24 March 1999

Press Statement

by Dr. Javier Solana, NATO Secretary General
following the Commencement of Air Operations

I have been informed by SACEUR, General Clark, that at this moment NATO Air Operations against targets in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia have commenced.

In the last months the international community has spared no efforts to achieve a negotiated solution in Kosovo. But it has not been possible.

Clear responsibility for the air strikes lies with President Milosevic who has refused to stop his violent action in Kosovo and has refused to negotiate in good faith.

The time has now come for action.

Let me reiterate: NATO is not waging war against Yugoslavia.

We have no quarrel with the people of Yugoslavia who for too long have been isolated in Europe because of the policies of their government.

Our actions are directed against the repressive policy of the Yugoslav leadership.

We must stop the violence and bring an end to the humanitarian catastrophe now taking place in Kosovo. We have a moral duty to do so.

NATO's men and women in uniform, who are carrying out this important mission, are among the best in the world. I am confident that they will be successful.





25 March 1999

Press Statement

by Dr. Javier Solana, NATO Secretary General

Yesterday evening around 8 p.m., Operation Allied Force began.

Last night's operation was carried out with a broad participation by Allies.

This demonstrates NATO solidarity, unity and resolve in carrying out this action.

Let me stress that strikes were conducted against carefully chosen military targets focussed on the air defence network of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.

Our initial reports indicate that these first strikes were successful.

All NATO aircraft returned safely to their bases.

I express on behalf of the North Atlantic Council our gratitude to the men and women in our Allied armed services who were involved.

In a few moments, I will ask SACEUR to give you an interim update on activities.

Let me reiterate we are determined to continue until we have achieved our objectives: to halt the violence and to stop further humanitarian catastrophe.

Let me emphasise once again that we have no quarrel with the people of Yugoslavia.

Our actions are directed against the repressive policies of the Yugoslav government, which is refusing to respect civilized norms of behaviour in this Europe at the end of the 20th century.

The responsibility for the current crisis rests with President Milosevic.

It is up to him to comply with the demands of the international community.

I strongly urge him to do so.

I will now hand over to SACEUR.