Milosevic and Primakov condemn NATO aggression

March 31, 1999

Belgrade, March 30 (Tanjug) - Yugoslav
President Slobodan Milosevic received on
Tuesday Russia's Prime Minister Yevgeny
Primakov, who headed a government
delegation to Belgrade, a statement from Milosevic's cabinet said.

The delegation comprised Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov, Defence Minister Marshal Igor Sergeyev, Foreign Intelligence Service Chief Vyecheslav Trubnyikov and Chief of Military Intelligence Valentin Korabelynikov.

On the Yugoslav side, the meeting was attended by Serbian President Milan Milutinovic, Yugoslav Foreign Minister Zivadin Jovanovic and Defence Minister Pavle Bulatovic.

At the start of the talks, Primakov conveyed to Milosevic greetings from President Boris Yeltsin.

The ranking Russian leaders conveyed the strong support and feelings of solidarity of the Russian people for the people of Yugoslavia in their defence from the aggression.

They condemned in the strongest terms the brutal aggression on the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia as a criminal act which has trampled on the U.N. Charter and flagrantly violated international law.

The aggression was described as NATO's grossly arbitrary abuse of armed power, which has jeopardised international peace and security and dealt the heaviest blow to the international order since the Second World War.

It is the Russian people's unanimous demand that NATO's brutal aerial aggression on the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia must stop at once and the Russian government is demanding that this be done without delay.

Peace must be restored to the lands of Yugoslavia and the biggest threat to European security to date must be removed.

Stressing that the aggression has imposed war on the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, and that the people, armed forces and government are unwavering in their determination to defend the inalienable national interests, President Milosevic said:

"The peoples of Yugoslavia are resolutely resisting the criminal aggression by the NATO forces. Our heroic people have proved that the force of arms cannot break us. We are prepared to defend our country to the end. This is not the first time that Yugoslavia has had to defend its freedom and its right to sovereignty, territorial integrity and national dignity. We are convinced and determined that we shall again pass the test.

"The problem in Kosovo-Metohija must be settled. But it can be settled only by political methods. A settlement, therefore, can be only political, and not imposed with thousands of tons of bombs. We remain firmly committed to a political settlement through talks, and it is our wish that a constructive approach should be made. At this time, precisely in order to open scope for a political settlement, the aggression on Yugoslavia must stop at once. For our part, and as a token of the sincerity of our intention to settle the problems in Kosovo-Metohija by peaceful means, through talks, the Yugoslav government will accept Russia's proposal and, after the end of the air strikes and as its logical consequence, start reducing the presence of some of its military forces in Kosovo-Metohija who are there for the purpose of defence against the aggression. It is understood that the security and success of political solutions for Kosovo-Metohija will depend on a complete cessation of support by NATO for Kosovo-Metohija's separatists who have taken the road of terrorism, and on a return to the situation in the region prior to the concentration of NATO forces on Yugoslavia's borders.

"Cessation of the aggression will create conditions for immediate peace in Kosovo-Metohija, which is in the vital interest of all peaceful citizens, whatever their national and religious affiliation. They are all equally citizens of our country and have the same right to live in peace and stability. Instead of hiding in shelters, or wandering around as refugees, or yet fleeing to other countries, they should return freely to their homes.

"Adherence to the political process is designed to guarantee to all without exception, to the ethnic and religious communities in Kosovo-Metohija, equality and life in peace within a united Serbia, in an independent and sovereign Yugoslavia.

"We are sending this message to the outside world in the belief that it will be correctly understood. We are inspired to believe that this will be so by the firm position of Russia, as well as of China, India and a large number of other nations and states which support Yugoslavia at this difficult moment. Cessation of NATO's aggression and a peaceful settlement are of the greatest importance also to the future of the Balkans, which is on the brink of another explosion."

The visit to the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia by the Russian delegation, headed by Prime Minister Primakov, at a time when an aggression on this country is in progress, should affirm the effort to turn the future of the Balkans and of Europe in the direction of peace, instead of war.

Yugoslavia shall never agree to give up its freedom. Its only option is to defend itself from all aggressors and in this, it was stressed, it will have the help and support of Russia, the statement said.


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