Statement by NATO Secretary General Janvier Solana following commencement of air operations

March 24, 1999

I have been informed by SACEUR, General Clark, that at this moment NATO Air Operations against targets in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia have commenced.

In the last months the international community has spared no efforts to achieve a negotiated solution in Kosovo. But it has not been possible.

Clear responsibility for the air strikes lies with President Milosevic who has refused to stop his violent action in Kosovo and has refused to negotiate in good faith.

The time has now come for action.

Let me reiterate: NATO is not waging war against Yugoslavia.

We have no quarrel with the people of Yugoslavia who for too long have been isolated in Europe because of the policies of their government.

Our actions are directed against the repressive policy of the Yugoslav leadership.

We must stop the violence and bring an end to the humanitarian catastrophe now taking place in Kosovo. We have a moral duty to do so.

NATO's men and women in uniform, who are carrying out this important mission, are among the best in the world. I am confident that they will be successful.