not going to. We know they'd like to land
things by air. We're going to do our best to turn that off. In fact,
we're going to cause to dry up as much as possible the kind of support
and sustainment that President Milosevic would like to rely on to resist
the international community in its effort to turn around his policy
of ethnic cleansing in Kosovo. And so the isolation of Yugoslavia is
a very important part of what we're doing.
So let me just sum it up here, if I can. This is a systematic, sustained,
and serious Campaign As we said from the beginning, it would move methodically,
systematically, and progressively to attack, disrupt, degrade, and ultimately
destroy his forces, sustaining infrastructure, command and control,
and all of the other targets that are associated with his Campaign of
This is a Campaign that's working. NATO's solidarity is growing stronger
daily. More resources are becoming available. The noose around Yugoslavia,
as it continues its inhumane policies in Kosovo., is tightening.
I think back to my experience with President Milosevic in late January
and all the subsequent events.
I suppose that he may have thought that NATO really wouldn't launch
the airstrikes. But he was wrong. He may have believed they wouldn't
last after they were started; wrong. He may have thought that some countries
would be afraid of his bluster and intimidation, they would withdraw
the use of their bases or buckle under his intimidation. He was wrong.
He thought that other countries might rush to his aid; wrong again.
He thought that taking prisoners and mistreating them and humiliating
them publicly would weaken our resolve; wrong again. He thought his
air defense would be effective against our Aircraft.; wrong. He thought
his troops would stay loyal. Increasingly, he's wrong about that. There
are more desertions. Former generals are under arrest. Dissent is growing
louder and louder. Military press censorship has been imposed. He thought
he could hide the truth from his own people, I suppose. And increasingly,
he's wrong in that.
We're winning. Milosevic is losing. And he knows it. He should face
up to this, and he should face up to it now.
MR. SHEA: So SACEUR, thanks once again for a very comprehensive, very
full overview. And we've got some time, obviously, for questions. And
Patricia Kelly (SP) gets the first question.
Q General, I've got two questions, actually. The first one is about
the attacks on the TV station. Why are you attacking the TV stations
when they're able to retransmit within a few hours? Is it not possible
to jam transmitters? That's maybe a technical question. I just don't
know the answer to it.
And secondly, if the Campaign succeeds and you have forces ready to
go into Kosovo., who gets to look after the Refugees in Albania. and
Macedonia? Are you going to have to be moving in very many more troops
to be able to do the same job, the two jobs?
GEN. CLARK: Well, first of all, with respect to the television, we're
going off after all aspects of this system. As I said, it's essentially
a dual nature system, and it's heavily dependent on the -- the civilian
television is heavily dependent on the military command and control
system. And military traffic is also routed through the civilian system.
And so from top to bottom we're going after this.
Of course, it does periodically come back on. But much of Serbia is
apparently for long periods for time without any television coverage
at all as a result of attacks on relay sites and other things. And he
is having to hop from station to station in Belgrade. And this is --
like the other systems, this is a very robust system. No doubt it was
designed with the supreme requirements of his regime in mind, that it
had to be durable and robust in case there was some attack or threat
to this television system. And so it's not something to which you can
deal a single knock-out blow. But we do intend to continue this effort.
And increasingly, it is having an impact.
With respect to the Refugees, the purpose of the NATO troops in Albania.
and in Macedonia is to assist those countries and the lead Humanitarian
agencies in their job. And increasingly, those agencies are developing
more and more robust capabilities. They are increasingly able to take
over the tasks that the NATO troops initially had to deal with, as a
bridge from the onset of the crisis until the Humanitarian agencies
could muster additional resources there. So I don't see the issue you
are raising as a significant problem in the long term.
Q But what about, General -- can you jam the transmitters?
Can you jam the transmitters?
GEN. CLARK: We are not jamming the transmitters.
MR. SHEA: Okay. Mark Leahy (SP), please.
Q A couple of points, one on Oil, just a technical thing.
At one stage, we were being told you got rid of 70 percent of the Oil
reserves. You are now saying 33 percent of military stocks. Could you
explain that? And could you give us some --
GEN. CLARK: We were 70 percent, at one point, of the refining capacity.
We did not get the full 70 percent of the civilian reserves. What we
believe we got is 33 percent of the military reserves. I don't have
the figure with me today on what the total reserves are that are available.
But like a lot of numbers in here -- and I would encourage you not to
do the sort of bean-counting-type BDA -- I don't think anyone truly
knows how much Oil is present in Yugoslavia Probably the Serb regime
doesn't either. It is probably squirreled away in many, many locations.
And so you will continually see us revise our figures. That is the reason
why we tried to give you a qualitative assessment, rather than dwell
on specific quantities or percentages.
Q On the Oil side of it though, could you give us an update on the
progress on preventing Oil getting through from Montenegro? Where are
you on the visit and search? How are you -- I mean, if they are unloading
24 hours a day, are you considering hitting Bar or something of that?
And how confident are you on the morale issue? You've come out with
some figures, you've qualified them, but how sure can you be that the
morale really is starting to erode?
GEN. CLARK: Well, we're certain on the morale issue, but morale is an
intangible, and so we're going to see to it that the morale continues
to erode. That's one of the tasks that we've set for ourselves.
With respect to the Oil, there's at least a two-pronged approach to
the Oil First, we've turned in our visit-and-search regime op plan to
the military committee today. That will be looked at in Brussels. We'll
be given some guidance on that and we'll be prepared to implement it
as approved in relatively short notice. That should help us deal with
the shipping that's coming in. In the meantime, we're busy making sure
that it's very difficult for him to move onward the Oil that is received
in Bar. Now, realistically, we know that taking out bridges and Railroad
lines and other things like that will never totally stop the onward
movement of the Oil, but it's sure making it difficult for them.
MR. SHEA: Okay, Javi (SP), please.
Q (Inaudible) -- and General, could you elaborate a bit more on which
options did you consider in your report to implement the sea blockade?
GEN. CLARK: Well, we're going to go after the Oil first and then other
war materials. It's going to be -- there's going to be an effort to
make it a cooperative regime in that we're going to encourage shippers
to contact us for pre-clearance. But essentially, a naval regime like
this is precisely what it suggests: we intend, within the authority
granted to us, to stop the onward flow of Oil to Serbia, and that's
what we intend to do.
MR. SHEA: Okay, Antonio? Sorry -- microphone here, please.
Q Thank you, Jamie. General, what can you do now for this
Oil? Obviously you cannot control every boat and some U.S. companies
keep delivering Oil Texaco did it recently. Can you make something of
this air Campaign to avoid Oil to be brought into Kosovo. and even to
Belgrade? And another question, 820,000 people seem to be in a very
bad condition. Can you already consider now delivering them some food
by air, and what are the risks for the pilots? Thank you.
GEN. CLARK: Well, with respect to the Oil first, we know that there's
going to be a certain time required to implement a visit-and- search
regime; and on the other hand, the European Union countries have all
signed up to the Oil embargo, so that should be drying up the tap coming
from EU countries and many others very shortly on this. As I said, we're
trying to interrupt the onward flow from Montenegro of the Oil that's
there right now.
With respect to the Refugees, internally displaced persons inside Kosovo.,
we're still looking at what options might be available to deliver relief
supplies from the air. But as I indicated a couple of weeks ago, there
are two major problems with this. One is the risks to the pilots from
an air defense system that is still capable of engaging transport-type
Aircraft., and secondly, the vast quantities that would be required
if we were to attempt the long-term sustainment of populations like
MR. SHEA: Craig, please.
Q General Clark, two questions from the New York Times. One, in the
visit and search regime that you've proposed, what would your officers
tell the captains of ships heading towards Bar? "Don't go into
Bar or we'll" -- do what? And secondly, on the reports of retired
generals being arrested, is General Peresic among those?
GEN. CLARK: On the first question, any visit and search regime, of course,
has to have the appropriate rules of engagement to be able to use the
threat of force. It has to be an enforcement regime. And this will be,
if it's approved by the North Atlantic Council, and the officers dealing
with the merchant ships will give them the appropriate instructions.
I have no hard confirmation on who has been detained and put under house
arrest there. A number of people have, by our reports, but I can't independently
MR. SHEA: Okay. Rick?
Q Jamie, thank you.
General Clark, can you explain how the probable call-up of about 3,300
US Reservists will allow you to broaden your air Campaign, or might
these Reservists be used as a possible first wave of a ground offensive?
GEN. CLARK: Well, as I've said before, I think the air Campaign is working.
We're running with it, and it needs more time to work. We've asked for
these additional tankers to come over and many other assets that are
part of the additional Aircraft. that I've requested, and the Reservists
are part of that air flow, to the best of my knowledge.
MR. SHEA: Martin.
Q A question from the Guardian, General. The photographs that you just
showed us, one was marked "military truck in revetment that was
about to be blown up. Another was a fuel tanker. Are you using million-dollar
munitions to hit $10,000-targets? And does this make military sense?
And if you're using precision Weapons purely to spare collateral casualties,
have you any sense of what sort of cost this is to the NATO alliance
to avoid civilian casualties?
GEN. CLARK: Well, let me tell you that we're using what we believe to
be the appropriate Weapons for the appropriate targets. And we're not
measuring the outcome of the war in dollars and cents terms, nor are
we evaluating the munitions effectiveness or efficiency cost on any
specific target. And so we're not able to give you those kinds of figures
in terms of avoidance of collateral damage.
I will tell you it is considerably more expensive to avoid
collateral damage. But as I said, this is not a war that we're
running on a checkbook budget; we're running this war to be effective.
And part of that is to focus on the objectives and to avoid unnecessary
collateral damage. And that's what we're attempting to do.
MR. SHEA: Doug, please.
Q General Clark, could you just tell us what the Yugoslav
military's activities and operations in Kosovo. are like right now?
Are they doing very much? Are they fighting the UCK, are they chasing
people around, or are they hunkering down? Could you just describe what
they're up to?
GEN. CLARK: The Yugoslav military now, we believe, number along with
the Police at least 40,000. They have been reinforced in the last three
or four days by an influx of newly mobilized reservists to replace combat
casualties. And they've also been reinforced by the continuing assistance
and movement of elements from the Yugoslav Second Army, which is based
in Montenegro They're fighting over the border. They're principally
engaged in three things:
First, in working against the elements of the UCK, who are still present
in many locations in Kosovo. and still offering resistance;
Secondly, in trying to maneuver and otherwise manipulate the large numbers
of internally displaced people in conjunction -- they're working in
conjunction, I would add, with the special Police and with the paramilitaries.
It's not clear to us at this point precisely what the aim of this activity
is, but we know they're engaged in it;
And third, they're attempting to build and strengthen defensive positions
along the borders in anticipation of NATO attacks or to block infiltration
from the UCK.
But I might tell you what they are also doing is, whenever the weather
is good, whenever there are NATO Aircraft., they are stationary and
hidden. They are knocking down the walls of houses, backing into the
forests, getting under haystacks and generally ceasing all action whenever
we are in the area, because they very much fear what NATO air is doing
to them. And we are doing something to them there. And so the pace of
their activities has been appreciably affected.
MR. SHEA: Luc (SP), please?
Q General Clark, are we able to hear my question in French or with the
GEN. CLARK: We are going to have a what?
MR. SHEA: The question in French, SACEUR.
GEN. CLARK: Okay.
MR. SHEA: There's a -- if you need the -- (word inaudible).
GEN. CLARK: But you'll have to help me with this.
MR. SHEA: (Laughs.) (In French) "Avec plaisir."
GEN. CLARK: Okay. Go ahead.
MR. SHEA: (In French)
Q (In French)
(Pause for translation.)
GEN. CLARK: Well, the question is are we going to attack this White
Palace? And it is a palace that has been used for ceremonial purposes.
It is quite old, and there is a Rembrandt apparently, in it. And it's
a palace that a lot of us have been in, in the past.
I am not going to hypothesize about what targets will or won't be struck.
But I would tell you that, with respect to the attack on his residence,
that residence was also a command-and-control facility that was part
of the command-and-control structure in Yugoslavia And it is for that
reason that it was struck.
MR. SHEA: Okay. David? David Shipman (SP), please?
Q General, David Shipman (SP) from the BBC; a couple of
questions, if I may?
You say Milosevic is losing. But five weeks on, are you any
closer to knowing when he might give in?
And secondly, a specific; we have been hearing about new countries,
such as Romania., offering the right of overflight. How much more convenient
would it be if an EU member, namely Austria, granted overflight rights,
lying as it does between key NATO air bases in Germany and the theater
GEN. CLARK: Well, what we are doing is we are systematically taking
apart President Milosevic's structure and power. I can't give you a
prediction on how long he is going to endure this kind of punishment.
I am sure he is stunned by many features of the Campaign thus far, including
the fact that NATO, as an alliance, has been extremely cohesive. And
you saw the results of the summit meeting.
And so I think that it's not just the military impact of the bombing;
it's the isolation, it's the lack of support from the
outside. And it is the recognition that, in this Campaign, NATO can't
lose and he can't win; that's going to drive the course of the air Campaign
Obviously, the sooner he comes to full recognition of what the future
holds and makes terms with it, the better off it's going to be for him
and for the people of Serbia But we've said from the outset this was
going to be a long and sustained Campaign and that ultimately it would
continue, subject to political guidance, for as long as President Milosevic
needed it to continue.
GEN. CLARK: Austria is a neutral country. It's not a member of NATO
It does in certain cases permit overflight. In certain cases it doesn't.
Those are matters for the sovereign decision of Austria
MR. SHEA: (Thomas ?), please.
Q Two questions, General, if I may. One is on the crash of
the Apaches in Tirana. What will be the impact of the combatting, the
Apaches? And second, one of the conditions to stop the bombardment,
that Milosevic has to withdraw his troops from Kosovo. If the supply
routes are damaged, how would he be able if he wants to do that?
GEN. CLARK: Well, first of all, with respect to pulling out of Kosovo.,
if the supply routes are so damaged that he can't get his heavy equipment
out there, I'm sure we can make arrangements. He needs to start his
troops moving out of Kosovo. And he can park the heavy equipment there
at the last bridge site and walk off from it and head back into the
rest of Serbia And I'm sure we'll be able to verify that. So that will
be no problem.
The first question was?
Q The Apaches.
GEN. CLARK: The Apaches. We're on track with the preparation for the
MR. SHEA: Okay. A couple of final questions because SACEUR, I know,
has to leave at 6:00. So let's go to John Dalberg (SP).
Q General, two questions from the Los Angeles Times. First, could you
return to the question of desertions and tell us how serious you think
that's becoming for the Yugoslav army and how you know this? Is it the
people that you mentioned who are coming into Bosnia., for example,
who are your major source? And I'd like to go back to the -- I know
you've cautioned us against wanting to do bean counting of bombing damage
assessment, but you've been very specific about the damage that you
think has been done to the air defense system and to the Yugoslav air
force, but very vague about what you called the mounting personnel and
material losses in Kosovo. Could you explain to us what's been done
GEN. CLARK: Well, with respect to the desertions, we have a number of
sources on that, including interviews with people and other sources.
And I think it's a -- it is a significant problem. It's, right now,
not a crushing problem, but it is a significant problem, and I think
we'll see more of that in the weeks to come.
With respect to the ground forces and what we've done to them, the reason
we're avoiding any specific bean-counting on the ground forces is because
without being there on the ground, it's very difficult to give reliable
information. We see the tanks that we've struck, we've shown you some
pictures of some trucks that we've hit. I'm sure that those are destroyed.
But as I indicated, he's bringing in reinforcements continually from
2nd Army and others, and so if you actually added up what's there, you
might, on any given day, if one could do this, you might actually find
out that he's strengthened his forces in there. And that's going to
be a phenomenon until we can further cut the lines of supply and go
more intensively against his forces. We intend to be able to do that
as we bring in more assets and as the weather clears, obviously, we're
going to have a much greater impact on him.
MR. SHEA: Okay. And for this afternoon, a final question is to Dirk
Koch (SP) of Der Spiegel.
Q General, excuse me that I ask again about Apache helicopters. You,
as an Army general, should really know why are they so slow in deploying
these helicopters? Is there any other reason than logistic reason? Is
there a political reason for?
GEN. CLARK: No, there are no political reasons why they have taken that
long to deploy. On the other hand, by all historical standards, it's
a pretty rapid deployment. That's a force package that was put together
in Germany It flew into a single airfield in Tirana simultaneous with
a major Humanitarian crisis which flooded the airport with Refugee flights
and Humanitarian efforts.
And so we didn't want to turn off the Humanitarian assistance while
we brought the Apaches in. And it coincided with a spell of some pretty
miserable weather. I'm sure you've seen the pictures of Tirana. And
so a little bit of ground work had to be done to sustain the troops.
But I think by any standard it's still been a fairly rapid
deployment. And I can tell you that there wasn't anything other than
military logistics and common sense planning and execution holding up
this deployment. It certainly wasn't held up for any political reasons.
MR. SHEA: SACEUR, thanks very much.