NATO HQ Brussels
10 June 1999

Press Conference

by NATO Secretary General, Mr. Javier Solana

Secretary General: I am sorry to keep you waiting. I can announce today that Milosevic has complied with the five conditions that the international community have placed, and therefore a few moments ago I instructed General Clark to suspend NATO's air operations against Yugoslavia.

I have taken this decision following consultations with the North Atlantic Council, and also after confirmation from General Clark that a full withdrawal of the Yugoslav security forces from Kosovo has begun. The withdrawal of Yugoslav security forces from Kosovo is taking place, as you know, in accordance with the Military Technical Agreement that was concluded between NATO and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia yesterday evening. It is also consistent with the agreement between the FRY and the European Union and Russian Special Envoys of 3 June.

Let me express to you that I have just written to the Secretary General of the United Nations, Mr Kofi Annan, and the President of the United Nations Security Council, to inform them of these developments.

Let me stress at this moment that I would urge all parties to the conflict to seize this opportunity for peace. I call on them to comply with their obligations under the agreements that have been concluded in these past days and with all the relevant UN Security Council resolutions. The violence must cease immediately. The Yugoslav security forces must withdraw and all armed Kosovar groups must demilitarise. Violence or non-compliance by any party will not be tolerated.

I would like also to take this opportunity to salute General Wes Clark, the Commander in Chief of this campaign, SACEUR, a man who has devoted day and night in the last months to get this result, this positive result, for the people of Kosovo. I would like also to salute his Commanders and all the men and women of Operation Allied Force who have so bravely contributed so much to the cause of peace, to the cause of security for all the people of Kosovo.

Ensemble avec le reste de la communauté internationale, l'OTAN aidera tous les réfugiés et toutes les personnes déplacées à rentrer dans leurs foyers. Nous aiderons tous les habitants du Kosovo - quelque soit leur origine ethnique - à reconstruire une société libre, débarrassée de la répression violente qu'elle a connue pendant si longtemps. Depuis le début de l'opération Force Alliée, j'ai insisté sur le fait que l'OTAN n'a aucun grief contre le peuple de la Yougoslavie. J'espère que les Serbes du Kosovo resteront chez eux. Les forces de l'OTAN défendront leurs droits tout autant que les droits des autres communautés ethniques du Kosovo.

L'OTAN avance à grands pas dans ses préparatifs pour la KFOR. Dans quelques heures, le Conseil de l'Atlantique Nord se réunira pour approuver, formellement, le déploiement de forces de l'OTAN au Kosovo. Ces forces créeront un environnement sûr permettant le retour des réfugiés et le processus de reconstruction. Aujourd'hui, une réunion importante se tient à Cologne pour développer un Pacte de Stabilité pour l'Europe du Sud-Est. L'OTAN est prête à contribuer pleinement à cette initiative.

Let me finish by saying that all this could not have been possible without the cohesion and the determination of all Allies. As our air operations against Yugoslavia are now suspended, NATO is ready for its new mission, a mission to bring people back to their homes and to build a lasting and just peace in Kosovo.

Thank you very much.

Mark Laity, BBC: Secretary General, can you tell us how soon you believe the Security Council resolution can be passed and then how quickly KFOR can enter? And secondly, you have given out many warnings, and your representatives have, that you must measure the Serbs by their actions, not their words. This is only the beginning of the withdrawal. Given the relief there is to stop the bombing, do you have the determination to start it again if the Serbs backslide?

Secretary General: Let me answer both questions, or in fact three questions. First, the question of when the UN Security Council will approve the resolution, well I cannot answer in a precise manner that question. I have been in touch with Mr Kofi Annan, I have sent a letter to him a while ago and according to information I have from the members of the UN who belong to NATO or the Security Council, that everything is ready to begin, any time, to debate the resolution. It is not for me to say when the resolution will be approved.

The second part of your question, when KFOR will be deployed. It will be deployed after the resolution is approved, after that we will approve the Actord and after that, in a few hours, the first enabling force of KFOR will be deployed. I don't think I would risk too much if I would say that if everything goes OK and at the end of today we have the resolution of the UN Security Council, tomorrow we may see the first Kfor soldiers deployed in Kosovo. Now the second question has a very simple answer and I will give the answer in a monosyllable - yes.

Patricia Kelly, CNN: Could you tell us at what time the first Yugoslav forces started their pull-out from Kosovo and how long it was before NATO decided there was enough activity to be able to verify? And what makes you think that the rest of the pull-out will go according to plan? What would make NATO overturn its suspension, if indeed it thought it had to?

Secretary General: Exactly the time the first convoy began to move, I don't know exactly the moment, but around midday today. It is 3.30 now, and as you have seen not only through the intelligence, but through CNN probably you have seen it also, the long lines of convoys are moving along the roads of Kosovo heading north.

Patricia Kelly: My follow-up question was what makes you think that this will carry on? That is only three hours that they have been withdrawing, what makes you think that that will continue?

Secretary General: We have said from the very beginning that we will be ready to make the announcement that has just been made once we saw that enough movement in the direction of the agreement, of withdrawal, would take place.

Patricia Kelly: And what, if anything, would make you overturn your decision?

Secretary General: I think I answered that question to your friend in front of you.

Antonio Esteves Martins, RTP: Secretary General, the last 79 days changed the history of the Alliance and saw something new. Obviously you said we cannot fail, and you did not fail, but this gives this Alliance a certain number of responsibilities. Can the Alliance take over and send from here a message to any dictator, wherever he is, that some action like the one Milosevic tried will be punished the same way, wherever he is?

Secretary General: Let me say first of all that NATO is not a global organisation. When you say whatever it is, it is too broad a concept, but in the region of our responsibilities I think that what has happened in the last months is more important than whatever I could say now. Look at the facts and that is the behaviour of an Alliance of democratic countries that is able to act in a coherent matter to stop something that never could have happened, or should have happened, in Europe.

Dominique Thierry, RFI: Craignez-vous que les serbes tentent lors de leur retrait de camoufler les crimes de guerre qui ont été commis au Kosovo et concrètement, de quelle manière allez-vous coopérer avec les enquêteurs du Tribunal pénal international pour arrêter ces criminels de guerre?

Secretary General: Je crois que non, et en tout cas, la meilleure manière de garantir que...c'est le déploiement de la KFOR. Si demain matin les forces commencent à se déployer, ça sera très difficile pour changer la situation sur le terrain. La meilleure garantie c'est le déploiement des forces de KFOR qui garantiront la stabilité, la sécurité de toute façon au Kosovo.

Christian Unteanu, Curentul (Romanian Newspaper): La première question est: quelle est le stade de discussions avec les Russes pour leur possible présence au Kosovo au la KFOR et la deuxième question c'est: quelle est le stade de préparation pour un possible plan de la présence réelle de l'OTAN dans le cas du pacte de stabilité? Quelle sera exactement le rôle de l'OTAN dans le pacte de stabilité?

Secretary General: Oui. La première partie de la question - comme vous le savez, M. Talbott se trouve en ce moment à Moscou. Ils sont en train de discuter le mécanisme, je ne peux pas vous donner d'informations précise à ce moment et sur la deuxième question: la participation de l'OTAN dans le pacte de stabilité, vous le connaissez bien, il a été déclaré de manière très clair, nous serons tout à fait engagé dans le domaine de la sécurité et je crois que.............le Partenariat pour la paix, le programme de Partenariat pour la paix, renforcer et jouer un rôle ....important pour stabiliser, pour aider la stabilisation de la région.

Jamie Shea: Secretary General thank you. Ladies and gentlemen, thank you very much. Could I ask you to remain seated please just for a moment while I escort the Secretary General out and I will be back for just a few little words?

Secretary General: Before Jamie escorts me out, can I say out of cameras and out of all these mechanisms that you have, one word to you. You have lived with us for several weeks, very intense, very difficult. As you know, NATO was not prepared to give comfortable … to all of you in this period of time, I know that you have some difficulties, I ask you for forgiveness on that, for all the things we have done wrong, and probably have done some treating with you, and thank you very, very much for your cooperation, for your generosity in being with us. I think we have done something important, something important for our countries, something important for our societies, and without your cooperation it would not have been possible. Thank you very much.

And thank you very much, Jamie, for what you have done. I cannot call you by your first name, like Jamie does, but let me say thank you to whatever your name is, thank you very much.

Jamie Shea: Ladies and gentlemen, just before you go, very briefly, I wanted to just say goodbye to General Jertz, who has been my briefing partner, and fortunately never my sparring partner, here for the last few weeks. I promised him the final word today, it's the only opportunity that he has had since we started to have the final word, I think - the second perhaps - opportunity, so today's your day, Walter, for that. And now I hand you over to Walter.

Major General Jertz: Well, ladies and gentlemen, thank you very much. Jamie, this one will really be the last one - last words - of today. Maybe I come back tomorrow! I try my latin. First of all, I have to thank you very much for your openness, for your frankness, for your kindness and also for the fairness you have shown also against the German not really living in your language, at least not from the beginning. I think I became better and better, I hope you don't ........the difference! And the second one is for the latin guys amongst us "qui desiderat pacem praeparet bellum". Does it help? Ok, thank you very much.

Jamie Shea: He was determined to have a quotation!