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Gen. Shelton's Statement on Kosovo at NATO Press Conf., Brussels, June 12, 1998

Presenters: Gen. Henry H. Shelton, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
June 12, 1998

I'm here principally to underscore what Secretary Cohen has said...

This has been a very productive series of meetings, both on the pressing issues at hand in Kosovo, and on the longer-range, structural and strategic issues facing the Alliance. Secretary General Solana has reported to you on the great progress that we are making in transforming the Alliance to meet the needs and challenges of the 21st Century.

Clearly the situation in Kosovo was a major item for discussion among my counterparts, the military Chiefs of Defense. Military officers understand very well both the capabilities and the consequences of using military force. Use of military force is never a consideration to be undertaken lightly. It generally means our diplomatic efforts have failed, and there are always negative effects on civilians.

But the Serbian government has already made the choice to use armed force in Kosovo, and their excessive actions have created a crisis not only In Kosovo but also in the countries with which it shares a border. Among my colleagues -- to include the Russian representative -- there is a clear consensus that the violence in Kosovo must end. Both the Serbian government and the people of Kosovo itself must exercise restraint, and work together to achieve a political solution.

  • NATO military commanders today are hard at work developing the details for the upcoming NATO air exercises in Albania and Macedonia, and on the submission or military advice and options to the NATO leadership concerning a range of possible NATO military options in support of our overall objectives: to end the violence in Kosovo, bring the parties together for negotiations, and to maintain the security and stability of the region.
  • NATO's commitment is clear; the violence in Kosovo must stop, and all parties must choose the path of negotiation for a lasting political solution to the issues of governance in Kosovo.

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