Armin Medosch on Mon, 9 Mar 1998 23:34:16 +0100 (MET)

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<nettime> Kosovo, London Contact Group Meeting

As a member of:
London Based Foreign Correspondents

I got today this:
Kosovo Press Release

Its not my opinion, I just forward it:



UK Presidency of the European Union


1.	We the Foreign Ministers of Contact Group countries, together
with representatives of the European Commission and the Office of the
High Representative, met in London on 9 March to discuss the
increasingly tense situation in Kosovo, Federal Republic of Yugoslavia
(FRY), and the unacceptable use of force over recent days. The Balkans
region has seen too much bloodshed in recent years for the international
community to stand aside.

2.	We recalled that when we met in New York on 24 September 1997,
we voiced deep concern over developments in Kosovo and called on the
authorities in Belgrade and the leadership of the Kosovar Albanian
community to join in a peaceful dialogue.  We are dismayed that in the
period since September, rather than taking steps to reduce tensions or
to enter without preconditions into dialogue toward a political
solution, the Belgrade authorities have applied repressive measures in
Kosovo.  We note with particular concern the recent violence in Kosovo
resulting in at least 80 fatalities and condemn the use of excessive
force by Serbian police against civilians, and against peaceful
demonstrators in Pristina on 2 March.

3.	Our condemnation of the actions of the Serbian police should not
in any way be mistaken for an endorsement of terrorism.  Our position on
this is clear.  We wholly condemn terrorist actions by the Kosovo
Liberation Army or any other group or individual.  Those in the Kosovar
Albanian community who speak for the different political constituencies
should make it clear that they, too, abhor terrorism. We insist likewise
that those outside the FRY who are supplying finance, arms or training
for terrorist activity in Kosovo should immediately cease doing so.

4. We condemn the large-scale police actions of the last 10 days that
further inflamed an already volatile situation.  The violent repression
of non-violent expression of political views is completely indefensible.
We call upon the authorities in Belgrade to invite independent forensic
experts to investigate the very serious allegations of extrajudicial
killings.  If these accusations are borne out, we expect the FRY
authorities to prosecute and punish those responsible.

5.    Our commitment to human rights values means that we cannot ignore
such disproportionate methods of control.  Government authorities have a
special responsibility to protect the human and civil rights of all
citizens and to ensure that public security forces act judiciously and
with restraint.

6.	In the light of the deplorable violence in Kosovo, we feel
compelled to take steps to demonstrate to the authorities in Belgrade
that they cannot defy international standards without facing severe
consequences.  The Contact Group has decided to take a broad range of
action to address the current situation on an urgent basis.  The Contact
Group welcomes the continuation of consultations in the United Nations
Security Council, in view of the implications of the situation in Kosovo
for regional security.  Against that background, the Contact Group:

*	requests a mission to Kosovo by the United Nations High
Commissioner for Human Rights

*	urges the office of the Prosecutor of the ICTY to begin
gathering information related to the violence in Kosovo that may fall
within its jurisdiction.  The FRY authorities have an obligation to
cooperate with the ICTY.  Contact Group countries will make available to
the ICTY substantiated relevant information in their possession

*	supports the proposal for a new mission by Felipe Gonzalez as
the Personal Representative of the OSCE Chairman-in-Office for the FRY
that would include a new and specific mandate for addressing the
problems in Kosovo

*	supports the return of the OSCE long-term missions to Kosovo,
the Sandzak and Vojvodina

*	recommends that the Special Session of the OSCE Permanent
Council meeting on 11 March arrange for Embassies in Belgrade of OSCE
participating states to intensify their visits to Kosovo so as to
provide for a continuous presence

*	will continue vigorously to support Sant'Egidio's efforts to
secure implementation of the Education Agreement, and identify resources
to assist a fair and acceptable arrangement

*	proposes the establishment of an international consortium
including non-Governmental Organisations that would promote
civil-society building in Kosovo and the distribution of humanitarian

*	recognising that neighbouring countries of the FRY have
legitimate security concerns stemming from violence and unrest in
Kosovo, will arrange an urgent meeting of the Contact Group with
representatives of governments in the region to discuss the grave
consequences of an inter-ethnic conflict and its possible spillover to
other parts of the region.  We expect them to do all in their power to
prevent support for terrorism.  The meeting will in particular address:

-	the possible despatch of a short-term OSCE monitoring group to
enhance the ability of the Albania mission's Shkodra field office to
monitor the FRY (Kosovo) border

-	the possible strengthening of the present OSCE mission in Skopje

*	recommends that consideration be given to adapting the current
UNPREDEP mandate, and would support the maintenance of an
international military presence on the ground in the former
Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia when the current mandate of
UNPREDEP expires

*	Will monitor the situation in Kosovo by frequent joint visits to
Pristina by Contact Group and other representatives

7.	At the same time, it is not enough for the killing to stop;  too
much damage has already been done to human life and to the FRY's
credibility.  Because of the gravity of the situation, we endorse the
following measures to be pursued immediately:

a)	UN Security Council consideration of a comprehensive arms
embargo against the FRY, including Kosovo;

b)	Refusal to supply equipment to the FRY which might be used for
internal repression or for terrorism;

    c)	Denial of visas for senior FRY and Serbian representatives
responsible for repressive     action by FRY security forces in Kosovo;

d ) A moratorium on government financed export credit support for trade
and investment, including government financing for privatisations, in

The Contact Group notes that the Russian Federation cannot support
measures c) and d) above for immediate imposition.  But if there is no
progress towards the steps called for by the Contact Group, the Russian
Federation will then be willing to discuss all the above measures.

We call upon President Milosevic to take rapid and effective steps to
stop the violence and engage in a commitment to find a political
solution to the issue of Kosovo through dialogue.  Specifically, he
should within 10 days:

-	Withdraw the special police units and cease action by the
security forces affecting the civilian population.

-	Allow access to Kosovo for the ICRC and other humanitarian
organisations as well as by representatives of the Contact Group and
other Embassies.

-	Commit himself publicly to begin a process of dialogue, along
the lines in paragraph 10, with the leadership of the Kosovar Albanian

-	Cooperate in a constructive manner with the Contact Group in the
implementation of the actions specified in paragraph 6 above which
require action by the FRY government.

If President Milosevic takes these steps, we will immediately reconsider
the measures we have now adopted.  If he fails to take these steps, and
repression continues in Kosovo , the Contact Group will move to further
international measures, and specifically to pursue a freeze on the funds
held abroad by the FRY and Serbian governments.

The Contact Group has decided to meet again on 25 March to assess the
response of the government of the FRY. 

8.  Belgrade's own actions have seriously set back the process of
normalisation of the FRY's relations with the international community.
Unless the FRY takes steps to resolve the serious political and human
rights issues in Kosovo, there is no prospect of any improvement in its
international standing.  On the other hand, concrete progress to resolve
the serious political and human rights issues in Kosovo will improve the
international position of the FRY and prospects for normalisation of its
international relationships and full rehabilitation in international

9.	No one should misunderstand our position on the core issue
involved.  We support neither independence nor the maintenance of the
status quo.  As we have set out clearly, the principles for a solution
of the Kosovo problem should be based on the territorial integrity of
the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, and be in accordance with OSCE
standards, Helsinki principles, and the UN Charter.  Such a solution
also must take into account the rights of the Kosovo Albanians and all
those who live in Kosovo.  We support an enhanced status for those who
live in Kosovo.  We support an enhanced status for Kosovo within the FRY
which a substantially greater degree of autonomy would bring and
recognise that this must include meaningful self-administration.

10.	The way to defeat terrorism in Kosovo is for Belgrade to offer
the Kosovar Albanian community a genuine political process.  The
authorities in Belgrade and the leadership of the Kosovar Albanian
community must assume their responsibility to enter without
preconditions into a meaningful dialogue on political status issues. The
Contact Group stands ready to facilitate such a dialogue.

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