Doc. 8149

23 June 1998

Crisis in Kosovo and the situation in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia

Report

Political Affairs Committee

Rapporteurs: Mr András Bársony, Hungary, Socialist Group

      Mr Peter Bloetzer, Switzerland, Group of the European People's Party

Summary

The authorities of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia bear a primary responsibility for the new escalation of violence in Kosovo. The Yugoslav authorities should immediately end their operations harmful to the civilian population and create conditions for the resumption of negotiations with representatives of Kosovo Albanians. The leadership of the Kosovo Albanian community should, on its part, do its utmost to prevent further escalation of violence. No lasting solution for Kosovo is possible without profound democratic changes in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and an immediate follow up should be given to the recommendations made by OSCE Special Envoy Mr González in December 1996.

The Committee of Ministers should closely monitor compliance by the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia with the requests of the international community.

I. Draft recommendation

1.       The Assembly is deeply concerned with the recent degradation of the situation in Kosovo. It reiterates its position expressed in Recommendation 1368 (1998) on latest developments in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and the situation in Kosovo, Recommendation 1360 (1998) on the crisis in Kosovo and Resolution 1146 (1998) on recent developments in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and their implications in the Balkan region.

2.       While their right to protect citizens from terrorist acts cannot be disputed, the authorities of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, and personally President Milosevic, bear a primary responsibility for this new escalation of violence, as the evidence from the ground suggests that the use of force in Kosovo has often been excessive and indiscriminate. The systematic exclusion of international observers from the areas of the conflict makes it difficult to establish whether force has only been used against the perpetrators of terrorist acts or to what extent it has been, directly or indirectly, used against the civilian population.

3.       Those who have committed terrorist acts must also be held responsible for the degradation of the situation and for undermining perspectives to achieve a peaceful solution.

4.       Security throughout Kosovo, for the Albanian population as well as others living in Kosovo, is a pre-condition for the resumption of meaningful negotiations on the future status of Kosovo.

5.       The Yugoslav authorities should immediately end their operations harmful to the civilian population and create conditions for the resumption of negotiations with representatives of Kosovo Albanians.

6.       The leadership of the Kosovo Albanian community should, on its part, do its utmost to prevent further escalation of violence.

7.       No lasting solution for Kosovo is possible without profound democratic changes in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and an immediate follow up should be given to the recommendations made by OSCE Special Envoy Mr González in December 1996.

8.       The Assembly welcomes the victory of the pro-reform parties in Montenegro in the recent parliamentary elections which created an opportunity for a beginning of democratisation in this republic and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia as a whole. President Djukanovic should enjoy the support of the international community provided that he continues to respect his reform commitments. The wide support for the ruling coalition among ethnic Albanians and Muslims in Montenegro is particularly encouraging.

9.       The Assembly calls on President Milosevic to establish political dialogue with the new Montenegrin leadership and abstain from the interference in democratic processes in Montenegro.

10.       The Assembly notes the joint statement issued after the meeting between President Yeltsin and President Milosevic in Moscow on 16 June and calls for full compliance with the commitments that were undertaken.

11.       A positive attitude by the FRY authorities should open the way for gradual and conditional integration of the country into the international community. However, in case of failure to abide by the requests of the international community and the continuation of violence against the civilian population, all options at the disposal of international community, including military ones, should be kept open to prevent further bloodshed.

12.       The Assembly calls on the authorities of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia to:

i. immediately end operations harmful to the civilian population in Kosovo,

ii. reduce its security forces in Kosovo to the minimum necessary for the maintenance of the public order and border control,

iii. agree to the deployment of international observers in Kosovo on a sufficiently large scale to monitor the activities of police, the Yugoslav army, as well as armed groups of ethnic Albanians,

iv. create security and material conditions for the return of refugees and displaced persons,

v. allow international humanitarian organisation effective free access to all parts of Kosovo,

vi. resume unconditional negotiations with representatives of the Kosovo Albanian community and refrain from acts which could undermine their normal continuation,

vii. commit themselves to the implementation of a programme of democratic reforms to be elaborated on the basis of recommendations made by Mr González in December 1996.

13.       The Assembly calls on the leadership of the Kosovo Albanians:

i. condemn perpetrators of terrorist acts,

ii. do their utmost to prevent a further escalation of violence,

iii. use their political influence for the disarmament of the «Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA/UCK)»,

iv. agree to the resumption of talks, once the operations affecting the civilian population cease,

v. establish dialogue with the representatives of Kosovo Serbs and others to order to promote inter-ethnic tolerance and build confidence.

14.       The Assembly calls on the neighbouring countries to make an effective effort to:

i. prevent, in the co-operation with the international community, the smuggling of arms to Kosovo,

ii. co-operate with relevant international agencies to provide assistance to refugees.

15. The Assembly recommends to the Committee of Ministers to:

i. closely monitor the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia’s compliance with the requests of the international community,

ii. prepare specific proposals for the Council of Europe’s continuing active presence and assistance concerning democratic reforms in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, recommended in the González report, to be carried out in particular with representatives of the civil society and other forces committed to promote democracy, human rights and minority protection in the country .

II.       Draft Order

      The Assembly, referring to its Recommendation …. on the crisis in Kosovo and the situation in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, instructs its competent Committees to organise an international conference on the situation of refugees and displaced persons in Kosovo.

III.       Explanatory memorandum

A.       Introduction

1. On 23 April 1998 the Assembly adopted Recommendation 1368 in which it resolved to remain actively seized on the issue of Kosovo, and to send a delegation to visit Belgrade, Pristina and Podgorica as soon as possible.

2. The visit took place from 10-12 June 1998. Following a proposal made by the Bureau of the Assembly, the delegation was composed of the Rapporteurs for the Political Affairs Committee on the situation in the FRY MM van der Linden and Bloetzer, the Rapporteur for opinion for the Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights Mr Akçali, and myself as the Chairman of the Political Affairs Committee and Rapporteur on the crisis in Kosovo.

3. The visit coincided with the deterioration of the situation in Kosovo, provoked by the large scale operations of the Serbian security forces which affected civilian population and resulted in an important flow of displaced persons within the FRY and refugees to Albania.

4. Following the escalation of violence, the leadership of the Kosovo Albanians suspended the recently started talks with Belgrade authorities.

5. The international community responded to the crisis by requesting from President Milosevic to immediately end the violence, withdrew its special police troops and create conditions for the resumption of talks. Previously suspended sanctions against the FRY were re-introduced and military options, including air strikes, are started to be explored.

6. A meeting between the Russian President Yeltsin and the President of the FRY, Mr Milosevic, took place on Tuesday, 16 June 1998. The joint statement issued after the meeting is appended as annex 3.

7. This report will be debated in the Assembly following the request for urgent procedure debate by the Group of the European People’s Party and the Liberal, Democratic and Reformers group.

8. The delegation would wish to thank the Greek Ambassador in Belgrade and his collaborators for the assistance they provided in the organisation of this mission.

B.       Meetings in Belgrade (Wednesday, 10 June)

Working lunch hosted by the Greek Ambassador1

9. A majority of the present diplomats agreed on the following:

10. Tensions were mainly alongside the border with Albania. Diplomats went the day before to some areas where clashes had taken place. They saw extensive damage on buildings, but no evidence of the use of artillery. The authorities said that no civilians were involved. In the last few days, the situation had calmed down to some extent.
11. The Kosovo Albanians demanded the withdrawal of police and army before talks could resume. The international community had requested free access for international observers and humanitarian organisations to all parts of Kosovo. The authorities and a majority of political parties in Belgrade were critical of the role of the international community, accusing it of supporting terrorism and separatism.

12. Results of the recent elections in Montenegro had been recognised by Mr Bulatovic, the leader of the Socialist People’s Party, federal Prime Minister and an ally of President Milosevic. However, tensions remained between Belgrade and Podgorica.

13. With regard to the democratisation, the situation had worsened to some extent recently, notably with the new law on higher education abolishing the autonomy of the university, and the restrictive distribution of broadcasting licences for independent electronic media.

14. The pressure to continue dialogue should also be exerted on the Kosovo Albanian side. The authorities were interested in signing the Framework Convention on the Protection of National Minorities because it suited them to treat Kosovo as a minority issue, which the Kosovo Albanian side refused.

15. The size of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) was difficult to assess. The core, with few thousand people, was well organised. It was unlikely that Mr Milosevic would accept the González mission. He was personally intimidated by Mr González.

16. Since the latest eruption of violence, the number of people joining the KLA had reportedly multiplied by three.

17. The Serbian government kept some 40 000 policemen in Kosovo. Although they were well paid, some had begun to refuse to go there. The price of the operation was some 1,7 million USD per day, not counting the expenses for the stay.

18. No long term solution for Kosovo was possible without deep democratic changes in Serbia and the FRY as a whole.

19. Some diplomatic representatives also spoke against the isolation of the country and questioned the utility of a military intervention. The role of the Parliamentary Assembly was stressed as particularly important, as it promoted dialogue.

Mr Ivica Dacic (Socialist Party of Serbia) and Mr Milan Bozic (Serb Renewal Movement), members of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Federal Assembly

20. The authorities of Serbia were fully committed to a peaceful resolution of the Kosovo problem. However, they would continue to use all means at their disposal to fight terrorism and to protect their borders. Kosovo was an internal matter of Serbia and would be resolved within Serbia. The territorial integrity of Serbia, not the FRY, should be protected. The international community had never condemned terrorism and had never asked the Albanian side to give up on its demand for independence.

21. The FRY was interested in its full re-integration in the international community, including the Council of Europe, but refused to abide by the rules of an organisation it was not yet a member of.

22. All security operations in Kosovo were against terrorists. 18 policemen, 5 soldiers and a number of Kosovo Albanians had been killed since the beginning of this year. A house used to shoot at police was no longer a civilian target. It was cynical to talk about the ethnic cleansing in Kosovo, because it was known that at the beginning of the century there had been more Serbs living there than Albanians. Moreover, the international community had remained silent when Krajina Serbs had been chased from their homes in August 1995.

23. Serbia would never accept an independent Kosovo. Short of that, constitution could be changed and all existing forms of autonomy were acceptable. They were against international mediation, because of bad experiences. It would end in arbitration, imposing solutions violating the territorial integrity of Serbia.

Mr Minic, President of the Chamber of Citizens of the Federal Assembly

24. Interested in joining the Council of Europe, all obligations resulting from membership, particularly with regard to human rights and the rights of minorities were acceptable.

25. Kosovo was an integral part of Serbia. A solution had to be found within the existing borders of Serbia, without foreign mediation.

26. The authorities were ready to resume dialogue. A delegation of the Serbian government had been in Pristina 13 times. When the dialogue had finally started following the meeting between President Milosevic and Mr Rugova, the Kosovo Albanian side had withdrawn. After the break up of talks terrorist attacks had begun to escalate. 439 terrorist attacks had taken place since the beginning of the year, as compared to 573 for a seven year period before. 32 policemen and 64 civilians had been killed. Neither an independent Kosovo nor a third republic was acceptable. Everything else was possible.

Mr Draskovic, the leader of the Serb Renewal Movement (SPO)

27. Serbs would never accept changes to the borders of Serbia. As Dayton agreement had prevented the creation of ethnic “mini-states” the same should apply to Kosovo. Serbia was suffering from sanctions although it was a victim of aggression. The SPO negotiated the participation in the Serbian government, but had pulled out when Mr Milosevic had refused to agree to a full co-operation with the Hague Tribunal. In addition to Kosovo Albanians and Serbs, many other nationalities lived in Kosovo. The status quo was a part of the deal between Mr Milosevic and Mr Rugova. The creation of a shadow state had benefited Mr Milosevic. If Albanians had participated in the elections in Serbia and on the federal level, the domination of the SPS would have been seriously challenged.

Ms Vesna Pesic (Civic Alliance of Serbia), Mr Zoran Djindjic, (Democratic Party of Serbia)

28. Basic rights of the Kosovo Albanian population, but also of young policemen and soldiers were not protected. Hundreds of policemen rejected to go to Kosovo. Parents of recruits were demanding that their children were not sent there. People were not ready to go and fight for Kosovo, but neither would they agree that borders change.

29. Any long lasting solution would require profound democratic changes, which would make Serbia “attractive” for ethnic Albanians. This could happen relatively quickly. The example was Montenegro, where 6 months after Mr Djukanovic came into power, a large majority of the Albanian population had voted for his party and not for the two ethnic Albanian parties.

30. Accession to the Council of Europe had been requested in a very inappropriate moment. The problem was how to avoid air strikes, not how to join the institution which symbolised the protection of human rights and democracy.

Mr Zivadin Jovanovic, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the FRY (meeting on Friday at 7 pm, upon return from Pristina)

31. The FRY authorities were resolved to find a peaceful solution to the Kosovo crisis. Some 80,000 ethnic Albanians were peacefully living in Belgrade, while those in Kosovo refused to take part in public and political life. Participation in elections would give them an important influence both at the federal and the Serbian level, while they would dominate at the local level. It should also be noted that in addition to Kosovo Albanians, there were also ethnic Serbs, Roma, Muslims, Turks and others living in Kosovo.

32. The present escalation of violence followed the meeting between President Milosevic and the Albanian Prime Minister Fatos Nano in November last year. All casualties since February this year had occurred when the security forces legitimately responded to the terrorist threat. A number of policemen, soldiers, state employees and civilians; Serbs, Albanians and others had been killed in Kosovo, two policemen as late as today. The authorities were undertaking all necessary measures to repair the houses damaged in the fighting to enable refugees to return to their homes.

33. The Kosovo Albanians had first postponed talks – due to a visit of Mr Rugova in Washington, - and later withdrawn at the moment when confidence-building measures should have been discussed. The authorities were implementing the education agreement, in spite of the resistance among Kosovo Serbs.

C.       Meetings in Podgorica (Thursday, 11 June)

Ms Milica Pejanovic Djurisic, Chairman of the Democratic Party of Socialists of Mr Djukanovic

34. The crisis in Montenegro had been triggered by the attempts to modify the constitutional arrangements in the federation. Kosovo problem could only be resolved on lasting basis through democratisation of Serbia and the FRY as a whole. The process of reforms in Montenegro was well under way and, they would wish to expand this process throughout the FRY. Kosovo had never been discussed in the Federal Assembly although Montenegrin representatives had demanded such debate. Although not directly involved in the conflict, Montenegro was ready to help. No conscripts from Montenegro should go to Kosovo, if the Army would get involved. The solution was in a high level of autonomy. Anything going beyond that would start a chain reaction involving Sandjak, Vojvodina, the Republika Srpska, the Albanian community in Macedonia etc. However, independence was a maximum objective, and Albanians would be ready to settle for less. Serbia badly needed democratic reforms, but there was nobody to carry out such reforms. Mr Milosevic had no democratic alternatives.

Mr Predrag Bulatovic, Vice-President of the Socialist People’s Party – Mr Bulatovic (SPS)

35. The party won 29 seats in the new parliament, compared to 42 of the ruling coalition. They recognised the results of the parliamentary elections but not the presidential ones. Mr Djukanovic was against the FRY. He was also a sponsor of the organised crime. He received 100% of votes from ethnic Albanians and Muslims, which was encouraging Serbian nationalism in Montenegro. Mr Djukanovic intended to change the way the Montenegrin representatives in the federal Chamber of Republics were appointed by applying the majority principle instead of proportional one. This would eliminate the SPS from the representation at the federal level, which was undemocratic and unconstitutional. The supporters would not accept this and there was a serious risk of conflicts. On the Kosovo issue the party’s position was identical to the one of the ruling party in Serbia.

Mr Slavko Perovic, the leader of the Liberal Party of Montenegro

36. The elections were neither free nor fair. Mr Djukanovic had total control of police and media, and obtained financial means through smuggling of cigarettes. However, the Liberal Party would support Mr Djukanovic in his intentions to re-integrate Montenegro into Europe. Kosovo had been occupied, and silent ethnic cleansing had been taking place. They supported all efforts of the international community to solve the problem, although it would seem that independence was the only remaining realistic option. The existing FRY was a time bomb and a burden for all peoples living in it. Pressure should be exerted on Mr Djukanovic to make sure the course of reforms was not abandoned. With time Montenegro could become a positive example for Serbia.

Mr Reka Reskovic, People’s Party of Montenegro

37. The ruling coalition had won at the last parliamentary elections through the integration of votes of ethnic Albanians and Muslims. This was the first time an ethnic group had more confidence in a political leadership of an ethnic group other than their own. On Kosovo the party supported international mediation and isolation of Mr Milosevic. With regard to military options, the party would support all decision of the UN Security Council. The changes in the representation of the Montenegrin parliament from proportional to majority were necessary to protect Montenegrin interests. Without this, Mr Milošević would be free to change the FRY constitution in any way it would suit him.

Mr Zarko Rakcevic, leader of the Social Democratic Party of Montenegro

38. The programme of the party was a multi-cultural and multi-confessional Montenegro. They expected that legal, political and media pressure and violence on Montenegro would continue. Mr Milosevic was centralising the FRY to deprive Montenegro off all autonomy. They had joined a coalition which included the People’s Party – which had made a u-turn on the subject of democracy - and the DPS of President Djukanovic, which they supported as long as the course of reforms would be followed. They criticised Mr Djukanovic’s decision to take part in the recent meeting of the Supreme Defence Council of the FRY, where he had met with Mr Miloševic and Mr Bulatovic. On Kosovo, both sides should abandon their extreme positions, and no borders should be changed without consensus. With the continuation of repression, the option of independence was gaining cause, but this would only bring new problems.

Luigj Juncaj, the Democratic Union of Albanians

39. The party was representing the interests of ethnic Albanians in Montenegro. They supported the reform programme of President Djukanovic. An agreement had been signed before the presidential elections in October, and a number of commitments of the ruling party to the Albanian community had been fulfilled, such as a democratic media law and in the broadcasting in Albanian language.

40. With regard to Kosovo, but it should be noted that Kosovo had had its borders and autonomy before the constitutional changes in 1990 and 1991. Nobody should pre-judge the final result of negotiations. Many refugees had arrived and were taken care of by families. The problem was that they had no status.

Mr Mehmet Bardhi, leader of the Democratic League of Montenegro

41. The party was representing ethnic Albanians. They had taken part in all multi-party elections since 1990, with varying results. Until this year, there had been very little understanding for the problems of the Albanian community, and none of the proposals made by the Albanian political representatives had passed in the parliament 1997. In the new parliament they had one mandate, with the second Albanian party also having one. This was much less than expected, as many votes of ethnic Albanians had been taken by the ruling coalition, which had made unrealistic pre-election promises.

42. There were no political leaders in Kosovo who could agree to Kosovo remaining in the FRY. Kosovo had been one of the eight federal units in the former Yugoslavia.

Mr Svetozar Marovic, the Speaker of the Parliament of Montenegro

43. Montenegro was and wanted to remain a part of the FRY. However, profound democratic reforms were needed. This was also a pre-condition for a lasting solution for Kosovo. This should be found without changing the existing border, perhaps with a high level of autonomy within Serbia and with some sort of representation at the federal level. Air strikes against military objectives would only consolidate the position of Mr Milosevic, who always had known to benefit from the suffering of his people. In addition the Yugoslav army had given assurances that it had not been and had no intentions to get involved in the Kosovo crisis.

Mr Branko Perovic, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Montenegro

44. The recent events in Kosovo had strengthened the support for Milosevic in Serbia. In Montenegro, ethnic Albanians were well integrated in the administration and were likely to get one of the ministerial posts in the new government. The government was concerned by the fact that new United States sanctions would also apply to Montenegro.

Mr Milo Djukanovic, President of Montenegro

45. President Milosevic should be held personally responsible for the situation in Kosovo. Measures taken against the population, whether they be sanctions or air strikes, risked to be counter-productive. The response of the international community to the doings of President Milosevic had been insufficient and non-synchronised. No lasting solution of the Kosovo crisis was possible without deep democratic reforms in Serbia. The reforms started in Montenegro could be used as an example for Serbia. Responsibility should also be personalised on the Albanian side and terrorism should be condemned.

46. Until today the Yugoslav Army had carried out its duties in accordance with the constitution, which included the control of the FRY borders. The Army should legally be under the command of a Supreme Defence Council composed of Mr Milosevic, as the FRY President, Mr Djukanovic as the President of Montenegro, Mr Milutinovic, as the President of Serbia, Mr Bulatovic as the Federal Prime Minister and the Chief of Staff of the FRY Army, general Perisic. With the support of MM Milutinovic and Bulatovic Mr Milosevic controlled the Supreme Defence Council. However, army commanders were opposed to any involvement of the army in the conflict in Kosovo. If this should change, Montenegro would withdraw its conscripts from the troops stationed in Kosovo.

47. He was honoured to accept the invitation to meet with President Fischer on the first mutually convenient occasion.

D.       Meetings in Pristina (Friday, 12 June)

Mr Joseph Hegenauer, acting chief of UNHCR Mission Pristina

48. It was difficult to estimate the real number of refugees. Local sources always inflated the figures. UNHCR’s latest estimate was from two weeks ago - 42 000 displaced in Kosovo, 12 000 in Albania, and 8 000 in Montenegro. The figures were rough estimates as many refugees stayed close to their homes, returned and fled again, which led to double registrations. There was a lot of fluctuation. International agencies had no access to many areas of conflict. For the time being there was no starvation, but sanitary problems were serious. The situation would deteriorate if no solution was found before autumn when it got cold.

49. In places where they had succeeded to approach, the pattern of destruction had been different than for example in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Houses seemed to be targeted selectively, and they did not see evidence of systematic destruction. Not all people left and many were hiding nearby, returning occasionally. Armed Kosovo Albanians they met were usually civilians who did not give an impression of being a trained and centrally commanded military formation.

Fehmi Agani, LDK, Edita Tahiri, LDK, Blerim Shala, journalist Pajazit Nushi, human rights activist, Bajram Kelmendi, lawyer

50. The present represented a part of the group G-15, set up to advise Mr Rugova in talks with the authorities. A smaller group, directly participating in talks, also existed.

51. The reasons for the suspension of talks were the operations against civilians which had caused numerous casualties, dozens of villages had been destroyed and up to 100 000 people forced to flee.

52. The condition for the resumption of negotiations was an immediate end to operations against civilian population.

53. They had no control over armed groups. However, this did not include villagers armed for self-protection. These people continued to support negotiations if and when the violence against civilian population stopped. With a prospect for a viable solution, the entirety of armed groups could be controlled.

54. The only form of terrorism in Kosovo was state terrorism against civilian population. The Kosovo Liberation Army was a result of systematic repression against Kosovo Albanians through the years.

55. Kosovo had been one of the eight federal units in the former Yugoslavia. Its people had the right to self-determination, and had opted for independence at the referendum. By insisting on the territorial integrity of the FRY, the international community was pre-judging the outcome. Any negotiated solution should be accepted. In 1974 Kosovo had more than autonomy, but no guarantees that such a status would be preserved.

56. The Kosovo parliament, elected in the last elections not recognised by the authorities, would soon convene.

Meeting with Albanian political parties in Kosovo

57. (Albanian Christian Democratic Party of Kosovo) Kosovo was in a state of war. Only state terrorism existed. The Kosovo Liberation Army was not a terrorist organisation but a people’s army. All parties in Kosovo were committed to a peaceful solution.

58. (Social democratic Party of Kosovo) Committed to a peaceful solution – an international protectorate for Kosovo.

59. (Liberal Party of Kosovo) A visit to Pristina not enough to get a real picture of the situation. The international community should intervene to impose peace and negotiations, not to kill Serbs.

60. (Albanian National Democratic Party) Serbia’s interest for Kosovo was purely economic. All parties demanded to be represented in the G-15 group.

E.       Conclusions

61. The FRY authorities, and personally President Milosevic, bear a primary responsibility for the recent degradation of the situation in Kosovo. While the right of the authorities to protect its citizens from terrorist acts cannot be disputed, the evidence on the ground suggests that the use of force has often been excessive and indiscriminate.

62. The systematic exclusion of international observers from the areas of the conflict makes it difficult to establish whether the force has indeed been used against the perpetrators of terrorist acts and to what extent it has been, directly or indirectly, used against the civilian population

63. Security throughout Kosovo, for the Albanian population as well as for others living in Kosovo, is a pre-condition for the resumption of meaningful negotiations on the future status of Kosovo. This necessitates an immediate end to operations affecting the civilian population, deployment of international observers on a sufficiently large scale to monitor the activities of police, the Yugoslav army, as well as armed groups of ethnic Albanians. An effective effort by the neighbouring countries and the international community is required to prevent the smuggling of arms across the borders, particularly from Albania, where most of the weapons used in the conflict by the Kosovo Albanians reportedly originate.

64. The number of the Serbian special police troops in Kosovo is estimated at around 40 000 men. These are used not only against those responsible for terrorist activities, but also against armed and unarmed civilians staying behind in their villages to protect their homes when their families flee. In accordance with the requests of the international community, these troops should be withdrawn from Kosovo.

65. The Albanian leadership should condemn the perpetrators of terrorist acts and do their utmost to prevent further escalation of violence. They should agree to an immediate resumption of talks, once the operations affecting the civilian population cease.

66. The Yugoslav authorities, in close co-operation with the relevant international agencies, should create conditions for the return of refugees. The international humanitarian agencies should have full access to all parts of Kosovo.

67. On the substance of talks both sides remain far apart. However, the authorities said that they would agree to change the constitution and to give Kosovo the highest possible level of autonomy, provided that Serbia's borders do not change.

68. On the other side, while insisting on independence, the representatives of Kosovo Albanians did not categorically refuse any other solution which could result from negotiations.

69. No lasting solution for Kosovo is possible without profound democratic changes in Serbia and the FRY as a whole. A programme of democratic reforms based on the recommendations of Mr González, notably in the field of media, human rights, minorities, education, judiciary, police, local authority and electoral law, should be elaborated and implemented.

70. The victory of the coalition supporting President Djukanovic in Montenegro created an opportunity for the implementation of democratic reforms in this republic. Their success could have a positive spill-over effect for Serbia. President Djukanovic should enjoy the support of the international community provided that he continues to respect his reform commitments. The wide support for the ruling coalition among ethnic Albanians and Muslims in Montenegro is particularly encouraging.

71. The Committee of Ministers should follow closely the compliance by the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia authorities with the requests of the international community. A positive attitude by the FRY authorities should open the way for gradual and conditional integration of the country into the international community.

72. In case of failure to abide by the requests of the international community and the continuation of violence against the civilian population, all options at the disposal of international community, including military ones, should be kept open to prevent further bloodshed.

Reporting committee: Political Affairs Committee.

Budgetary implications for the Assembly: to be assessed.

Draft recommendation and draft order adopted by the committee unanimously on 23 June 1998.

Members of the committee: Mr Bársony (Chairman), Mr van der Linden (Vice Chairman), Mrs Ojuland (Vice-Chairperson), Mr Baumel (Vice-Chairman), MM Antretter, Atkinson, Mrs. Belohorska, MM Bergqvist, Bernardini, Björck, Bloetzer, Chircop, Chornovil, Daly, Davis (alternate : Lord Judd), Diacov (alternate : Mr Nedelciuc), Dokle, Domljan (alternate : Mr Obuljen), Gjellerod, Gül, Hadjidemetriou, Hornhues, Mrs Iotti, Irmer, Iwínski, Kalus, Mrs Kautto, MM Kirilov, Krzaklewski, Kuzmickas, Mrs Lentz-Cornette, MM Lopez-Henares, Lupu, van der Maelen, Maginas, Martínez, Medeiros Ferreira, Meier, Mota Amaral, Mühlemann, Mutman, Nallet, Nemeth, Oliynik, Pahor, Palmitjavilo Ribo, Popovski, Prusak, Mrs Ragnarsdóttir, Mrs Roudy (alternate : Mr Lemoine), MM Schieder, Schwimmer, Seguin, Selva, Shokhin, Sinka, Mrs G Smith, Mrs Stanoiu, Mrs Stepova, MM Thoresen, Toshev, Urbain, Volcic, Vrettos, Woltjer, Ziuganov (alternate Mr Zhebrovsky).

N.B. The names of the members who took part in the meeting are printed in italics.

Secretaries of the Committee: Mr Kleijssen, Mr Sich and Mr Gruden

Annex 1

Programme of the visit of an Assembly delegation to

Belgrade, Pristina and Podgorica

10-12 June 1998

Wednesday, 10 June

11.45 am       Arrival MM Akçali, Gruden, Ferrer from Zurich

12.20 am       Arrival Mr Bársony from Vienna

16.30 pm       Arrival Mr van der Linden from Düsseldorf1

13.30 pm       Working lunch, hosted by the Greek ambassador in Belgrade, with diplomatic representatives of Contact Group Countries, Hungary, Spain, Switzerland and Turkey (residence of the Greek ambassador)

16.00-17.30 pm       Meeting with members of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the FRY Assembly, Mr Dacic, ( also Chairman of the Information Committee of the FRY Assembly), and Mr Milan Bozic, (also member of the Committee for Federal Political and Economic Relations of the FRY Assembly )(Federal Assembly)

17.30-18.30 pm       Meeting with Mr Minic, President of the Chamber of Citizens of the FRY Assembly

18.45-19.15 pm       Meeting with Mr Draskovic, leader of the Serb Renewal Movement (SPO) (residence of the Greek ambassador)

19.45-20.15 pm       Meeting with Mr Djindjic, leader of the Democratic Party and Mrs Pesic, leader of the Civic Alliance (residence of the Greek ambassador)

21.15 pm       Departure for Podgorica

______________________________________________________________

1 Mr Bloetzer joined the delegation on Thursday evening

Thursday, 11 June

9.00 am       Meetings with political parties represented in the new parliament of Montenegro - Democratic Party of Socialists (Mr Djukanovic), Socialist People’s Party ( Mr Bulatovic), Liberal Party of Montenegro, People's Party of Montenegro, Social Democratic Party of Montenegro, Democratic Union of Albanians, Democratic League of Montenegro.

14.30 pm       Meeting and working lunch with Mr Svetozar Marovic, President of the Parliament of Montenegro

16.00 pm       Meeting with Mr Branko Perovic, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Montenegro

16.30 pm       Meeting with Mr Milo Djukanovic, President of Montenegro

18.40 pm       Departure from Podgorica for Belgrade

Friday, 12 June

7.05 am       Departure for Pristina with cars put at the delegation's disposal by the Greek Embassy

12.00 am       Meeting with Mr Joseph Hegenauer, UNHCR, Pristina

      (UNHCR headquarters)

13.00 pm       Meeting with members of the group G-15, set up to advise the negotiating team representing the Kosovo Albanian Community for talks with the Belgrade authorities

      (LDK headquarters)

14.00 pm       Meeting with representatives of Kosovo Albanian political parties - Albanian Christian Democratic Party of Kosovo, Social Democratic Party of Kosovo, Liberal Party of Kosovo, Albanian National Democratic party

15.00 pm       Departure for Belgrade

19.00 pm       Meeting with the FRY Foreign Minister, Mr Zivorad Jovanovic

Saturday, 13 June

Departure from Belgrade

Annex 2

Press Release

Assembly delegation heading for Belgrade, Podgorica and Pristina

STRASBOURG, 09.06.98 – A delegation of the Parliamentary Assembly of the COUNCIL OF EUROPE (*) is to visit Belgrade and Pristina from 10 to 12 June to help stop the violence in Kosovo and restore dialogue between the two sides in the conflict. In Podgorica, the parliamentarians will meet the President of Montenegro, Milo DJUKANOVIĆ, and all the political parties represented in Parliament following the elections on 31 May.

“I am appalled by the violence which the Yugoslav army and the Serbian security forces are inflicting on the civilian population in Kosovo,” declared the President of the Parliamentary Assembly, Leni FISCHER (Germany, PPE/DC). “Resolving the conflict demands an immediate cessation of hostilities and the resumption of talks. Without dialogue, the extremists will seize control of the situation and the conflict will get out of hand,” she added. “The delegation will also be visiting Podgorica in order to express the Assembly’s support for the democratic reforms initiated by the new authorities. Extending these reforms to the whole of Yugoslavia would, in our opinion, be the best way of ensuring the country’s stability,” she concluded.

The mission comes in response to the desire expressed by the Assembly last April to “remain actively seized on the issue [i.e. the crisis in Kosovo] and to send a delegation to visit Belgrade, Pristina and Podgorica as soon as possible”. In its Recommendation 1368(98), it stressed that “the solution [to the crisis] could be a greater autonomy for Kosovo, within a democratically reformed FRY”. Such autonomy should ensure that the human rights of all the ethnic groups present in Kosovo were observed.

* * *

Provisional programme of the delegation:

10 June 1998: arrival in Belgrade (morning). Talks with representatives of the Yugoslav Federal Parliament, the Government and the opposition. Meetings with the ambassadors of the member countries of the Council of Europe and the Contact Group. Departure for the capital of Montenegro (evening).

11 June 1998: In Podgorica, talks with the President of the Republic, the President of the Parliament, members of the Government and representatives of the political parties represented in the new parliament.

Meeting with the press at 4 p.m. in Villa Gorica.

12 June 1998: Return to Belgrade (morning) and departure for Pristina. Talks with the President of the Democratic League of Kosovo and other members of the team responsible for negotiating with the authorities in Belgrade. Consultations with representatives of the UN agency responsible for refugees. Return to Belgrade (evening) and meeting with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the FRY.

----------------------------------------

(*) Members of the delegation:

András BÁRSONY, (Hungary, SOC), Chairman of the Political Affairs Committee of the Parliamentary Assembly; Peter BLOETZER (Switzerland, PPE/DC) and René van der LINDEN (Netherlands, PPE/DC), members of the Political Affairs Committee; Cevdet AKCALI (Turkey, GDE), member of the Committee on Legal Affairs.

Annex 3

JOINT STATEMENT BY MR SLOBODAN MILOŠEVIĆ

PRESIDENT OF THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF YUGOSLAVIA,

AND MR BORIS NIKOLAYEVICH YELTSIN, PRESIDENT OF

THE RUSSIAN FEDERATION

      Both Presidents reaffirm their principled stand on the necessity of preservation of the territorial integrity and respect of sovereignty of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and condemn all forms of terrorism, separatism and armed activity affecting the civilian population.

      Aiming at stabilising the situation in Kosovo and Metohija, the Yugoslav side expresses its readiness to:

-       Resolve by political means the existing problems, on the basis of equality of all citizens and national communities in Kosovo and Metohija;

-       With a view to that goal, to pursue without delay the talks between the state delegation and the delegation of political parties of Albanians from Kosovo and Metohija, which were initiated by the meeting of President Milošević and the Kosovo Albanian leader Dr Ibrahim Rugova. The talks on the whole complex of problems in Kosovo and Metohija, including forms of autonomy, will be held without interruption, in accordance with the timetable already set by the two sides, in order to achieve a substantial and rapid progress:

-       No repressive measures will be undertaken affecting the civilian population;

-       In order to foster confidence-building measures, full freedom of movement on the whole territory of Kosovo and Metohija is ensured;

-       There will not be restrictions imposed for the appreciation of the situation by diplomatic representatives of foreign countries and international organisations, accredited in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia;

-       Unimpeded access by humanitarian organisations, namely the ICRC and UNHCR, and realisation of humanitarian deliveries on the aforesaid territory is guaranteed;

-       The unimpeded return of all displaced persons and refugees is announced, on the basis of programmes, co-ordinated with the UNHCR and ICRC. The state will render its assistance in the rebuilding of damaged houses;

-       Depending on the degree of ceasing of terrorist activities, the security forces will reduce their presence outside locations of their permanent encampment;

-       It is announced that the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia is ready to undertake simultaneously talks with the OSCE on accepting its mission in Kosovo and Metohija and on the renewal of membership of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia in that organisation.

      Both Presidents reaffirmed their firm commitment to develop comprehensive co-operation, in the interest of peoples of both countries, peace and stability in Europe.

Moscow, 16 June 1998


1 Ambassadors of Hungary, Poland, Spain, diplomatic representatives from Germany, Italy, Switzerland, Turkey, United States and United Kingdom,