Press statement by NATO Secretary General Janvier Solana

March 25, 1999

Yesterday evening around 8 p.m., Operation Allied Force began.

Last night's operation was carried out with a broad participation by Allies. This demonstrates NATO solidarity, unity and resolve in carrying out this action. Let me stress that strikes were conducted against carefully chosen military targets focused on the air defence network of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.

Our initial reports indicate that these first strikes were successful. All NATO aircraft returned safely to their bases.

I express on behalf of the North Atlantic Council our gratitude to the men and women in our Allied armed services who were involved.

In a few moments, I will ask SACEUR to give you an interim update on activities.

Let me reiterate we are determined to continue until we have achieved our objectives: to halt the violence and to stop further humanitarian catastrophe. Let me emphasise once again that we have no quarrel with the people of Yugoslavia. Our actions are directed against the repressive policies of the Yugoslav government, which is refusing to respect civilized norms of behaviour in this Europe at the end of the 20th century.

The responsibility for the current crisis rests with President Milosevic. It is up to him to comply with the demands of the international community. I strongly urge him to do so.