Remarks at Kumanovo, Macedonia, by Lt. Gen. Mike Jackson:
You've been there a very long time, and I've been here quite a long time. However, I have some very good news.
Last night the meeting between the NATO and Yugoslav delegations reconvened. Once again, on behalf of NATO, I presented to General Marjanovic the Military Technical Agreement, revised in the light of the draft United Nations Security Council resolution approved by the G-8.
It has not been easy going, not least because there has inevitably been a political as well as a military dimension to achieving success. The international community set out certain conditions for peace to be met as reflected in that draft approved by the G-8.
This Military Technical Agreement explains how the Yugoslav forces are to achieve military compliance with these conditions. It details how the army, the interior police, and all other forces should conduct a phased, verifiable, and orderly withdrawal from Kosovo. It also provides a clear legal basis for the deployment of the international security force known as the Kosovo Force, or KFOR, as it inevitably will become, its purpose, of course, being to establish a secure environment in Kosovo. Verifiable compliance with this agreement will establish the conditions for the suspension of the air campaign.
I can confirm that General Marjanovic and General Stefanovic have signed the agreement on behalf of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, and that I have signed on behalf of NATO.
Under the terms of the agreement, once it has been confirmed to the secretary general of NATO that the Yugoslav forces have complied with the initial withdrawal required of its forces from Kosovo, that he will direct a suspension of the airstrikes. I have made it clear that if subsequently the withdrawal timetable is breached, the agreement requires the air operation to resume.
It is tragic that intransigence has made it necessary for the international community to resort to airstrikes in order to reach a settlement. However, NATO's resolve in conducting a sustained air campaign has finally achieved this agreement, and now is the time to look ahead. . . .
The fact that this document has now been agreed represents the hope of a better future in which we can rebuild Kosovo and restore some normality to the lives of its ordinary citizens, regardless of their ethnic background.
Very soon I shall deploy KFOR into Kosovo to evenhandedly implement this agreement. It will establish a robust military presence that will provide a secure environment for a safe return of the refugees, both inside and outside Kosovo, to their homes. This will not be an easy operation, and it will take time. I fully understand the wishes of the refugees to return home quickly, and I promise that KFOR will do its utmost to ensure that this is done as soon and as safely as possible.
Ladies and gentlemen, that's all I want to say, and not -- now is not the time for questions. Thank you very much indeed.