Select Committee on Foreign Affairs Minutes of Evidence

Memorandum submitted by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office


22 May

  Milosevic and four other senior FRY officials indicted by International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia for crimes against humanity and violations of the laws or customs of war.

2 June

  After a week of intensive meetings, Ahtisaari, Chernomyrdin and Talbott agree a text specifying withdrawal of "all" FRY/Serb forces from Kosovo and "substantial NATO participation" in an international security presence, under unified command and control. Ahtisaari and Chernomyrdin fly to Belgrade to present text to Milosevic.

3 June

  Milosevic accepts and Serb parliament and Federal Government endorse Ahtisaari/Chernomyrdin text. Ahtisaari briefs European Council and G7 Foreign Ministers in Cologne.

7-8 June

  G8 Foreign Ministers meet in Cologne to prepare a draft UNSCR, setting out the international community's demands, incorporating the G8 principles of 6 May and the provisions of the Ahtisaari/Chernomyrdin text, and agree way ahead.

9 June

  Military Technical Agreement signed between KFOR and FRY on terms of and timetable for Serb forces' withdrawal.

10 June

  Serb withdrawal begins. Following verification that withdrawal has started, NATO Secretary-General suspends air campaign.

10 June

  UNSCR 1244, adopted which demands FRY co-operation in implementing G8 principles and Ahtisaari/Chernomyrdin text, authorises the establishment of an international security presence (now KFOR) to create secure conditions for the safe return of refugees and of the interim civil presence in Kosovo (now UNMIK) to provide a transitional administration, and outlines the main responsibilities of the two presences.

10 June

  G8 Foreign Ministers meet in Cologne to discuss civil implementation and reconstruction.

11 June

  Initial Russian KFOR deployment arrives in Pristina.

12 June

  KFOR deployment from Macedonia begins.

16-18 June

  US and Russian Foreign and Defence Ministers agree in Helsinki on terms of Russian participation in KFOR. Agreement subsequently endorsed in the North Atlantic Council and by President Yeltsin and the Russian Federation Council.

20 June

  Serb withdrawal from Kosovo completed slightly ahead of schedule. NATO Secretary-General terminates air campaign.

21 June

  KFOR Commander accepts demilitarisation Undertaking from UCK Commander in Chief, Hashim Thaqi, on behalf of the UCK.

30 June

  Friends of the UN Secretary-General for Kosovo Inaugural Meeting in New York.

30 June

  FARK agree to demilitarise on the terms in the KLA Undertaking.

2 July

  UN Secretary-General appoints Bernard Kouchner as his Special Representative for Kosovo.

5 July

  NATO military representatives and Russia reach agreement on technical details under-pinning Russia's participation in KFOR.


KFOR deployment

  There are currently some 29,000 KFOR troops in Kosovo from 15 NATO countries and from Russia. Some further 11,000 troops are in Macedonia. The UK deployment of 10,400 is complete: some surge elements are returning to the UK as other Allies' contributions build up. Sectoral responsibilities have been established. The UK, France, Germany, Italy and the US each control one sector. Russia and NATO will jointly run Pristina airport. The deployment will build up over the coming weeks, with the force likely to reach around 40,000 by mid-July. We are urging countries who have said they will contribute to KFOR to speed up their deployment.

  KFOR has begun to establish the secure environment that is crucial for the rebuilding of Kosovo and the work of the UN Mission. Until the UN-run interim administration is able to establish the necessary structures, KFOR's authority throughout Kosovo will be critical.

KFOR/Russia arrangements

  US and Russian Defence Ministers reached agreement on the framework for Russian participation in KFOR on 18 June. The arrangements were subsequently confirmed by the Russian Government and the North Atlantic Council, and technical agreement on the details of the deployment was reached on 5 July. Some 3,600 Russian troops have now deployed in Kosovo alongside NATO.

  Russian battalions are operating within the US, French and German sectors. Pristina airport, in the UK sector, is being operated jointly by Russian and UK personnel. Political and tactical control of the deployment will be provided by the North Atlantic Council, with Russia retaining full political and military control of its own contingent. The Permanent Joint Council provides a forum for consultation and co-operation between NATO and Russia on Kosovo as on other issues of mutual concern.

  These arrangements are broadly similar to those used successfully in Bosnia. They also include provision for additional Russian liaison officers to be based at SHAPE, and at KFOR and Allied Force South headquarters.

  The arrangements reached with Russia are an indication of positive co-operation. We look forward to Ivanov's visit on 21-22 July.

KLA demilitarisation

  On 21 June, the KFOR Commander received a unilateral Undertaking from Hashim Thaqi, as UCK Commander in Chief, to demilitarise as required by UNSCR 1244. The Undertaking provides for: an immediate ceasefire; the assembly of UCK forces in designated areas within seven days; the handing over to KFOR of all prohibited weapons, with the exception of automatic small arms, within 30 days; the phased handing in of automatic small arms over 90 days and all UCK members to cease wearing uniforms and insignia. The smaller Kosovo Albanian militia known as the Armed Forces of the Republic of Kosovo (FARK) agreed on 30 June that is members would also abide by the terms of the Undertaking.

  KFOR report that UCK compliance with the terms of the Undertaking continues to be good. There have been no reports of unauthorised UCK appearances either armed or in uniform outside of their assembly areas. Substantial numbers of UCK who originally reported to the assembly areas have now returned to their families. Weapons storage sites have been established and many weapons, including heavy weapons, are being surrendered ahead of the ban on prohibited weapons which does not take effect until 30 days after entry into force of the Undertaking.


  While the total number of deaths (certainly more than 10,000) is not yet clear, there can be no doubt about the scale and horrific nature of the atrocities, conducted by Serb forces in Kosovo, illustrated by the repeated discoveries by KFOR of mass graves, evidence of degrading physical abuse and destruction of villages. There has been overwhelming eye-witness and other evidence of extra-judicial killings, and a systematic campaign of terror and violence directed by the forces of the FRY and Serbia against Kosovo Albanian citizens.

  In her indictment of 22 May, Judge Louise Arbour (Prosecutor at the War Crimes Tribunal) gave a clear and objective account of the actions of the FRY and Serb forces acting at the direction, or with the support of, Milosevic and his closest associates. We, along with our partners and allies, have given the maximum practical support to the investigations being carried out by the Tribunal.

  A British Scenes of Crime Team is currently performing a meticulous forensic investigation of sites of atrocities in Kosovo on behalf of the Tribunal. Their work has included the exhumation and examination of bodies. Those found to date have included boys in their early teens, women, and seven children aged between four and 12.

  The Government is also continuing to assist the Judge Arbour by interviewing refugees and by providing as much information as possible, including intelligence, which may be relevant to the Tribunal's investigations.


  The Foreign Secretary took part in a joint visit to Kosovo with the Italian, German and French Foreign Ministers on 23 June. They met Kosovo Albanian political leaders, Serb Orthodox Church leaders, KFOR Commander General Jackson and Acting UN Special Representative Sr Vieira de Mello. A detailed report of the visit is attached [not printed].

FCO Office in Pristina

  The FCO opened an office in Pristina manned by three UK-based staff on 13 June.

DfID Office in Pristina

  DfID have similarly opened an office in Pristina. It currently has eight staff, including public health and social development experts and mine action, military liaison and engineering personnel.


  UN Security Resolution 1244 of 10 June authorised the UN Secretary General to establish an international civil presence in Kosovo. The UN Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) is headed on an acting basis by Sr Vieira de Mello. Bernard Kouchner, the Secretary-General's Special Representative and the new head of the UN Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) is due to arrive in Pristina on 13 July. Jock Covey (US) has been appointed principal deputy, with Dominique Vian (Fr) as Deputy for Civil Administration, Dennis Mcnamara (NZ) for Humanitarian Affairs, Daan Everts (Netherlands) for Institution-Building and Joly Dixon (UK) for Reconstruction. Kouchner's task is to co-ordinate the activities of UN agencies and the other international organisations operating in Kosovo and to facilitate a political process to determine the future status of the province. Within the framework of UNMIK, the UN has lead responsibility for the interim civil administration, UNHCR for humanitarian affairs, the OSCE for institution-building, democracy and human rights and the EU will head up the reconstruction pillar.

  UNMIK has responsibility for law and order, including through the establishment and training of a local police force and, pending the establishment of effective local forces, through the deployment of an international police presence. It was agreed at the Friends of the Secretary-General for Kosovo meeting on 30 June that UNMIK should build up its capacity, so as to take over responsibility for public security from KFOR as soon as possible. An advance party of 39 UN police officers has now deployed to Kosovo to establish a headquarters and to liaise with KFOR. The main body of 3,110 UN police officers is expected to begin arriving around mid-July. The UN Secretariat has recommended that all UN police officers should have the possibility to be armed.

  For the wider civil administration, the UN Secretariat has been trying to identify qualified personnel from within the UN system itself, from other international organisations and from national governments. The UN has asked the UK and other member states to provide people with specialist skills in 10 priority areas: district and municipality administration, public finance, public health, education, civil service and public administration management, public utilities, social services administration, prison administration, telecoms and postal services.



  The UK has agreed to the transfer of seven British policemen from the UN's International Police Task Force in Bosnia. These officers will assist with UN planning for the civil policing operation and the establishment of the police headquarters. They will also help to advise KFOR on policing issues.

  We have also offered to supply up to 60 British officers to recruit, train and monitor a local Kosovo police force. These will all be high-quality serving officers with previous training experience. We have offered two-thirds of these officers to work in the OSCE Police Training School in Kosovo. We hope these can deploy within 2-3 weeks. The UK will therefore be making an important contribution in the training field, which is one of the highest priorities.

Civil administration

  We are seeking to identify qualified personnel with relevant specialist skills for urgent release or secondment to the UN interim civil administration.

  Sir Martin Garrod (former OHR Administrator, Mostar) has been selected as one of the four District Commissioners.

  The Deputy Special Representative in charge of reconstruction is also a British national (Joly Dixon).

UNMIK's status and powers

  We and our Allies and partners believe that UNMIK should exercise fully its authority under UNSCR 1244. UNMIK will need to draw up, interpret and apply law across the board. It should also establish local judiciary and prosecutors. UNMIK and KFOR should observe international human rights norms. UNMIK should conduct relations between Kosovo and the Federal Yugoslav authorities during the interim administration.

Friends of the Secretary-General for Kosovo

  The UN Secretary-General has formed a consultative group known as the Friends of the Secretary-General for Kosovo. The group includes the G8 countries, Netherlands, Belgium, China, Spain, Turkey, Denmark, Finland, Greece, Sweden and representatives of the OIC, OSCE, EU Commission and UNHCR. The inaugural meeting was chaired by UN Secretary-General, Kofi Annan, on 30 June in New York.

  At the Friends' meeting, the Foreign Secretary announced DFID's $1 million contribution to the UN Trust Fund to help cover initial local administrative costs and quick-impact projects in Kosovo. Pledges were received from other countries on reconstruction and agreement reached on the criteria for reconstruction assistance. The Friends agreed on the importance of bringing the UN Mission and KFOR up to full strength as quickly as possible.


  The Stability Pact for South Eastern Europe was formally approved by Foreign Ministers in Cologne on 10 June. The Pact brings together the countries of the region, EU member states, the US, Russia, Canada, Japan and a wide range of international organisations and institutions. It will establish a Regional Table, to be chaired by the Special Co-ordinator, which will supervise the activities of three Working Tables, covering democratisation and human rights; economic reconstruction, development and co-operation; and security issues. A Summit meeting of the Pact in Sarajevo has been proposed for 30 July, but this has yet to be confirmed.


  The goal of our policy towards Serbia is to promote reform and democratisation. Serbia cannot take its place in the European mainstream until this happens. Resolution of Kosovo's status will be difficult so long as Milosevic remains in power. Hence our strategy to boost the opposition.

Opposition to Milosevic is growing

  There have been a number of anti-government demonstrations throughout Serbia—in Leskovac, Uzice, Cacak and Belgrade itself. According to the Belgrade independent media, large numbers of demonstrators are calling for an end to the Milosevic regime. Demonstrations have been organised not only by opposition parties and trade unions but also by the local population.

  Mr Djindjic, Leader of the Democratic Party returned to Belgrade on 4 July and spoke at a rally in Uzice on 7 July calling for a general strike and mass disobedience to remove Milosevic.

  A petition-signing campaign demanding that Milosevic step down organised by opposition parties and NGOs is underway in several towns.

  Serb Orthodox church leaders called in June for Milosevic to resign.

  Morale amongst FRY army reservists is low. Reservists have set up road and bridge blockades demanding outstanding salaries.

  We are pursuing ideas with Allies for supporting and promoting the Serb democratic opposition, including promoting the role of the indigenous independent media in Serbia.


  We continue to monitor closely events in Montenegro. We support the reform of President Djukanovic. Any attempt by Belgrade to destabilise Montenegro will have serious consequences.


  We intend to use sanctions to maintain pressure for democratic reform in Belgrade and to ensure the toughest possible application of sanctions against the Milosevic regime. We will do what we can, consistent with those goals, to minimise the negative humanitarian impact on the population of the FRY. We shall be particularly concerned to minimise the effect of sanctions on Montenegro and Kosovo. We are reviewing our sanctions policy in consultation with the US and EU.


  First impressions since the end of the conflict suggest that while there is severe damage in some areas, linked to ethnic cleansing, overall the extent of the damage to housing is less than we feared. Some refugees and displaced people are returning to homes that have been destroyed and will need, and are receiving, help from the international community; but many others have been able to return to homes that may have been ransacked, but are basically sound. This will be important in the context of preparations for the forthcoming winter. Similarly much of the basic infrastructure—power, water, roads, railways—is physically intact, even if suffering from long neglect. The EU and World Bank have commissioned a needs assessment; a first report is due towards the end of July. Donor meetings will be held on 28 July, to consider immediately humanitarian needs; in September to look at near-term reconstruction needs; and in early 2000 to look at longer term needs. But reconstruction is not just a matter of bricks and mortar; it should take into account the social, economic and political context and harness the local tradition of self-help. We should set Kosovo within the regional project for the reconstruction and regeneration of the Balkans.

  On 28-29 June, Mr John Battle, the Minister for Industry and Energy at the DTI, led a visit to Kosovo by a business task force. The purpose of the visit was to assess first hand the extent of the damage in Kosovo with a view to seeing how British industry might be able to assist. The group included six senior businessmen representing the power, water and construction sectors and consulting and mechanical engineering. The group visited a number of installations in and around Pristina and met local businessmen and officials. The task force concluded that, in the area seen, overall damage was not as great as they had been led to believe by media reports. They concluded that the areas requiring initial help were in the fields of consulting, project and facilities management and supply contracts. The group reported back to a gathering of some 250 businessmen at DTI on 1 July and are pursuing a number of opportunities in conjunction with DfID.


  The EU will head the reconstruction pillar of the UN civil administration for Kosovo; this will oversee all donor activity on the ground. Its head is Joly Dixon (British). The HLSG set up by the EU and World Bank will provide strategic guidance. The Commission has already established a task force in Pristina, which will be succeeded by a new EU Agency for Reconstruction. We believe the Agency should have the necessary autonomy to deliver aid effectively and efficiently. In response to the Kosovo crisis, the EU has already allocated 182 million euro humanitarian aid for refugee work in the region and 100 million of the budgetary support to neighbouring countries. 500 million of funds for reconstruction have been set aside in a reserve for 2000 but we think this likely to prove excessive. Once the damage assessment contracted by the Commission has been completed (due at the end July), the amount of EC funds needed for reconstruction will be clearer.

12 July 1999

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