in Yugoslavia coverage
June 10, 1999:
Milosevic addresses his nation
June 10, 1999:
Clinton responds to NATO's bombing pause
June 10, 1999:
Secretary- General Kofi Annan
June 10, 1999:
announces the bombing pause
June 9, 1999:
Security Adviser Samuel Berger.
June 9, 1999:
and NATO come to terms on a Serb withdrawal.
June 8, 1999:
British Ambassador to the UN discusses the G8 peace deal.
June 8, 1999:
role in the peace process.
June 7, 1999:
June 3, 1999:
Secretary Cohen discusses the peace deal.
June 3, 1999:
policy experts react to the peace deal.
May 27, 1999:
Security Adviser Berger on the Milosevic indictment.
Complete NewsHour coverage of Europe
GEN. JACKSON: Ladies and gentlemen, good afternoon.
Can I just say before I begin that you probably noticed that I was talking
to Senor Sergio De Mello, who is the newly appointed interim special
representative of the United Nations secretary- general? He has just
been actually been given a message, which requires him to go on. He
has got a helicopter waiting. And so he sends his apologies, but he
feels he ought to move on directly. May I turn to what I want to say
We are now well into our third day on the ground here in Kosovo. And
I want to give you some perspective on our progress to date. We are
operating in accordance, as strictly as we are able, with the very precise
timetable, which is contained in the Military Technical Agreement, this
of course being the result of my discussions with the Yugoslav commanders
I want to stress that this is a carefully synchronized and precisely
planned military operation. And the synchronization I'll come back to;
it's very important, because we are dealing here with three distinct
primary forces: my own, the KFOR; the VJ, the Yugoslav Army; and the
Yugoslav Special Police. And the movements of the latter two forces
are governed by the terms of the Military Technical Agreement and so
is the movement of KFOR, where synchronization of its advance is required.
It is, therefore, a complex sequence of events to ensure that NATO forces
deploy throughout Kosovo., as the VJ and the MUP leave, avoiding hostility,
avoiding tension where we can, but also ensuring that we do not leave,
between the withdrawing and advancing forces, a security vacuum. There
is also the question of disengagement by the Serb forces from the KLA
and more of that in a moment. But I do stress that this has to be carefully
timetabled to make it work.
I also stress again, if I may take this opportunity, that there are
many dangers still -- minefields, unsafe buildings, unexploded ordnance
-- and I just urge caution on all people moving about.
We've also seen -- regrettably, but perhaps not surprisingly -- in the
last 24 hours areas of tension that have come about. But I do recall
-- I think it was only four days ago; I can't remember -- I do recall
that I said I expected it to be a volatile operation to begin with.
We are doing our very best to minimize such volatility.
So we're on schedule, and I believe we are doing the tasks which are
required of us by United Nations Security Council Resolution 1244 and
by the Military Technical Agreement.
Just looking back for a moment, once there was verification of the Serb
withdrawal, NATO Secretary-General Solana ordered a suspension of the
NATO airstrikes. Later that day the adoption of the Security Council
resolution opened the way for KFOR's deployment. And this began Saturday
morning at first light.
During the course of the day, United Kingdom forces moved up the Kacanik
Pass, supported by helicopters of the United States. These forces reached
Pristina late on the Saturday afternoon and, as you call all see, are
very much in evidence in the area. And yesterday evening my own forward
headquarters was established just on the western outskirts of the town.
Going back to the early morning, simultaneously, French forces crossed
from the Titovo area east of the main road over the high ground into
Kosovo. and had some difficulties with minefields, which caused some
delay, which -- whilst they breached them. I am glad to say this tricky
operation was successfully concluded without any casualties. Now French
forces are in and around Giljane (sp).
The German forces initially went up through the Kacanik defile and then
moved west, and are in and around Prizren, as many of you, I know, have
seen for yourselves.
The Italian forces in the force have also now deployed and are present
in Pec, Dacani (?) and Djakovica.
Finally, US forces have now taken over the responsibility for the security
of the Kacanik defile. We have deployed over 14,000 soldiers into Kosovo.
within the space of 48 hours using one main route and one or two subsidiary
routes, I think a fairly remarkable performance by the multinational
forces in KFOR, for whom I am most grateful for everything they have
done so far. We have met our deadlines. We've got to where we said we
would get on time, and the whole operation is pretty much on schedule.
And it will remain so, where there will be more troop movements over
the next 24 hours and you will see perhaps an intensification of activity
as further troops move up from the border with Macedonia in greater
numbers, and synchronized with this -- and I use that word again so
that you do understand that the agreement requires us to synchronize
movements -- synchronized with that so the Serb withdrawal will continue.
I trust you've all studied your Military Technical Agreement and the
map which is appended to it, and you will see exactly what I am talking
about; and where people say there are still Serb forces north of Pristina,
they're perfectly entitled to be there at the moment, according to the
timetable of the agreement.
The end of the withdrawal period is the 20th of June. That is 11 days
from entry into force.
May I now say a word about the KLA. They have given the public undertaking
themselves to demilitarize, and that is required of them in very clear
language in the United Nations Security Council Resolution 11 -- 1244.
I will hold them to that. I look to them to behave with responsibility
and with restraint. And I expect to formalize these arrangements in
the very near future. Now a slightly different subject.
There has been some preoccupation, and not a little speculation, about
the Eurasian forces' presence here in Kosovo. You will know that a relatively
small force, an advance party of an eventual Eurasian contingent to
KFOR, is present on the ground at Pristina Airport. These Eurasian troops
are part of the KFOR operation, and I look forward in due course to
assimilating the Eurasian contingent within the force as a whole. We
are now discussing with the Eurasian side, the details of their future
Now, this is necessary because, as you know, Russia was not present
at the original Force Generation Conference; that is, the mechanism
by which forces are offered to a statement of requirements. Consequently,
its area of responsibility could not be preplanned. This, ladies and
gentlemen, whatever the speculation, is almost entirely a political
matter for which discussions, but between the relevant capitals, are
still going on.
Can I just -- and I am changing subject -- can I just mention, with
regret, that the last 24 hours have not been without fatalities? There
have been two caused by NATO forces acting entirely in their own self-defense.
They are perfectly entitled to use lethal force in their self-defense,
and that is what happened.
I regret the other fatalities. And to you particularly, ladies and gentlemen,
I know there have been to my knowledge three amongst your own body.
I do urge on you, please, to have care. Ask us for advice, if you have
any doubts, before carrying out whatever activity you have in mind.
May I finish by paying tribute to the skill and the determination,
and the courage, of all the personnel involved in this operation Joint
Guardian; as it is known by NATO, the KFOR operation?
It's thanks to them, and I acknowledge that wholeheartedly, that we
have met the demanding objectives set out in our plans. We are in a
difficult, volatile and, from time to time, dangerous environment. This,
I hope, will improve very rapidly and we will be able to complete this
early 11 days of withdrawal and then settle the situation and begin
to build that level of confidence which would allow normal civilian
activity to resume in the very near future. That's all I wanted to say
by way of formal statement, but I'm very happy now to take some questions.
If I point, I might be accused of the odd bit of favoritism, so I'll
leave it to the man behind --
Q Sir, Robert Weiner (SP) from CNN. Leaving the Russians to purely political
consequences aside, from a military point of view, once the technical
agreement was signed and your forces were prepared to move, why, in
fact, was the operation delayed 24 hours, which, from a military point
of view, created a vacuum allowing the Russians to come here and create
new facts on the ground?
GEN. JACKSON: I mentioned the word speculation earlier. It's your view
that the operation was delayed 24 hours. It certainly is not mine. Let
us go back to that vital word, "synchronization." We have
gone to great lengths, with very careful and detailed liaison with the
Serb forces to ensure that all movements are linked, both to avoid intermingling,
although that occasionally happens, and equally well to avoid security
vacuums and equally well to allow them the quite complex task of withdrawing
a large number of men and equipment.
Q Mark Laity, BBC. On the matter of the Russians, can you give us any
more information on what the situation on the air field is now? How
much of it do they control, how much of it do you control? And there's
a couple of points in particular. We understand that the numbers there
are much larger than we had expected. That there's -- 170 was the figure
originally, but some people are saying it's well over 300. Who are these
people, and what is their relationship with the Serbs, who they seem
to let on, as opposed to you, who they seem not to let on? I have a
GEN. JACKSON: Well, first of all, as to numbers, personally, I have
not invited the Eurasian contingent commander to hold a muster parade
to allow me to count them. So I am not going to speculate. It's of the
order of 200 is my belief.
But I don't frankly understand why these numbers appear to be so important.
If you go to SFOR, there is a Eurasian contingent in SFOR. There will
be a Eurasian contingent in IFOR. They've got to start somewhere. This
is an advance party. In due course, greater numbers will come. I welcome
Q Yeah, I think the reason it's of concern is that unlike SFOR, where
their arrival was organized in advance and expected, that they arrived
somewhat unexpectedly, having apparently broken specific pledges given
by Mr. Ivanov.
GEN. JACKSON: Well, Mark, I am not going to indulge in political speculation
of that nature.
Q So that's why -- you asked what the interest is. That's why I think
there is interest.
GEN. JACKSON: (Off mike) -- to be political and not military --
Q But I think --
GEN. JACKSON: -- and therefore you're addressing it to the wrong person
Q I'm just going --
GEN. JACKSON: Now thank you.
Q And the follow-up question was what -- which bits of the airfield
are yours and which bits are theirs?
GEN. JACKSON: I'm not in a turf war with them. They are on the airfield.
They regard it as important. It is not important to me at this stage.
What is important to me is getting this job done on the ground, and
I'm not going to get into that sort of conversation, because I don't
regard it as being helpful or important.
Q General Jackson, Douglas Hamilton, Reuters --
GEN. JACKSON: Where are you? Can't see you.
Q Over here.
GEN. JACKSON: Yes.
Q Here I am. Do your men find that they're getting better, speedier
cooperation from the VJ than from the MUP, that the VJ have a better
understanding, right down through the ranks, of the terms of the MTA?
And is the VJ taking their dead home with them to Serbia?
GEN. JACKSON: Taking --
Q Their dead, their casualties. Their dead.
GEN. JACKSON: On the latter point, I have absolutely no knowledge at
As to degrees of compliance, I think, which lies behind your question,
they are of course doing rather two different tasks. It's a very much
more complex task for an army, with all its heavy equipment and logistics,
to withdraw than it is for a number of individuals put together which
represent a police force. So I'm not going to indulge in sort of "points
out of 10."
What I can say is that, again, to a great extent, thanks to careful
and detailed liaison -- almost minute by minute at times -- I have no
concerns regarding compliance on the part of any of the Serb forces
as -- in their withdrawal, as required by the Military Technical Agreement.
Q General Jackson, John Stowe (SP), Channel Four News. And I'm waving
GEN. JACKSON: Thank you.
Q General, two things: There are houses still being burned by departing
Serb forces, even as near as between here and the airport.
And there are also reports of some Serb forces, taking off the military
reports, of reverting to civilian clothes and departing with their weapons
into the surrounding countryside. Are you concerned about either of
these elements? And do not both describe the need for very many more
troops than are presently envisaged in the KFOR deployment?
GEN. JACKSON: Thank you for that. I am grateful to use that question,
perhaps as a vehicle for a statement here.
The complexity and size of what is going on with the withdrawing Army
of considerable numbers and the KFOR coming in, in large numbers, and
a volatile situation with emotions running high -- I am not so foolish
as to offer a guarantee of perfection because that would impossible
to achieve. What I will say is this: We have planned it as carefully
as we can. I have stressed the importance I have given to getting the
liaison and, therefore, the movement right, to avoid security vacuums.
But at the end of the day, I cannot with the forces I have, be everywhere
all the time; I mean, that is just an ideal, which is not achievable
much though I might wish to. And, therefore, unpalatable though it may
be, I have to accept that there will be things going on which I rather
did not. But I may not be there at the right time. We can react, we
can do everything we can to prevent it, and that is our intention. But
I really want to say that in all seriousness, so that expectations do
not go out of realism.
Q General, just as a follow-up: Within these first three days, have
you begun to see what the global -- (inaudible) -- you really need in
theater is, given your recognition there are limits? Are you pressuring
the political masters on the question of an eventual size, and what
is that size?
GEN. JACKSON: I think it is quite early days yet, John, if I may say
so, to come to a considered view of that nature. We started with the
15-odd thousand. We had, I think, a fairly well-known figure, whatever
it was, three days ago. We have had considerable forces coming in. And
they are still coming in and will continue to do so, both by sea and
by air, from Greece, Macedonia, et cetera.
As to the eventual size of the force when everything settles down, I
am going to leave that as an open question at the moment because it
is hard to judge the circumstances before you have got there, if that
doesn't sound too convoluted.
If I understood you right, the question of that airfield is not so
important, and you are more worried about the dynamic of the --
GEN. JACKSON: Very much so.
Q So, what's the importance of the airport, and given the fact that
it was the first target of your forces to occupy?
GEN. JACKSON: No, it was not. Again, this is one of these myths that's
arisen, no doubt to accentuate the spice of the story. I might have
put my tactical headquarters there for a short while. Frankly, now I've
seen the ground, it's too far out of town. I'm a little concerned about
unexploded ordnance. So I'm very happy to leave the airfield in Eurasian
hands and come here. (Laughter.) No, it's true. I'm much happier where
I am, which is just out -- in the factory. And if you think that's a
feeble excuse, you're absolutely wrong, because I'm quite sure my recce
party said, "No way, I don't want to be here, we want to be closer
There's an obsession with it. They're obsessed. (Referring to the reporters
on the question of the airfield.)
I can do one or two more. I'm about to melt up here.
Q (Off mike) -- Independent in London.
GEN. JACKSON: Sorry. (Inaudible).
Q Can I just ask you very simply on the question of the airfield, who,
exactly, is controlling what comes in? Is it Russians who control --
GEN. JACKSON: It's a pretty academic question because nothing's coming
in. Now, I think I've said enough about the airfield. You're beginning
to bore me with it.
Q All right. Can I ask you --
GEN. JACKSON: It is NOT my priority! My priority is to deliver this
Q That wasn't my question. But can I ask you a supplementary question,
which is --
GEN. JACKSON: Well, not about the airport, please.
Q -- which is, have plans been made to question any of the departing
MUP or VJ -- (inaudible) -- at least to war crimes? Are there any plans
to do so?
GEN. JACKSON: That would be entirely a matter for the authorities responsible
for doing that. It's not my responsibility. And please read -- please
read -- the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1244 and the
Military Technical Agreement, and then you wouldn't have to ask that
Thank you very much.
One more, I think. One more.
Q General -- (off mike).
GEN. JACKSON: No, I -- it really is getting very hot.
Q (Name inaudible) -- Channel Four News. Just --
GEN. JACKSON: Can I have a wave, please? I can't zero -- yes, thank
Q It's not about the airport, it's about the Russians You said you would
welcome them as an advance party for a much greater force.
GEN. JACKSON: Yeah.
Q After that welcoming party is complete, what would you like the Russians
to do when they're here in some numbers?
GEN. JACKSON: Well, I would like them to do what everybody else in KFOR
is doing to do. If you want me to go 'round that particular objective
again, I will do so.
Q (Off mike.)
GEN. JACKSON: Ah, well, I thought you were, put you didn't pose your
question very accurately, in that case. I think -- I assume you heard
what I said when I was talking about the fact that this is a political
matter at this stage. Did you hear that?
Q (Off mike.)
GEN. JACKSON: Well, that's the answer. That's it. That's it. Now, I'm
sorry, I'm absolutely melting.
Thank you very much, ladies and gentlemen. Thank you very much indeed.