NATO: Statement on Kosovo: Press Communique M-NAC-1 (98)61
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PRESS COMMUNIQUE M-NAC-1 (98)61
For immediate release
28th May 1998
STATEMENT ON KOSOVO
Issued at the Ministerial Meeting of the North Atlantic Council
held in Luxembourg on 28th May 1998
- We are deeply concerned by the situation in Kosovo. We deplore the
continuing use of violence in suppressing political dissent or in pursuit
of political change. The violence and the associated instability risk
jeopardising the Peace Agreement in Bosnia and Herzegovina and endangering
security and stability in Albania and the former Yugoslav Republic of
Macedonia. It is particularly worrying that the recent resurgence of
violence has been accompanied by the creation of obstacles denying access
by international observers and humanitarian organisations to the affected
areas in Kosovo.
- We are firmly convinced that the problems of Kosovo can best be
resolved through a process of open and unconditional dialogue between
authorities in Belgrade and the Kosovar Albanian leadership. The status
quo is unsustainable. We support a political solution which provides an
enhanced status for Kosovo, preserves the territorial integrity of the
Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY), and safeguards the human and civil
rights of all inhabitants of Kosovo, whatever their ethnic origin.
President Milosevic has a special responsibility to ensure that steps are
taken to achieve a political solution in Kosovo. The Kosovar Albanian
leadership, represented by Dr. Rugova, also has a crucial part to play in
bringing about a political solution. We therefore urge both sides to
ensure that the dialogue that has now begun leads rapidly to the adoption
of concrete measures to lower tensions, stop the spread of violence and
open the way to a peaceful resolution of the crisis. The dialogue process
should take into account the views of all communities in Kosovo. We
welcome all efforts of the international community to these ends.
- We support strongly the continuation of an international military
presence in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia after the end of the
current mandate of UNPREDEP. We support the continuation of the mandate of
UNPREDEP, which has contributed significantly to stability in the region.
- We have two major objectives with respect to the situation in Kosovo:
- to help achieve a peaceful resolution of the crisis by contributing to
the response of the international community; and
- to promote stability and security in neighbouring countries, with
particular emphasis on Albania and the former Yugoslav Republic of=
- We have decided to enhance and supplement PfP activities in both
Albania and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia to promote security
and stability in these Partner countries and to signal NATO's interest in
containing the crisis and in seeking a peaceful resolution:
- We are launching NATO-led assistance programmes to help Albania and the
former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia to secure their borders, based on
enhanced PfP activities and on bilateral assistance.
- We are upgrading a PfP exercise in the former Yugoslav Republic of
Macedonia, scheduled to take place in September.
- We are scheduling by the end of August a PfP exercise in Albania
involving ground and air forces.
- We are establishing a NATO/PfP Cell in Tirana, which will play a direct
role in the implementation of Albania's Individual Partnership Programme
and which, with the other measures we are taking, will help to enhance the
capabilities of Albania's armed forces to ensure the security of its
- We are elaborating a concept for the establishment of PfP training
centres, including the possible future use of the Krivolak training area in
the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.
- We are authorising the visit of NATO's Standing Force Mediterranean
(STANAVFORMED) to the port of Durres in early July.
- We will prepare to support the UNHCR in the event of a humanitarian
crisis in the area.
- In addition, in order to have options available for possible later
decisions and to confirm our willingness to take further steps if
necessary, we have commissioned military advice on support for UN and OSCE
monitoring activity as well as on NATO preventive deployments in Albania
and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, on a relevant legal basis,
in order to help achieve a peaceful resolution of the crisis and to
strengthen security and stability in the region.
- We will continue to monitor closely the situation in and around Kosovo
and we task the Council in Permanent Session to consider the political,
legal and, as necessary, military implications of possible further
deterrent measures, if the situation so requires.
- We are in close consultation with the governments of Albania and the
former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia about the measures involving their
countries. We have informed Partners of the development of NATO's thinking
prior to this meeting. With Russia, we have consulted in a special meeting
of the PJC. We will use the meetings of the NATO-Russia Permanent Joint
Council, the NATO-Ukraine Commission and the Euro-Atlantic Partnership
Council, both here in Luxembourg and in the future, with a view to seeking
the cooperation of Russia, Ukraine and our other Partners with our efforts
to help achieve a peaceful resolution of the crisis in Kosovo. We have
invited the Secretary General to inform the UN Secretary General, the OSCE
Chairman-in-Office, the WEU Secretary General and other appropriate
international organisations with a view to suggesting the coordination of
the activities of the various international organisations involved in
Albania and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.
- We call upon President Milosevic to agree to the re-admission of the
OSCE Long-Term Mission, and to accept the mission of Mr. Felipe Gonzalez,
the Personal Representative of the OSCE Chairman-in-Office and the EU
- We are determined, through the ongoing activities of the Alliance
through Partnership for Peace and the additional measures we have decided
today, to contribute to the international efforts to solve the crisis in
Kosovo and to promote regional security and stability.