I have the following remarks to make:
I want to give you an assessment of where we got to; our job here at these military-to-military talks has been to translate the political agreement into a workable military reality on the ground. The Yugoslav delegation presented a proposal that would not guarantee the safe return of all the refugees or the full withdrawal of Yugoslav forces, and, indeed, was inconsistent with the text produced by the President of Finland Ahtisaari and Mr. Tchernomyrdin as the Russian Balkan special deleguate.
NATO therefore has no alternative but to continue and, indeed, intensify the air campaign until such time as the Yugoslav side are prepared to agree to implement the agreement fully and without ambiguity.
We are prepared to meet with the Yugoslav delegation as necessary to achieve
it. Thank you very much indeed.
[comment by David Chater, SKY NEWS Kumanovo Military Base ne. of Skopje:] Well there we are - short and very much to the point: General Mike Jackson's apologize for the long delay; he said it was all about translating political decision ... to military procedure, and the profound news that we have heard is that NATO will be continuing its air campaign until the Yugoslavs agree to all the points and to get rid of all the ambiguity ... So a very short and direct statement from General Sir Mike Jackson that the talks did not produce the result that NATO wanted - no guarantee - a proposal from the Serbs that would mean there was no guarantee for the safe return of the refugees on the core proposals and also they were not going to agree to a full withdrawal of Serbian troops. Therefore, NATO's campaign will continue, the bombing will continue and it will be intensified. But both sides do seem to have left the door open ...
... essment for the Russians and Wiktor Tchernomyrdin especially: it was thought that he'd made a great triumph in coming up the proposal that was ratified and passed by the Serbian parliament but, in less than a week, we've seen the whole thing fall apart; this is something we've got used to as Jamie Shea, the Nato spokesman was saying today, we all know President Milosevic's track record: that he always tries to get out of an agreement or to find some way, some ambiguous way, of getting past an agreement. So once again: the only way that NATO can bring [about] what they want .. which is the full return and safe return of the refugees is to keep bombing .. the concentrations of Serbian troops in Kosovo, and I suspect the orders have gone out right now for an intensification of that bombing tonight.
- Where was the whole reason why they spent two very long days trying to nail down this contract with the Serbian military; both sides had professional generals, they knew what they were talking about, they knew the problems and the logistics, but in the end I think it was a political decision made in Belgrade by President Milosevic which stopped these talks coming to any conclusion. It seems now clear that President Milosevic could not accept the terms for capitulation essentially laid down by NATO in these talks; he realized that his position would be untenable if he accepted the contract for capitulation which had been presented to his generals in the tent-hangar at this air base just north east of Skopje. I thing that in the end was the bottom line President Milosevic knew he could not survive those terms.
- It's very unlikely that NATO will accept any form of negotiations again after this agreement was reached ... last week and ratified in the Serbian parliament.
(c) Transkription: W. NÄSER 7.6.99 am