G8 Foreign Ministers' Meetings

CONTACT GROUP JOINT STATEMENT:
KOSOVO

12 June 1998

  1. Foreign Ministers of the Contact Group, meeting together with the Foreign Ministers of Canada and Japan, turned from their discussion of the recent nuclear tests carried out by India and Pakistan to address the serious deterioration of the situation in Kosovo which represents a significant threat to regional security and peace.

  2. Ministers repeated that no solution to the problems of Kosovo can be found through violence. The parties must take urgent steps to end the violence and bring about a political solution to the crisis.

  3. Security forces have again intervened indiscriminately causing many civilian casualties and forcing tens of thousands of inhabitants to flee their homes. Ministers condemned Belgrade's massive and disproportionate use of force which has resulted in widespread destruction and the deliberate displacement of large numbers of people. They also condemned the failure by Belgrade to take concrete steps to reduce tensions. Ministers therefore decided to put to the authorities in Belgrade a set of essential points on which they require immediate action to prevent any further deterioration in the situation. These cover concrete measures:
    • to cease all action by the security forces affecting the civilian population and order the withdrawal of security units used for civilian repression;
    • to enable effective and continuous international monitoring in Kosovo and allow unimpeded access for monitors;
    • to facilitate, in agreement with UNHCR and ICRC, the full return to their homes of refugees and displaced persons

  4. Ministers expect the Kosovo Albanian leadership to make clear its rejection of violence and acts of terrorism. It is essential that Kosovo Albanian extremists refrain from further violent attacks. A political dialogue is unlikely to take root if violence continues to be espoused by members of the Kosovo Albanian community. Our governments will work with others, including in the region, to ensure that all those seeking to escalate the crisis through violence are denied financial and material support. Ministers also expressed support for those in the Kosovo Albanian leadership who are committed to peaceful dialogue.

  5. Ministers insist that the fighting stop and effective dialogue,capable of producing meaningful early results, resume quickly. Belgrade and the Kosovo Albanian leadership must agree to a continuous dialogue to discuss confidence-building measures and to find a political solution to the problems of Kosovo, with international involvement. There must be a clear time-table for rapid progress, and President Milosevic, as President of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, has a special responsibility to ensure that steps are taken to achieve a political solution.

  6. Ministers expect that Belgrade will take the steps in paragraph 3 above immediately. They welcomed the invitation by President Yeltsin to President Milosevic to a meeting on 16 June. They stressed the importance of President Milosevic taking advantage of this meeting to announce progress on the above steps and to commit Belgrade to their implementation in full. If the steps in paragraph 3 are not taken without delay, there will be moves to further measures to halt the violence and protect the civilian population, including those that may require the authorisation of a United Nations Security Council resolution.

  7. In the meantime, faced with the growing crisis in Kosovo, Ministers also:
    • urged the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) to undertake a rapid and thorough investigation of any possible violations of international humanitarian law in Kosovo;
    • agreed to give active support to UNHCR and other humanitarian organisations dealing with the humanitarian cost of this crisis in the region;
    • undertook to accelerate efforts to assist neighbouring countries to improve their security and to cope with the humanitarian burden imposed upon them.

  8. The Foreign Ministers of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom and the United States confirmed their decision to implement the ban on new investment in Serbia and to freeze funds held abroad by the FRY and Serbian governments, and agreed to take steps to ban flights by Yugoslav carriers between the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and their countries. Japan supported this approach and agreed to consider similar action. The Russian Federation does not associate itself with these measures.

  9. Ministers again underlined the importance of the early launching of the mission of the Special Representative of the Chairman-in-Office of the OSCE in order to establish a dialogue across the full range of the FRY's relations with the OSCE, and of the return of the long term OSCE missions.

  10. Ministers will review these decisions in the light of developments.


Source: Released at the Foreign Ministers/Contact Group Meeting, London, England, June 12, 1998


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