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NATO: Statement on Kosovo: Press Communique M-NAC-1 (98)61

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From: HR-Net News Distribution Manager <dist@hri.org>

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

  1. 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.
  2. 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.

  3. 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.
  4. 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= Macedonia.
  5. 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 borders.
    • 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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 Special Representative.
  10. 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.

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