in Yugoslavia coverage
April 1, 1999:
April 1, 1999:
Secretary Cohen and General Henry Shelton
March 31, 1999:
John Warner provides an update on the situation.
March 31, 1999:
briefing on latest military actions.
March 29, 1999:
NATO's top commander, General
March 28, 1999:
F-117 Stealth fighter downed in Yugoslavia
Security Adviser Samuel Berger
March 24, 1999:
March 24, 1999:
Albright discusses the air strikes.
March 23, 1999:
NATO hope to achieve through air strikes?
Read an Online Forum on the crisis
Complete NewsHour coverage of Europe
SECRETARY GENERAL SOLANA: Okay. Good afternoon. I'm pleased to see
you back here in the more familiar surroundings of Brussels, some of
you. As you know, we have worked hard and very successfully in Washington,
and I am grateful to you for all your efforts you have done, all those
who have accompanied us to Washington
What I would like to do today is to put summit conclusions into perspective
and take a look at them from the perspective also of the Kosovo crisis.
I think I would not exaggerate if I say that the Washington summit has
been a turning point in NATO's history, in so that NATO is building
for the future and that we are making the alliance fit a much broader
spectrum of security tasks for the 21st century. The new strategic concept
will give NATO the ability to shape the international security agenda.
The process of open door, the enlargement of the alliance, will remain
a vital part of NATO's evolution.
I would like to emphasize that the door of NATO will stay open and
we will help the candidate countries to prepare more actively for the
day when they will be ready to join us. In the same way, we will promote
a wide-ranging partnership with other countries into the euroatlantic
area. Our successful meetings in Washington with our partners clearly
demonstrated how strong these links are becoming.
In Washington, as you know, we also set out an agenda for the further
development of the European security and defense identity that would
complete the work following from our decisions that were taken in Berlin
in the summer of 1996. We also set out a perspective as to how NATO
and the European Union can work together to build a European security
and defensive entity of the future in a transatlantic context and in
a way which will involve all allies.
But let me now turn to the major topics related to Kosovo The Washington
summit showed, after five weeks of Operation Allied Force, that NATO
is more united and is more determined than ever. Let me say once again
that we do not only proclaim principles but that we are prepared to
defend those principles. Otherwise, we would not be able to ensure that
Europe will begin the 21st century as a peaceful and stable continent.
We have three key strengths that I would like to emphasize to you. First,
the alliance is, as I said, rock-solid and we have the international
community behind us. Last Sunday, as you know, our partners in the EuroAtlantic
Partnership Council joined us in Washington And all these countries,
which have different backgrounds, different cultures and even different
religions, some of them, gave complete support to what we are doing.
They understand very well why we have been forced to act and they want
us to continue it until we prevail.
I had the opportunity to meet with many of the leaders of our partnership
countries on a bilateral basis and I felt their solidarity directly.
Let me say that, for instance, President Shevardnadze of Georgia has
pledged their support yet again publicly in his speech to the Council
of Europe yesterday.
But in addition to the meeting of the EuroAtlantic Partnership Council,
we had a very important summit and I would like to underline it, with
the seven countries neighboring Yugoslavia. They also gave us their
full support. Living next door to Milosevic, they understand probably
better than anybody else how important it is that NATO has stood up
to the policies of the Milosevic government. They know that our success
is vital to their future, to their security and to their stability.
They have given us a good deal of practical support, as you know; for
instance, overflight rights, transit rights; in agreeing to host our
forces on their territories.
But of course, we are also helping them. Our troops are helping them
to deal with the refugee crisis. NATO countries are providing financial
and other support. And NATO has reassured that it would not allow --
to be threatened or attacked by Yugoslavia.
But let me tell you that the second reason why I am confident that we
will prevail is that we have very clear objectives, which alone can
bring a lasting peace to the region. That is why we are insisting on
these objectives, because we know that anything else would represent
merely a temporary and untenable outcome.
At the same time, NATO is not only interested -- and I would like to
underline this again -- in winning the conflict. We also want to build
the lasting peace and the lasting stability on the region, that will
In Washington, we set out a vision of a Southeast Europe that would
be at peace, that would be stable, that would be prosperous and increasingly
integrated into the European mainstream. We will work hand in hand with
the other institutions to achieve this vision, to make it reality. Let
me say from the point of view of NATO what is the role that we would
like to play.
We will establish a consultative forum to discuss security issues with
the countries of the region. We are going to meet with them on the 19-plus-one
format. We will promote regional cooperation with the Euro-Atlantic
Partnership Council. And we will use the resources of PFP, of Partnership
for Peace, to give them more direct and focused assistance in addressing
their security concerns.
I'd like to emphasize that we also welcome the proposals of the European
Union to convene a conference on a stability pact for the Southeastern
Europe on the second part of the month of May. The ministers of foreign
affairs of the European Union have also agreed to consider ways to strengthen
their relations with Albania and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.
We will -- needing to look ahead to the process of reconstruction
that must follow the end of the Kosovo crisis. As you know, and I had
the opportunity on Monday to meet with the directors of the World Bank
and the IMF Both institutions, and the G-7, stand ready to offer their
financial help and practical advice to the countries of the region.
But I would like to send a clear message also to the Serbian people:
The Serbian people can also be part of this vision, if they so wish.
Our quarrel, as I said so many times, is not with them but with the
government of Milosevic, a government which has ruined the Yugoslav
economy and made Yugoslavia. a pariah state in the international community.
The Serb people deserve an alternative, a vision of a democratic Serbia
integrated in this scheme that I just underlined, into the rest of Europe,
and enjoying the same benefits of cooperation and integration of the
other countries of the region. I'd like to insist that we will offer
them such an alternative, and I hope that the people of Serbia will
Let me say that the third and final reason why I am confident is that
our campaign is working. SAUCER was with you yesterday and set out for
you the achievements of the air Campaign so far. I would not repeat
what he said. Let me just say that it was in summit we decided to intensify
the air Campaign
At the same time, as you know, we are continuing to deal with the humanitarian
situation. Our forces continue to work in very close relationship with
the ANCHOR and with all the international agencies. They are transporting
refugees from their border areas, helping to build Refugee camps, and
delivering much-needed assistance and medical supplies.
In Washington then we sent a very clear and simple message to Milosevic
that we are going to prevail. Milosevic can end our air Campaign only
by accepting the key objectives of the international community. Meanwhile,
he bears, and will continue to bear, the full responsibility for what
is happening to his country today.
Let me finish by saying that NATO has come back from Washington in
a united and in a very strong position. In the days ahead, we'll translate
this unity and this strength into concrete achievements, and we will
not let up in our pressure until Kosovo is at peace and the region can
look to a brighter future according to the scheme that we are working
Thank you very much, and I am ready to take your questions.
MR. SHEA: Thank you very much, Secretary-General. Mark, your hand was
up first today, so please go ahead.
REPORTER: Secretary-general, was the unity that you gained at Washington in
part because you left, deliberately, some issues unresolved, such as
in particular the endgame, the circumstances under which you'll use
ground troops? And to what degree are you still, in effect, giving President
Milosevic a veto over you because you're insisting in not putting in
ground troops until somebody agrees to allow them in?
SECRETARY GENERAL SOLANA: As I made very clear before we left Brussels
to Washington, the military authorities are considering all the options.
No options, they say, out of the table. No decision has been taken about
any other strategy than the strategy you have now, which is the air
Campaign strategy. But as I said, the military authorities are reviewing
and updating all the options, including the options you have mentioned.
You remember very well, because I think it was your prime minister talking
from this very podium answering the same question you posed to him,
when he said President Milosevic will not have a veto on what we do,
not a veto on anything, including the things you just -- or the questions
you just posed. Therefore, we will continue, our strategy is clear,
and at the same time, of course, we're updating all our previous assessment.
MR. SHEA: Neil , please, Neil King.
REPORTER: Mr. Secretary-general, there's obviously a flurry of diplomatic activity
now and in coming days. Do you see anything at all in that that would
pass for promising? And on another front, out of Belgrade there's been
these mixed signals among some of these either parts of Milosevic's
government in one way or the other that has indicated some mixed messages.
Is there anything at all that you would consider to be promising coming
out of there?
SECRETARY GENERAL SOLANA: Well, as you know, there is some activity
in the coming hours, the coming days, which I think is something also
important that comes out from Washington From Washington comes two lines
of action, very clear. One is, from the military point of view, unity
and determination from the military line, and also the possible movements
that are taking place now in the diplomatic -- in the diplomatic field.
We said from the very beginning that this military Campaign had an end,
and the end was a diplomatic end.
But let me say that the activity which has taken place in the last
few days -- I've been in contact with all the leaders that have been
in Moscow and all the bilateral meetings that have taken place outside
Moscow. There have been several of them. I can report to you that the
prime minister of Sweden, who just returned from Washington, he had
a very good exchange of ideas, both with Mr. Chernomyrdin and with Mr.
Primakov. Still there points in which we are separated, but I think
some progress has been made.
The same, I think, will be said of the visit of Mr. Talbott, which is
at this very moment in Berlin, talking with the president of the European
Union, with the minister of foreign affairs of Germany. And let me also
tell you that he will be here with us tomorrow at 11:00, I think. He
will be here with us in the council.
The -- I just had a long talk on the phone with Mr. Kofi Annan, which
is heading towards Moscow in the coming hours, probably is now already
flying. And I do hope also that he will be able to make some progress.
But still, as I said, there are distances which separate us from some
positions in relation to the Russians, but we are making progress. I'd
like to say also.
On the other camp, on the camp of Milosevic, well, you know what is
some of the signs which are coming from there, not only those which
are very public, because they have been during the weekend and yesterday
and today making the first page in the newspapers, some statements,
but the others, not that important as far as the space they occupied
in the newspapers, that is, in the statement also by the party of the
wife of Mr. Milosevic that I think should be considered with interest
-- let's see what it means at the end of the day -- and some rumors,
which at this point are only rumors, of some house arrest of some important
military people. So there are signs that things are moving. Let's hope
that they are moving in the right direction, and in the coming weeks
we may have some positive news.
At this point, I cannot elaborate any further. Let's continue with the
aims that we have, our military Campaign We're going to continue with
the intensity that we have defined and with the determination we have
Let me say, again, that the fact that in Washington we have seen so
many countries, some of them so different from the point of view of
culture, history, religion, all of them behind us, understanding very
well why we are doing it and giving all the support for us to prevail
and to win.
MR. SHEA: Sky, please.
REPORTER: Thank you. Jake Lynch, Sky News. Secretary-general, you talked about
the fact that NATO action is based on putting principles into practice,
and clearly the principle which has been infringed here is the right
of people to live undisturbed in their homes. Now, you know, I'm sure,
that there's another very large group of people whose right to do so
was taken away from them in these troubles in the Balkans over the past
few years, namely the Krajina Serbians, many of whom still live in Refugee
camps inside Serbia, having been expelled from their homes in very unpleasant
circumstances as recently as four years ago.
Now, in the wider settlements for the Balkans that you have been looking
forward to, what can NATO promise to those people as a way to redress
the injustice they've suffered in the exactly the same way as the Kosovar
Albanians are now suffering at the moment?
SECRETARY GENERAL SOLANA: Let me -- it goes back to seven years ago.
Let me, from my personal experience, let me tell you something. My personal
experience. You know I have been involved in the crisis in the Balkans
since 1992, from the very beginning. And in 1995, in very difficult
moments, I was at that time the president of the Council of Ministers
of the European Union, so I knew very well what was going on.
I put a lot of my personal life into this battle, but I have so many,
many sad experiences. Let me tell you, one very sad -- from my personal
point of view -- is that one. It had to be -- I think it was about four
months ago, four months ago, that the three presidents of Bosnia --
and there are three of them, Bosnia, got together in a restaurant for
dinner. The first time. Okay, remember that Dayton was signed in 1995.
I invited the three of them. It was the first time that they got together
in the restaurant, and we started talking seriously about that issue.
So I've been concerned about that issue, I will continue to be concerned
about that issue, but it is not NATO who has to solve that issue. We
do our best, but other institutions are responsible -- or more responsible,
let's put it that way -- for solving that Refugee crisis which still
is in the Balkans, without any doubt.
I would like to see a day after this plan that we just are beginning
to set down, in which all these problems and others that you have not
mentioned but are there, also, will be resolved. If we are able to do
that, we will enter the 21st century not only with Kosovo resolved,
but with the Balkans in the right direction to look to the 21st century
with a little bit more hope than the many, many people there have had
in the past.
MR. SHEA: Now Patricia, please?
SECRETARY GENERAL SOLANA: Patricia.
REPORTER: Secretary-general, it's been suggested that there are many more troops,
NATO troops, in the region than NATO is admitting to. As many as up
to 10,000 more than --
SECRETARY GENERAL SOLANA: You mean in Albania or FYROM?
REPORTER: In Albania and in FYROM and in surrounding countries?
SECRETARY GENERAL SOLANA: No. No. In Albania and FYROM, the figures
are well known; they are transparent. And if they were not transparent,
President Gligorov will make it transparent. Don't worry about that.
MR. SHEA: Okay. Olivia, please?
REPORTER: Thanks, Jamie. Mr. Secretary General?
SECRETARY GENERAL SOLANA: Yes?
REPORTER: On the NATO blockade that still has not been in put in place yet,
if the objective was to win over Milosevic as quickly as possible, why
wasn't the naval blockade in place at the beginning of the air campaign,
or were there political considerations that made that impossible?
SECRETARY GENERAL SOLANA: Well, the naval embargo, or whatever you want
to -- the naval campaign, you mean; the blockade on the oil, you mean?
REPORTER: (No audible response.)
SECRETARY GENERAL SOLANA: Okay. Two things:
Well, as you know, at this very moment, the European Union has already
adopted an embargo. To that embargo, the European countries have been
joining all the countries of NATO, which are not members of the European
Union, and many other countries that belong to the EAPC that are already
joining that embargo that will enter into -- force, I think, tomorrow
morning -- Friday -- I am sorry -- Friday.
As far as NATO is concerned, as you know, the summit tasked the military
authorities to look at all the possibilities, to do it from a different
point of view than the point of view that the European Union has taken,
which is more of a voluntary basis. And that task, you know, of the
military authorities, will be finalized in the coming hours, and they
will take a decision about that. But we are moving, and we are moving
But let me underline, because I think it is very important, the cooperation,
the very close cooperation, with the European Union that has taken that
decision immediately, into which many countries that do not belong to
the European Union had adapted to that embargo. That is a very important
decision that manifests again that there is a broad community that goes
beyond NATO, beyond the European Union, which are on the same wavelength,
trying to win this battle.
SECRETARY GENERAL SOLANA: Stephen , did you want to ask a question?
REPORTER: Secretary General, could you be somewhat more specific on the diplomatic
progress that you alluded to, that has been made; for instance, in the
talks between Mr. Talbott and the Russians?
And secondly --
SECRETARY GENERAL SOLANA: Let me answer the first one, very briefly.
No, I will not be more specific because I can't --
SECRETARY GENERAL SOLANA: -- and I shouldn't.
REPORTER: Okay. The Belgian foreign minister is, on his own initiative, traveling
to Moscow next Monday.
SECRETARY GENERAL SOLANA: Who?
REPORTER: The Belgian foreign minister.
SECRETARY GENERAL SOLANA: Ah.
REPORTER: Were you informed of that before it being announced today?
SECRETARY GENERAL SOLANA: No. No, I am not informed of all the ministers'
travels. They have very complicated agendas. I will not keep in mind
so many travels. It is very difficult to find a foreign minister one
day in his own country. (Laughter.)
MR. SHEA: Let's go to Karen, please.
REPORTER: Mr. Secretary General?
SECRETARY GENERAL SOLANA: Yes?
REPORTER: Concerning the future military presence in Kosovo which would allow
the refugees to return, where is NATO willing to compromise? Does it
have to be NATO-led, having a NATO core, a UN mandate or what, please?
SECRETARY GENERAL SOLANA: I think that the best manner to answer your
question, because you will understand it very well, is by saying the
following. We have a model, and a model which has worked very well and
that has inside many, many different elements, which is the model we
have in Bosnia In Bosnia we have NATO countries, non-NATO countries,
Russia, Ukraine, et cetera, and it's working, to my mind, very efficiently.
We stopped a war, we are able to guarantee the environment of security
there. That could be a model in which we can construct the architecture
of international presence in Kosovo That could be a model. I don't say
that it would be exactly, exactly the same, but that, I think, is a
good model that we should maintain as close as possible to that because
it has been very successful.
MR. SHEA: Dominique, s'il vous plait.
REPORTER: (In French)
SEC.-GENERAL SOLANA: (In French)
MR. SHEA: Dominique, sorry, but -- (continues in French).
REPORTER: (In French)
SECRETARY GENERAL SOLANA: (In French)
MR. SHEA: Gentleman at the back, please.
MR. SHEA: Okay, Doug, please.
REPORTER: Secretary-general, when you say that the people of Serbia are welcome
to join the democratic nations of Europe and to be part of the vision
for the next century and so on, to a large extent, to say that to people
in this room, you're preaching, really, to the converted to most organizations
But how are -- are you at all satisfied that this message is getting
through to the people of Serbia themselves? Are they hearing this in
Nis or Novi Sad or are they not hearing it? We heard of the Commander
Solo aircraft; we haven't heard of it again. It doesn't seem to be working.
Can you tell us what you're doing?
SECRETARY GENERAL SOLANA: Well, I hope that all these messages will
be entering, or percolating, if you will allow me to say that, into
the people of Serbia And I think that the news that we are hearing from
Serbia allows us to think that these messages percolated into the society
-- slowly, but percolated. But in any case, I would like to emphasize
and emphasize in a very important manner that this message of NATO,
of the European Union, of the OSCE, of NGOs, of so many people, that
we want a future for the Balkans, and in that future for the Balkans,
Serbia should have a place -- but of course, a Serbia which is different
than the Serbia of today; a Serbia which is democratic; that Serbia
is an important country for the region, for the stability of the region,
and should have a place -- a role to play.
MR. SHEA: Okay. Two final questions. Antonio, please, and then John
SECRETARY GENERAL SOLANA: Antonio.
REPORTER: Thank you, Jamie. Secretary-general, you've been talking to a lot
of those countries in the area. You saw them in Washington and when
we talk about the future of Kosovo, there is not much of their words
to be heard. So what's the feeling of those countries? Is there any
country over there who really wants to have an independent Kosovo except
Albania? And what are their main worries? Bulgaria, Macedonia., whatever?
SECRETARY GENERAL SOLANA: Okay. Are you talking about Bulgaria, Romania,
those type of countries? I mean, those countries, as you know, they
belong, A) to the EAPC, therefore they were together in the EAPC meeting,
but they were also together with us in the meeting with the neighbors.
I have to tell you that I was very, very impressed by the speeches of
both the president of Bulgaria and the president of Romania They are
countries that, by religion, are of the same religion that Serbia They
have a common history that goes a time ago. But they are absolutely
determined to see that the situation that has been created by Milosevic
never repeats again, and that is not only for the Serbian people, is
very important for them, for their own security.
And therefore, their speeches, their presentations, the statements
they made go in that direction very, very clear. They don't want to
see that happening again in the neighborhood of their countries. And
they know they're going to be neighbors with Serbia for many, many years
to come, forever, but they don't want to be neighbors with Serbia with
that Serbia, the Serbia that behaves like Milosevic behaves.
REPORTER: What do they want for Kosovo?
SECRETARY GENERAL SOLANA: For Kosovo, they want -- ah, about -- okay.
Okay. One of the ideas that they have very rooted in their heart, in
their minds, is that in Europe, that part of Europe, borders should
not be changed. That is very, very important for them, and this is a
statement that they make very, very clear. Too many changes in border
have taken place in that part of Europe to continue doing so.
MR. SHEA: Okay, final question for today, then, to John. Please go ahead.
REPORTER: Thank you, Jamie. A question from the Los Angeles Times, Secretary-general
As you know, in Washington the NATO heads of state and government issued
a declaration saying that it would not be enough to have victory in
Kosovo to bring peace; there would also have to be justice assured.
And NATO at that time said that it would support the International Criminal
Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia. in its efforts to get information
that would lead to the prosecution of war crimes.
I wondered, in the light of Mrs. Arbour's upcoming visit to Washington,
which begins tonight, could you tell us what NATO has done already to
get the relevant information to bring people to justice in Yugoslavia.?
SECRETARY GENERAL SOLANA: Yes.
REPORTER: And what you plan to do in the future?
SECRETARY GENERAL SOLANA: Yes. Judge Arbour, before going to Washington,
has been with me, as you know, not long ago. We had a very good conversation.
And we're going to help her as much as possible, as we did in relation
to EBosniaF-Hercegovina. But not only that. Probably more important
than what NATO as such collectively can do is what countries that belong
to NATO can do. As you know, NATO does not have intelligence of their
own. The intelligence that NATO has is the intelligence provided by
the countries. Therefore, the individual NATO countries can contribute
very much, and I know that they are already contributing very much.
Let me say that Judge Arbour was very, very happy when he left -- she
left this building, and I'm sure she will be very happy when she leaves
Washington, as happened not two or three days ago, I think, if I remember
properly, while she was in London talking also with the authorities
in England and in France.
MR. SHEA: Okay. Well, Secretary-general, thank you very much indeed.
SECRETARY GENERAL SOLANA: Thank you very much. And welcome back to Brussels
those who were in Washington
MR. SHEA: Ladies and gentlemen, thank you very much.
SECRETARY GENERAL SOLANA: Thank you very much. We'll be in touch. Thank
you very much.
MR. SHEA: The secretary-general will be back, of course, in due course.
And General Marani is here for the military update. And I'll be back
with him at 4:30. So thank you, and see you very soon.