JAMIE SHEA: Ladies and Gentlemen, good afternoon, welcome to today's
Last night, as you know, NATO carried out an extensive and effective
series of attacks against the Yugoslav ground forces in Kosovo. NATO
struck several armoured vehicles, also near Pristina artillery positions,
as well as troops and vehicles. We also struck at troops and vehicles,
and again artillery, near Suva Reka and east of Urosevac. But last night
we concentrated our efforts notably in the western part of Kosovo, attacking
troops, armour and artillery west of Djakovica and all the way south
Now these attacks, together with those of yesterday, show that we are
focusing now with success on those who are responsible for the killing.
Those who once did all of the heavy shooting are now on the receiving
end. Instead of hounding, they are being hounded, and this is the way
it will continue until President Milosevic and his regime accept the
five conditions of the international community: stop the killing; pull
out your forces; allow an international security force; let the refugees
go home; and agree to negotiate seriously.
President Milosevic and his regime in Belgrade haven't yet agreed to
recognise and respect those five key demands. But at least President
Milosevic has begun to recognise reality. He said yesterday, on the
eve of Yugoslavia's Security Day - a strange title in today's circumstances
- that "many members of the security forces bravely gave their lives
and their sacrifice and this is a bright example of their heroism and
loyalty to their people and fatherland". So President Milosevic at least
now is acknowledging that his forces have paid and are paying a heavy
price for their activities in Kosovo. This is one of his statements
which is undoubtedly true.
But I would like to emphasise that all of those Yugoslav soldiers did
not have to leave their lives in Kosovo. Milosevic had many opportunities
to settle this crisis peacefully. Even his adversaries - the Kosovo
Liberation Army - agreed to bury the war hatchet and they signed the
Rambouillet peace agreement. But to paraphrase Frank Sinatra, President
Milosevic preferred to settle it his way. If he had not done so, those
Yugoslav soldiers would be alive today, so their bravery and sacrifice
are more an exercise in futility than in loyalty and patriotism. Thousands
of statesmen, diplomats and politicians wanted a peaceful solution to
this crisis. One man did not.
At the same time today NATO's leaders are out and about reaffirming
their commitment and NATO's commitment to this operation and to our
non-negotiable key objectives. President Chirac is in Moscow meeting
with the Russian leadership and engaging Russia in the diplomatic process,
and he will be speaking from Moscow shortly. Prime Minister Blair, receiving
the Charlemagne Prize at Ucken this morning, has delivered a clear message:
"No compromise, no fudge, no half-baked deals". And Prime Minister Jospin,
in introducing Prime Minister Blair this morning said clearly: "That
peace within the European Union is not sufficient if it co-exists with
violence outside the borders of our Union. Let's not be afraid of the
words. Crimes against humanity are being perpetrated in the heart of
Europe." And in a few moments President Clinton in Washington will deliver
a major address on Kosovo at the National Defence University.
Yesterday the Secretary General of NATO, Dr Javier Solana, visited Albania
and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. He spoke to the leaders
of both countries. He expressed NATO's support and appreciation for
their efforts under difficult circumstances. He expressed once again
NATO's solidarity with these neighbouring states and said that NATO
would not allow them to be threatened. And he heard from them directly
how much they want and need NATO to be successful in this Kosovo crisis,
not simply so that they can be relieved of their refugee burden, but
also and more importantly, so that they can be stable, secure and successful
democracies without Milosevic's Sword of Damocles of insecurity permanently
dangling over their heads.
The Secretary General engaged them on the ideas that NATO is currently
developing as part of the south east European initiative and the stability
pact to help those countries build a more secure and integrated future.
He also engaged them on the membership action plan which NATO agreed
at the Washington Summit which will help them to prepare more actively
for future NATO membership.
The Secretary General also visited the AFOR and KFOR soldiers, 20,000
in all, in both countries and saw at first hand the very good work that
they are doing to help with the refugee crisis. At the moment AFOR is
building 2,000 refugee places a day. We plan to have 59,000 places by
mid-May and 172,000 by mid-June.
AFOR is also helping to improve Albania's infrastructure, particularly
its roads and its airports and this will help its future economic development.
And in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia there is now surplus
capacity - surplus capacity - for refugees. And the Secretary General
also saw the excellent cooperation between NATO and the lead agency,
the UNHCR, and we have asked Commander Maltinti to come back today and
brief you in detail in a moment on these humanitarian efforts.
But finally, and perhaps most significantly, the Secretary General visited
two refugee centres, Elbason in Albania and Segrane in the Former Yugoslav
Republic of Macedonia. The Secretary General assured the refugees that
NATO would create the conditions for them to go home. They all expressed
their support for NATO's air campaign. They all said that NATO's five
conditions are their five conditions. And as you saw on TV, they chanted
"NATO, NATO" as the Secretary General went through the camps.
As the Secretary General was leaving Segrane yesterday evening, one
old man came up to him and said that he had been hiding for several
weeks in the mountains of Kosovo to escape the Serb forces. He said
he had seen his family murdered and his home burned. But he told the
Secretary General: "Bomb us. Destroy our houses. Kill our people, if
you must. But whatever you do, do not stop the air campaign. Do not
stop until Milosevic has been defeated." And NATO can say to that man
that we will do all we can not to harm the Kosovar Albanian people,
nor the Serb people for that matter, and we will do all we can not to
destroy their homes. But we will do all we can to stop Milosevic and
to make sure that those people return to their homes.
I would like now to ask General Jertz to give you the operational up-date,
and then Commander Maltinti will brief you on the humanitarian situation.
MAJOR GENERAL WALTER JERTZ: Good Afternoon Ladies and Gentlemen.
The military operations briefing today will include an overview of the
current status of humanitarian operations by Commander Maltinti of SHAPE,
as already mentioned.
Let me start with some more clear words. Despite reports in the Serb
media we have not, repeat we have not, detected any evidence that Serb
ground forces are leaving Kosovo so far. However, we strongly believe
that the effectiveness of our recent air strikes against ground forces
in Kosovo has caused some tactical redeployment in the forward areas,
probably to seek better refuge or to regroup.
Let me now be more specific on what we achieved in the last 24 hours.
Our operations did go on, striking a full range of Serbian ground forces
in Kosovo, particularly in the Prizren, Stimulje, Suva Reka and Junik
areas. Targets included the 211th, the 125th and the 243rd brigades.
We hit armour, revetted vehicles, trucks, artillery and mortars, troops
in the open and a surface to air missile vehicle.
Our operations began with an early morning strike package which successfully
attacked bridges at Milosevo and Olata, military vehicles and armour
near Prizren, a storage tunnel, a Sam 6 site near Prizren, Sam standing
for surface to air missile.
By mid-morning a package including Jaguars, F16s, Harriers, Etendars
and EA6Bs, _ hit numerous targets, including the radio relay station
at Metrovica, an artillery position near Prizren and the Morina highway
Mid-day operations included strikes against petroleum facilities near
Piranum, plus a command post, several tanks and armoured vehicles in
So in summary, this slide shows the targets we struck last night within
Kosovo. We also destroyed five aircraft in the open. It was 1 MiG 21
and 4 Super Galebs, the MiG 21 at Nis airfield and the other 4 on an
airstrip near Prizren.
Co-ordination of our air assets was once again very effective. To give
you an example on that. One of our unmanned reconnaissance vehicles
located a vehicle refuelling point near Prizren. We quickly redirected
a flight of fighters and destroyed the storage area and several fuel
trucks within less than an hour.
In addition to our air operations in Kosovo, we also attacked strategic
targets in Yugoslavia, including Obrva and Patanica airfields, radio
relay sites at Starapazova and Novi Sad, plus others as shown on the
This information was as complete as possible when the briefing began
today. More detailed mission reports of the attacks are still coming
in. I already explained to you about battle damage assessment. We will
up-date you more completely as that information is analysed and made
Air crews report that the air defence activity was relatively low. There
were only 8 surface to air missiles fired. And once again I am very
pleased to report that no Alliance aircraft were lost.
As I have reported to you, we have made great strides in recent days
against Serb forces on the ground, both in Kosovo and against other
targets throughout the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. Indications are
that the positive trend continues today, especially in Kosovo.
Coming now to a very short up-date on numbers, however please bear in
mind what I have said over and over again, numbers as such are not a
very precise indication of combat capability of a unit. The shortages
of food, fuel, ammunition, the latter leading to a decrease and reduction
of morale of the soldiers must also be taken into consideration.
Since my presentation last week concerning the Serbian ground forces
in Kosovo, we told you we had destroyed 306 pieces of heavy equipment.
We have now raised this figure up to 432. We have now struck over 20%
of his critical inventory. Additionally we have in the meantime destroyed
two-thirds of the Serbian ammunition production capacity. In fact, this
image shows a post-strike assessment of the Kacak ammunition production
plant. You will notice significant damage as indicated by the circles.
In particular, please note the absolute destruction of the building
in the upper right of the picture. Our bombs hit the building but the
massive destruction you see is a result of the secondary explosion of
ammunition stocks within the building.
This, Ladies and Gentlemen, concludes my portion of today's operational
briefing and I would now like to introduce and hand over to Commander
Fabrizio Maltinti of the Italian Navy.
COMMANDER FABRIZIO MALTINTI: Thank you Major General. Good Afternoon
Ladies and Gentlemen.
I am happy to tell you that since last time I was standing on this podium,
a great deal of progress was done in the humanitarian relief effort.
As you already know, Alliance troops have continued to try and improve
the quality of life of the refugees. Besides continuing to support the
United Nations High Commission for Refugees, the international organisations
and non-governmental organisations, NATO troops are heavily involved
in other activity such as road repairing, improving airfield capability
and assisting in refugee registration and transportation.
In Albania, NATO troops are currently building 10 cities for about 50,000
refugees, as was just mentioned. This new centre should be ready by
the next month. Furthermore, the Kukes airstrip is now functioning regularly
and military transport aircraft are bringing supplies and equipment
to operate the airstrip on an around the clock the basis.
At present, as was briefed by General Jertz a few days ago, to support
the humanitarian relief operation there is a sizeable force of just
under 7,000 NATO troops in Albania and about 14,000 troops in the Former
Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.
This slide shows the number of refugees and internally displaced persons
in accordance with the UNHCR estimates. In the left corner you can see
the total number of displaced refugees move into the various nations.
Yesterday, 2,586 refugees flew out of third countries and about 1,500
refugees are planned to depart today.
Based on UNHCR refugee reporting it is estimated that approximately
590,000 displaced persons are still hiding inside Kosovo. This slide
shows their concentration. The majority of refugees over the last few
days come from Metrovica. They were among the most traumatised refugees
to cross the border since the crisis began. Virtually all, men, women
and children, were in tears. There were wounded among them, including
young children. The Metrovica refugees had left their homes in a series
of villages anywhere from 4 - 6 weeks ago and they have been wondering
on foot ever since in a mandarin odyssey. They stayed for several weeks
in a village identified as Zablace in the Eastok area. And the group
had walked the last stretch to the border virtually non-stop for three
days. The refugees said as many as 200 men had been taken out of the
column before it reached the border, including some at the village identified
as Landovica near Prizren.
The next slide will give you a better feeling for the refugee flow across
the Kosovo border in the last 6 weeks. Here is represented the day by
day flow into Montenegro, FYROM and Albania. This second chart shows
the total number of refugees entered in the same six weeks.
The next four slides provide the information about the refugee camps
location and situation in both FYROM and Albania. The first slide shows
the location of refugee camps in FYROM. Although the border was opened
in the last days, only a few refugees crossed into FYROM. There are
no signs of refugees waiting to cross from the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia
side. The transit centre of Blace, which normally holds thousands, was
As you can see yesterday 19 flights landed in Skopje, bringing the total
number of aircraft landed up to 526.
Here is the breakdown of the refugee camp occupancy in FYROM. As you
well know, we have prepared plans to help UNHCR to move up to 6,000
refugees from FYROM to Albania. Of course this will depend on the willingness
of those refugees to actually leave and to be resettled in this way.
At the same time we are assisting in the temporary evacuation of refugees
to other countries. They are now leaving, as I said, at the rate of
about 2,000 each day.
I used on purpose the expression "temporary' evacuation to stress the
fact that NATO is determined, in accordance with the UNHCR policy, to
reassure the displaced refugees that they will ultimately all be able
to go back to their homes under international protection.
This slide presents the location of refugee camps in Albania. In Albania
the situation has been stable and supportable during the last week.
Despite a large number of refugees, food supplies are not a problem
and water is sufficient for now. Food stockpiles allowed sustainment
for two months. The Allied Force and the NATO command are now to meet
in their engineer unit and empower to build as many refugee centres
as possible in both western and south Albania with the aim to have the
camps up and running by next month.
As I already mentioned, the engineers unit are also repairing the road
between Puke and Kukes to enable more evacuations from border areas
to take place by road. As you can see yesterday, 20 flights landed in
Tirana, bringing the total number of aircraft up to 773.
Here is the breakdown of the Albanian refugee camp occupancy. The total
number of refugees, including the refugees living at home with Albanian
families. NATO's major concern is that some of these camps, Koce for
example, are in exposed sites above 3,000 feet. If these sites remain
tented they will be unsuitable during the winter. NATO and UNHCR are
working together to decide how to best solve this problem.
You may recall the great confusion we had in both FYROM and Albania
when the massive refugee exodus started a few weeks ago. I am happy
to show you the next picture to demonstrate how the quality of life,
while not perfect, has improved. This is a picture of the camp of Quatron
This is the Grane camp. On this Grane camp picture it is interesting
to note the two expansion areas which once built will bring the camp
capacity up to 40,000 refugees capacity. And talking about Segrane,
Segrane was one of the two camps visited yesterday by the Secretary
General. A few moments ago I was with the Secretary General who told
me how impressed he was by the close relationship among the UNHCR, more
than 20 NGO organisations and NATO, all led by a German General, to
help the 30,000 refugees that they have there now.
This is the camp of Bojana and this is Stenkovac One camp.
This last slide shows the principal humanitarian aid delivered in both
FYROM and Albania. By the way, I obtained this picture from UNHCR. The
total amount of humanitarian aid imported into countries is up to 4,528
tons of food and water, 1,568 tons of medical supplies, 2,302 tons of
tentage and 3,249 tons of other equipment, for a total of 11,447 tons.
As you know, humanitarian aid convoys that alleviate IDP suffering are
now moving into Kosovo, day after day and increasing in number. There
were 14 of them yesterday. Two days ago one of you asked about their
safety. Let me explain. In these current hostilities these convoys travel
under risky conditions. However NATO, in co-ordination with the UNHCR
and the Intentional Committee of the Red Cross, has put in place the
mechanics to make every possible effort to minimise this risk to them.
This co-ordination, which will soon be finalised, involves guidance
on such issues as advance notification, the _ route and itineraries,
number and type of vehicle and details of overnight location.
This concludes my brief, Ladies and entlemen. Thank you for your kind
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
REPORTER: Jamie, you mentioned earlier that Javier Solana had received
this account from an old ethnic Albanian man that he had watched his
family die. Do you think that NATO would have been able to stop the
deaths of more Kosovars had they committed ground troops to Yugoslavia
instead of depending on an air campaign which until now has clearly
JAMIE SHEA: Matthew, when you get somebody like Milosevic who is determined
to do this, who has got his forces in Kosovo, who has been building
them up for a while, who is without scruple, it is difficult in the
short term to stop this type of thing happening but the most important
thing is not to allow it to happen in the long run and that is what
we are doing.
I don't believe that ground forces would have avoided the ethnic cleansing
that we have seen at the moment, it would have taken a long time to
get those ground forces ready, Milosevic would have seen those forces
arrive and would probably have carried on his ethnic cleansing but what
is happening is that now he is paying a price for the ethnic cleansing,
his troops are paying a price which was not the case before and secondly,
we are clear that the refugees, those who have been thrown out, are
going to go home, it is going to be reversed, Milosevic is not going
to get away with it. This situation is purely temporary, it is not the
future of Kosovo what we are seeing at the moment. The future of Kosovo
is that the Kosovars will be able to live in their homeland and I believe
that Milosevic knows that. If he would acknowledge it and agree to the
five conditions, then of course we would be able to settle this crisis
immediately. But we are not going to give up, we are going to keep on
going for these people to go home so their exile, no matter how bitter,
is a temporary exile and that is what the Secretary General made clear
to them yesterday when he visited them in the refugee camps.
REPORTER: Jamie, I noticed that in the humanitarian briefing a reference
was made to the plight of refugees during the winter in their camps
in Albania. Is NATO planning on achieving its military and political
objectives some time this year so that the refugees might be returned
before the winter or is NATO contemplating an open-ended operation that
could extend into next year with the refugees possibly being returned
next spring or summer?
JAMIE SHEA: Well Michael, we want to get those refugees back as soon
as possible but the timing is going to depend on Milosevic, he is going
to have to decide at which point he wants to accept the five conditions.
Is he going to do it, as General Jertz has said, with a quarter of his
equipment and armed forces in Kosovo now suffering serious damage? Is
he going to wait for it to be 50 per cent? Does he want it to be 75
per cent or does he want his whole army to be destroyed? It is up to
him really to decide at which stage he is going to accept the five conditions.
What he does know is that NATO is not going to give up, we are going
to keep going.
We have shown already, Michael, that we are perfectly able to deal with
the situation of the refugees. We have built tents, as you could see
on the briefing; we have made them comfortable, we have rebuilt roads,
we have evacuated them to safer areas in conjunction with the UNHCR;
we have set up sanitation facilities and by the way, it is not just
winter, the summer is also a difficult time for refugees if you lack
proper sanitation, if you have an outbreak of disease and therefore
a great part of the NATO operation is the "medivac" type of operation
of setting up field hospitals and medical centres. The idea that winter
is a bad time for refugees but every other time is fine - which of course
you are not saying - is not right. Every time is a bad time if you are
a refugee so clearly we want to get those people back as soon as we
No, we are not thinking in terms of a long drawn-out operation. The
pressure is building on Milosevic, I can't say when he's going to give
in but he won't take too long, I'm certain of that.
REPORTER: General Jertz, you said - I think if I heard you right - 306
heavy vehicles in your last briefing and now 432. Could you be specific
what you mean by "heavy vehicles" and where, is it just Kosovo or a
wider area than that?
Jamie, we have had now several nights without any attacks on Belgrade.
Is there any significance because I know there have been doubts before
but this is a long gap? You have emphasised very heavily President Milosevic's
personal culpability for what is going on and does this raise the question
as to whether you should be going more for leadership targets, him,
where you can? I know it is difficult to find an individual but to be
going for leadership targets which you don't seem to be going for in
the way that you were?
MAJOR GENERAL WALTER JERTZ: Let me re-emphasise again that in the last
no more than seven days we really were very successful in hitting many
more assets on the ground in Kosovo and that is why the numbers did
go up the way I already explained. Out of the 432 pieces of Serb heavy
equipment, when I say "heavy equipment" I am talking artillery and tanks
and these are the ones which we really are planning to attack which
we want to destroy because they are the most important and the most
dangerous ones because they give shelter and make sure that the military
police and also the paramilitaries are able to carry on and that is
why we do have to continue to attack those too.
REPORTER: When you say "tanks", you don't mean armoured personnel carriers
or other vehicle, just tanks and armour?
MAJOR GENERAL WALTER JERTZ: Tanks and very heavy stuff. You know, there
is also some very heavy stuff like personnel carriers which look pretty
much like tanks and they can shoot, they do have a cannon unfortunately.
JAMIE SHEA: Mark, three things to say in reply to your question. The
first thing is that we have not changed the target list in any way,
all of the categories remain on the target list but I repeat that we
have not by any means attacked cities like Belgrade every night of this
operation. The decision on what is the priority of the day or the night
is in the hands of the military commanders and if you have already severely
damaged or destroyed the Ministry of Defence or the MUP headquarters
in Belgrade once, you don't have to do it twice, it is done already
that is clear but the targets remain the same, as I have said, on all
of these occasions. Any facility which is being actively used to plan,
conduct the military activities in Kosovo won't be a sanctuary and is
a legitimate target so I would not read any interpretation into that.
On the other hand, we have also made clear that we want to put the emphasis
on those who are doing the killing. Obviously we want to try to stop
that as soon as we can and of course you have seen therefore a notable
intensification of strikes against the forces on the ground in Kosovo,
the sharp end of the operation because we have already very seriously,
through the strategic targets, disrupted the lines of communication,
the fuel supplies, the communications, the air defence system and all
the rest so we won't neglect those other targets but I think over the
coming days you will see as much emphasis as possible on the forces
inside Kosovo itself.
As for the leadership issue, I did notice that the Chief Prosecutor
at the War Crimes Tribunal, Louise Arbour, said the other day that when
she starts her investigations into the war crimes she will not start
from the bottom up, which was a little bit what the International Tribunal
did in investigating Bosnia war crimes, but she will start from the
top down this time round. And of course, as I have said already, we
do not target individuals but we target the leadership complex, the
power structure which is of course responsible for the activities of
the armed forces and that will continue to be the policy.
REPORTER: Jamie, I am told that there will be reports in the German
press tomorrow, reliable reports, that the German government of Chancellor
Schroder is not satisfied with the explanation given by Washington that
the Chinese embassy was purely a map error and that Germany now believes
that the maps were indeed up-to-date and did show the embassy and I
think NATO is aware that Schroder is worried about this. Is it possible
that one of the allies is not sharing full information with the others
at this point and is that not a danger when you may be reaching an end-game
in which keeping your nerve and your unity is everything?
JAMIE SHEA: Doug, let me make it clear that it is not simply the German
government that shares the concern about the mistake with the Chinese
embassy, I can assure you that Germany is not alone in that respect,
all allies felt exactly the same way about this incident and all allies
have listened to SACEUR, who was here during the week, explain the circumstances
of the mistake and also explain in detail the procedures which have
been put in place to revise the targeting database, to look again at
the intelligence-collection cycle, to ensure that that type of mistake
does not happen again so SACEUR has briefed the ambassadors. Of course,
every country has a right to ask for more information and I can assure
you that that information is shared among all of the allies but the
important thing is that we have acknowledged the mistake, we have identified
the mistake and we have taken the necessary steps to ensure that it
doesn't happen again.
REPORTER: To pick up on the winter question, I would like to ask a question
of Commander Maltinti. Could you bring us up to speed a little bit on
strictly the elements at play here? Let's say that there was a settlement
made within the next three weeks, what will it take to get these people
back and from the planning point of view what is the likelihood that
a large number of them will actually still be in Albania or in Macedonia
once the snow starts to fly?
COMMANDER FABRIZIO MALTINTI: First of all, as Dr. Shea says, we hope
that when the snow starts to fly they will be all back in Kosovo and
the fact that they would be back in Kosovo doesn't solve the problem
because we know that their houses have been destroyed so we have to
take care of this winterisation in Kosovo too.
The planning has about started with UNHCR and NATO, I do not have the
exact details of this planning but we will come back to you as soon
as we have something concrete on this subject.
JAMIE SHEA: As the Commander says, a great part of the job is going
to be winterisation in Kosovo. As you know, many of these homes have
been destroyed, the rooves have been blown off, the windows have been
damaged as we found in Bosnia and therefore the UNHCR does have a programme
of providing basic materials to construct temporary rooves and so on
so that at least families can go back and live in their homes even during
the difficult winter months so the problem is not confined to the situation
REPORTER: I don't know who can answer this question but one of you maybe.
We have been hearing reports - I don't know if I have read them or heard
them - about specific coloured tents, blue UN tents, if they exist,
being used in Kosovo by the Yugoslav Army to disguise armour and heavy
artillery and I wanted to know has NATO dropped any equipment like that
for the refugees that may have been picked up by the military or have
there been any attempts to fly supplies, tents or anything like that
JAMIE SHEA: I can have an initial crack at that and perhaps there will
be some other comments as well. First of all, no, NATO hasn't performed
any air drops thus far. There are plans, as you know Patricia, for various
organisations like the Focus Group - Switzerland, Russia, Greece and
some other organisations - to try air drops but the arrangements have
not yet been specified and none of those flights have yet been carried
I haven't heard about this story of the blue UN tents but of course
we know that the Serbs are a clever bunch when it comes to the tactics
of disguise and deception. As General Jertz has been telling you for
days now, we know of them trying to camouflage their tanks or hide them
in houses, they have been mixing their own troop convoys with refugees
convoys in another attempt to throw us of the scent, if I can use that
term. They are clever, they are crafty, they have been involved in wars
in their own country more or less non-stop since 1991 and so they have
got a lot of experience at this game but we can play cat and mouse too
and the fact that, as General Jertz has said, we have hit a number of
so-called riveted positions, in other words when tanks have been disguised
and dug-in, means that we can search them out but I don't know anything
about blue tents. I will comment on that if I see anything on that.
JAMIE SHEA: I think on the question of the effectiveness thus far that
is for General Jertz and Commander Maltinti, do you want to answer the
question about the refugee camps?
MAJOR GENERAL WALTER JERTZ: On the military side, let me re-emphasise
again that the numbers we have already mentioned are more than 25 per
cent critical heavy inventory hits so far, thus they have lost, including
the latest update of aircraft today, almost about 40 per cent of their
air assets; they have lost two-thirds of their munition products and
capability; they have lost half of all their ammunition storage sites
and that means that the destruction is really very heavy on them. Of
course, once again you know that we cannot go into numbers and figures
about how many days it will really last until he finally stops. He can
stop the war today if he wants to, Milosevic, by just grabbing the telephone
- and here it is!
JAMIE SHEA: Commander, do you have anything on the question of the camps?
COMMANDER FABRIZIO MALTINTI: I will just say that we are there to try
to make the life of these people easy, I think a demonstration of this
was the Secretary General's visit of yesterday who talked with FYROM
and __ but of course, I don't have details of political level contacts.
REPORTER: General Jertz, you started the briefing today saying that
NATO had no evidence of Serbs withdrawing troops from Kosovo but APTN
this morning showed pictures of Serbs leaving Kosovo and also a couple
of tanks. I wonder if you can comment on that and also on President
Milosevic's claim that it is very difficult for troops to actually leave
if they are regarded as legitimate targets on the ground?
Also, "The Times" of London today is saying that a MiG was shot down
by NATO over Kosovo, I wonder if you can also comment on that, if that
MAJOR GENERAL WALTER JERTZ: On the last question can you say whether
it was today?
REPORTER: No, it was a couple of days ago but in today's paper actually.
MAJOR GENERAL WALTER JERTZ: On this one I already reiterated yesterday
that we do know, we have indications, but we are still investigating
that one Serb aircraft went down, we don't the type of aircraft. All
I could say so far, which I already said yesterday, is that it is not
outside Kosovo territory so it is inside and as we are not inside, we
do try to identify which kind of aircraft and where it was so we are
still researching but also the source of information that we have is
something which we think we have to question so wait until I get some
more information and then I can come back to you.
On the movement of troops you mentioned, yes, I too have seen the reports,
I too have seen the tv and I know there are soldiers moving around but
that by no means means that there is a partial withdrawal or a withdrawal
whatsoever. As I already indicated in my briefing, it could very well
be a kind of regrouping and we are talking numbers which are ridiculously
low. If it was a fact, we are not talking about a partial withdrawal
of forces. We have to make sure and we have to make it clear to the
public and also to Milosevic that he has to tell us that he wants to
negotiate or if it is not him, somebody else who is responsible for
his country to finally stop it and work out means and other methods
to make sure that we can find a way to have him withdraw his forces.
That is all I can say so far.
JAMIE SHEA: We are not partial, Neil, to partial withdrawals quite frankly.
It is the easiest thing in the world to put a few tanks on the border,
invite a tv crew and say: "Look! I am withdrawing!" and then as soon
as the tv crew goes back to Belgrade, the tanks just go back over the
border and the numbers are utterly insignificant; 250, which is the
figure that I saw, is less than one-half of one per cent of the Serb
forces in Kosovo and therefore I would not even dignify this term as
a partial withdrawal, I don't think it is any withdrawal at all quite
frankly. Only a full withdrawal will bring stability to Kosovo, only
a full withdrawal can be verified and we have had enough experience,
as I pointed out the other day, with Milosevic's partial withdrawals
whereby he takes them out through one route only to bring them back
by another. You can never adequately verify a small partial withdrawal,
it is virtually impossible. The only thing that makes sense is a full
withdrawal and that is the only thing we are interested in.
REPORTER: There is going to be a G8 Political Directors meeting tomorrow.
Do you think there is going to be a little bit more precision on the
wording, a little more clarification on the terms of this peace plan?
It seems that there is a bit of disconnect between what was laid out
in that plan last week and then how all the various G8 participants
spun it when they left that meeting. For example, that the Serb forces
should leave, how many, is it a total withdrawal, could there be a token
Serb force left, let the international force come in of course, what
the make-up of an international force is particularly concerning NATO
and one point that really disturbed me, that all the refugees should
return but do they all return to their specific homes, do they all return
throughout the entire entity, the province of Kosovo just return to
Kosovo but maybe a portion of it?
JAMIE SHEA: No Greg, everybody is clear that the refugees go back
to their homes. That is crystal clear. Secondly, the G8 Political Directors
when they meet will be looking, as I have said earlier, at how to translate
into specific action, into a concrete implementation plan, the seven
key principles reflecting the five conditions of NATO that were agreed
upon. It is good that this work is going ahead, it is very necessary,
it is to lay the basis for a UN Security Council resolution.
But I didn't actually notice different interpretations, I thought everybody
was basically saying the same thing after the meeting in Bonn where
those principles were laid down but it is obviously important we get
on quickly with the job with Russia of working out a kind of road map
so that - to come back to what Michael was saying earlier - as soon
as the air operation has come to an end, we have immediately got all
of the elements in place to quickly occupy the space in Kosovo with
the Serb forces of course leaving - all the Serb forces leaving - so
that we can quickly put the security presence in, we can quickly set
up the transitional administration, we can quickly have something for
the law and order function, we could take care of essential lines of
communication, essential telephone and other types of communication,
look very much at the food chain and how that is going to work, particularly
with winter perhaps not too far away in that part of the world, a reconstruction
programme, get the economy going, take care of de-mining which can be
in certain areas, as we have seen in Bosnia, an enormous hazard particularly
to restart agriculture. There is going to be an enormous amount of work
to do and we want to be ready for it and we need a road map from the
G8 and then of course that will help our own planning as far as the
sizing and the tasking of the KFOR force is concerned.
REPORTER: First of all for the Commander, those numbers compiled for
the refugees who are in the camp are obviously people who are coming
out of Kosovo and going into the camps. Are you keeping a record of
how many people are leaving the camps either to live with Albanian families
or to find their own way to Europe or wherever else they might go?
General Jertz, as you break down these attacks on the forces on the
ground, are you able to differentiate between attacks on the Yugoslav
regular army and attacks on the MUP, the police and paramilitaries and
can you give us any kind of differentiation there? I am presuming that
all the heavy metal that you are talking about being hit is mainly regular
COMMANDER FABRIZIO MALTINTI: First of all, to clarify, the numbers I
gave you are official UNHCR numbers. Regarding the second part of your
question, yes we record the number of people who leave the camps especially
for third countries.
MAJOR GENERAL WALTER JERTZ: On the military question, the paramilitaries
actually don't essentially have much more than pistols, rifles and small
arms so of course we cannot differentiate and they normally do not wear
uniforms so from the air we cannot really identify them unless they
are close to let us say the heavy forces like the MUP, the special police
and the Serb forces. Between the Serb forces and the special police
some artillery pieces or some military vehicles are pretty much the
same, they do have the same purpose so from the air of course we do
shoot as long as it is a real target and as long as it shoots against
civilians we shoot at it and for us it is often not important whether
it is special police or a heavy group from the Serb army.
REPORTER: General Jertz, first of all, could you characterise the fighting
now between the KLA and the Yugoslav forces? Is this as heavy a fighting
as you have seen since the outbreak of the war? Secondly, you are painting
a picture of a rather effective attack now against Yugoslav forces in
Kosovo. Why is it possible to do that now when it was not possible to
do that five weeks ago? What has changed that makes that tactically
possible and the risk worth taking from your point of view?
MAJOR GENERAL WALTER JERTZ: At present, I am not in a position to comment
more on the fighting between UCK and Serb forces because we had days
where the fighting was very heavy and on another occasion it was very
low and it also depended on where it was so we will see continuous ups
and downs and as you know, there are a lot of UCK obviously coming into
the country voluntarily to also fight but as we are not in contact with
them, I could not give you any specific numbers.
On the success we have against the forces on the ground, I tried about
a week or so ago to explain why we were more successful. First of all
the weather has improved which means we could identify the targets much
easier plus the weapons we were using. We are always telling you that
we do want to avoid collateral damage but of course with good weather
we had better success because we used weapons against those forces which
we would not have used if we had had bad weather because we were afraid
of collateral damage.
The next thing is that the mobility of the Serb armed forces in Kosovo
really did go down, they were hiding and they knew that once they were
out in the open during daytime they would be attacked continuously most
of the time and because of the good weather we could continue our 24-hour
operations especially over Kosovo and we are doing it at night with
assets which are in place to make it possible to do with all the military
capabilities we have and that is one of the main reasons why we really
could hit them hard and once again they are running out of ammunition,
they are running out of mobility and that is one of the reasons why
I think we are much more successful than we were at the beginning. As
I told you, in the first two or three weeks there was no more than 13
per cent of the time when the weather was good enough to really precisely
attack those targets in Kosovo.
JAMIE SHEA: Ladies and Gentlemen, I think that is about as much as we
need to today. Tomorrow is a normal day at NATO with the Council meeting
in the morning, as I mentioned, Strobe Talbott here and there will be
the usual briefings about 11 o'clock in the morning for the first and
3 o'clock in the afternoon and again, I would like to thank Commander
Maltinti for coming up from SHAPE today and speaking to you and of course
General Jertz but he is here every day.