[Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: William J. Clinton (1998, Book II)] [September 2, 1998] [Pages 1501-1502] [From the U.S. Government Publishing Office www.gpo.gov]
Joint Statement on the Situation in Kosovo September 2, 1998 The Presidents of the United States and the Russian Federation noted with concern that the situation in Kosovo continues to deteriorate, causing growing alarm among the world public about the growing negative consequences for regional stability. Despite extensive attempts of the Contact Group, OSCE, and other international institutions, there has not yet been success in achieving an end to the armed clashes and senseless bloodshed and in initiating serious and meaningful negotiations between the authorities in Belgrade and leaders of Kosovo Albanians that would make it possible to agree promptly on measures to build confidence and security in the province as an interim step on the way to a final settlement of the Kosovo problem including the definition of the status of enhanced Kosovo self-government with strict respect for the territorial integrity of the FRY. The escalation of tension in Kosovo inflicts heavy suffering on innocent civilians. Over 200,000 people were forced to leave their homes as the result of armed clashes. The situation is aggravated by large- scale destruction of houses, food shortages, and the risk of epidemic disease. The threat of humanitarian catastrophe is becoming ever more real. Slobodan Milosevic, as President of the FRY, must order a halt to all repressive actions against the civilian population in Kosovo. All violence by all Kosovo Albanian armed groups must cease immediately. President Milosevic and the Kosovo Albanian leadership must intensify the negotiating process. Urgent measures should be taken promptly to prevent humanitarian catastrophe in Kosovo. Necessary conditions should be created without delay for the refugees and displaced persons to return freely to the places of their permanent residence before the advent of winter. The scope and acuteness of the problem call for urgent joint actions of the authorities in Belgrade, the Kosovo Albanians, and international humanitarian organizations. Constant international monitoring in the field, accompanied both by progressive withdrawal of Serb security forces to their permanent locations, and the cessation of armed actions by the Kosovo Albanians, are needed to inspire confidence among people in their safety and prospects for restoring normal life. A mechanism for creating favorable conditions in the most heavily affected locations in the province--a series of ``pilot projects''--should be set in motion immediately. The Serb authorities should implement in practice unimpeded access to all areas of the province for humanitarian organizations and diplomatic observers. [[Page 1502]] The cessation of violence and amelioration of the humanitarian situation would facilitate the creation of a favorable environment for progress in the negotiating process over the entire range of issues. President Milosevic and all Kosovo Albanian leaders should engage actively in the negotiating process, with a view toward achieving a political solution to the crisis and a framework for durable peace in Kosovo. Moscow September 2, 1998 Note: An original was not available for verification of the content of this joint statement.