March 15, 1999

U.S. Department of State

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Office of the Spokesman


Press Statement by James P. Rubin, Spokesman

Letter of KLA Representative Hashim Thaqi

To Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright


Hashim Thaqi, Chairman of the Kosovo Albanian delegation to the Rambouillet Peace Process and a representative of the Kosovo Liberation Army, has sent a letter to Secretary Albright announcing his readiness--and the readiness of his delegation--to sign the Rambouillet Agreement for peace and self-government in Kosovo. This is a welcome development and an important step forward in the negotiating process, one that furthers prospects for a peaceful resolution to the Kosovo conflict.

Now it is up to the FRY/Serbian delegation to accept the proposed interim settlement. If they refuse to do so, the responsibility will lie with Belgrade alone.

The Contact Group has made clear that the second round of talks which began today in Paris will be brought to a speedy conclusion. The Paris talks are focused primarily on implementation of the settlement proposal agreed to by the Kosovo Albanian delegation. The proposal itself is not open to substantial revision.

The United States, together with the European Union and working through NATO and the OSCE, remains prepared to assist in implementing the agreement fully and fairly once it has been accepted by both sides.