[Kosova / Kosovo] Aprl 9, 1999: UN Secretary-General's statement [Peaceweb Home Page]
by Carl Stieren
United Nations, Geneva, Switzerland
This account of the statement by UN Secreatry is reprinted from the UN website, www.un.org/News/dh/latest.htm#2
"Deeply distressed" by the unfolding humanitarian tragedy in Kosovo and the region, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan on Friday unveiled a proposal aimed at breaking the cycle of hostilities and serving as a prelude to a lasting political solution to the Kosovo crisis.
In a statement released today in Geneva, where he is attending a session of the UN's main inter-agency coordinating body, Mr. Annan urged the Yugoslav authorities to commit themselves to a set of specific conditions whose acceptance by Belgrade could lead to the suspension of air attacks by NATO.
In his five-point proposal, the Secretary-General urged the Yugoslav authorities to end immediately the campaign of intimidation and expulsion of the civilian population, to cease all activities of military and paramilitary forces in Kosovo and to withdraw these forces.
The other terms included Belgrade's unconditional acceptance of the return of refugees and displaced persons to their homes and the deployment of an international military force to ensure a secure environment for the return of refugees. According to the proposal, the Yugoslav authorities would permit the international community to verify compliance with these undertakings.
Once the Yugoslav authorities accepted those conditions, the Secretary-General urged the leaders of the North Atlantic Alliance to suspend immediately the air bombardments on the territory of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.
Ultimately, Mr. Annan said, the proposed cessation of hostilities would serve as a prelude to a lasting political solution to the crisis which could only be achieved through diplomacy. "In this context," the Secretary-General stressed, "I would urge the resumption of talks on Kosovo among all parties concerned at the earliest possible moment."
Meanwhile in New York, Secretary-General's Spokesman Fred Echkard told a news conference that Mr. Annan's statement contained his thoughts on the minimum conditions that should be met, the need for a diplomatic process to get resumed and the need for a political solution and an end to the suffering.
The Spokesman said that the Secretary-General would not have made this statement without thorough consultations. "It is his initiative, but that does not imply that he is getting personally involved beyond that," Mr. Eckhard said.
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Revised April 11, 1999, by C.S.