various pictures of Bill Clinton, etc...

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The EU-Summit in Cologne
(99.06.03 - 99.06.04)

Peace in the Balkans?

Chancellor Schroeders Statement

Finish President Martti Ahtisaari
on the result of his talks in Belgrade with Yugoslav President Milosevic on 99.06.03, 6:00pm GMT

Question Time


German Foreign Minister
Joschka Fischer at walk-about through
media-tent at 2:00pm GMT:

fischerlive.jpg (45828 Byte) "The news that has reached us gives us reason for Hope..."


TV-newscaster asking Mr. Fischer: The peace-mission, if successful, will be a great political success for you!
Mr. Fischer replies:
I do not know. The issue is to start a peace-process and to silence the weapons, to make it possible for the refugees to return to their homeland. And we want to show that the Europe of integration can ensure peace and security also in the Balkan region. That is our task and if we can bring this about then I will be very happy...

Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder
on the successful Peace-Mission
of Finish President Martti Ahtisaari

(Real Audio stream in German)

  click for close-up (41559 Byte)
streaming RealPlayer audio file  (click here to play RA sound-recording)

Ladies and Gentlemen,
this is a good day for Europe and I expressly include the people of Yugoslavia.  And it is a great day for Finish President Martti Ahtisaari, because his resilience, his patience, his diplomatic skill and his integrity have made this result possible.

The result is that the Yugoslav leadership, the Yugoslav parliament, have accepted the Petersberg Peace Plan as drafted up by Martti Ahtisaari, Mr. Chernomyrdin and Mr. Talbott.  President Ahtisaari will announce the details in a moment.  I just wish to say that the Peace Plan is essentially a reiteration of the paper of the G8 group.   It means in consequence an immediate end of the violence and oppression in Kosovo.   The withdrawal of all Yugoslav security forces.  The implementation of an international security force with a NATO-backbone.  Certainly with the participation of Russia and so-called "Neutrals", but with single command and a common political control.  It means the setting up of a temporary  international administration. 

And most importantly it means the resolution of the conflict: the end of people being driven from their homes and the return of the refugees to their homeland. 

That was the reason for the military action.  The military action was never a means by itself but a means to the end.  An end that has been reached.   And it means the begin of a political process with a substantial autonomy for the Kosovo region within the framework of the sovereignty and integrity of Yugoslavia.  

I believe that this is a real success.  And it is a most personal success of Martti Ahtisaari.  But this success has also only been possible because of the constructive teamwork with Talbott and Chernomyrdin in concert with Martti Ahtisaari.     And I wish to pronounce my great respect for Russian President Yelzin without whose will to find a political solution to this conflict this result would not have been possible. 

May I in my function as President of the European Union express my relief with this result.  Also as German Chancellor I am very relieved, I don't have to explain why.  I think all Germans feel better now, and certainly you do, too.  I repeat that this is a political breakthrough.  Peace is in my opinion very near.   And we will take all necessary political steps to ensure that this peace will not evade us.  But what you have all been waiting for is what the President of Finland has to say to you now:


Finish President Martti Ahtisaari on the result of his talks in Belgrade with Yugoslav President Milosevic
(Press-conference given in the IHK Boersensaal in Cologne, on June 3, 1999, 6:00pm GMT)

Finish President Ahtisaari speaking in the IHK Boersensaal in Cologne  (29165 Byte)First a few words as a background:
I have been involved in this process from the first week of May this year.  We have had quite a number of meetings ensue.  And I could never have carried out my functions the way I have been able to do without the firm support from the Presidency and particularly from Chancellor Schroeder himself.  It has been absolutely vital.   I have always belonged to those people who have been (which is typical I think for the new member states of the European Union) rather critical about the role the European Union has played in the foreign and security policy.  Perhaps the co-operation that I have enjoyed from Chancellor Schroeder during the German Presidency is an example of how these things should be carried out.  So I wanted you to hear that from me. 

When I got involved we had first of all bi-lateral meetings.  I met Mister Chernomyrdin, I met Mister (**) of the general Secretary of State.  I said last day to them that it would be absolutely vital we started the meetings three of us in the same room.  That didn't exclude the possibility that there were bi-lateral meetings when I was not there.  But for me it was absolutely vital.  There were no misunderstandings.  No doubts about what was being discussed.  We could air our differences and try to find a common ground, sitting in the same room.  We met four times before this trip to Belgrade.  A couple of times in Helsinki, once in Moscow and yesterday in Bonn on the invitation of the Chancellor.  I must tell you that I warned him that I didn't have too much hope for the meeting that he kindly promised to host.   But despite my warnings he nevertheless dared to invite us and I'm eternally thankful to him, because those hours that we spent we finished yesterday morning at 3.45am.   So if I look a bit ruggedly handsome today I owe you an explanation and it was not the night spent in Belgrade.  As a matter of fact I had a good eight hours sleep last night.  But the night before that I have gone through with less sleep. 

I want to emphasize that this Bonn meeting was absolutely vital.  We agreed to continue the talks yesterday morning at 9am.  We started a bit later but they were bi-lateral talks.  What was important, even if our trip to Belgrade was delayed somewhat, that we could present a united front.  They could carry, as I described it, a peace offer to Yugoslavia and it's people.  Actually a document that would start a new beginning, which would take a long time as everyone understood.  I presented, when we met last night, the document which is two pages long and read it through.   I later on gave it to Mister Milosevic.  This is a document that we could in the tri-lateral discussion agree on between the delegations of Mister Chernomyrdin, Mister Talbot and myself.  And what was good in the document was that it had everything there.  If agreed on it could start a process, would be a first step.

It could lead to a process after verifiable withdrawal of all armed forces of Yugoslavia, police and paramilitary from Kosovo in an agreed time-table.  And properly verified fairly soon.   When that process started it could lead to the suspension of war activities.   In other words: a pause in the bombing. 

My role was to answer questions on this document.  And there were plenty of them.  And I tried to do my best of verifying the contents of the paper.   Then I was asked that it was possible for them to suggest improvements.  I had to answer in terms of neither I nor Mister Chernomyrdin had any authority to negotiate this paper.  It was the best offer and I had to be very candid and say so last night.   That it was the best offer the international community was in a position to make.   And I think it was understood in our discussion.  I also suggested that my hosts would use the evening instead of being with us, to consult their own colleagues and different political groupings.  That happened.  They had a meeting were all the political parties, including opposition parties participated.  We agreed to meet at 9am this morning which we did.  We knew that the Yugoslav leaders were taking this matter to the parliament for approval.  The parliament meeting was supposed to start at 10.30am.  It was a closed session.  We were warned that we would meet again around 1.00pm.  We met actually at 1.10pm this afternoon.  I was told in that meeting that Yugoslavia accepted this document that I had brought to Belgrade.  And that the session of parliament had also approved the document. 

I was told that the same had taken place in the federal government meeting the same morning.  I think it was recognized that this was the first step in building peace.  What follows from here now, is that I hope, that all of today there are contacts between the military leadership in Yugoslavia and NATO military setup in order to agree on the details that have been spelled out here.  Get the withdrawal process agreed, get it verified so that we can come to the suspension of military activity as has been indicated.  At the same time there have to be discussions between the military, also on the military technical agreement that has to be spelling out procedures for withdrawals, how it is scheduled in detail, and so on.  There are quite a number of details that we have indicated in this paper.  At the same time the work and this military technical agreement  has to be agreed during the time of withdrawal.   We are talking of days rather than weeks.  At the same time the UN-security council preparations had to start so that the security-council can pass resolution that enables the formation of the international security presence.  And also the whole civilian operation which is a mammoth operation, including the reconstruction of institutions and buildings.  The return of refugees and displaced persons, the re-introduction of civilian law under the special representative of the Secretary General.   This work has already started.  I know that the G8 has already discussed this.   But there is a lot of work still to be done.  So that work will go better.  

I said when I reached my colleagues in the summit that the English have a very good saying "The proof of the pudding is in eating!"   And the same goes for these processes.  I'm a person who was engaged in negotiations dealing with Namibia from year summer 1978 to first of April 1989.  So I have scars all over my body.  Because there were moments that I believed we had finally found a common ground and it took all these years before we finally had it and we would start the implementation of the agreed plan that had been ready all along.  Bear with me if I'm not jumping here with enthusiasm because there's a lot of hard work that needs to be done as I have explained.  A lot of issues still among the contributing governments to the international security presence carried out so that they can take care of the sensitivities of those that require.   But I believe as I said that the first step in building peace has been made.

ahtisaari2.jpg (17740 Byte)Once again may I also say that there is one important aspect that was included in the paper and that was an idea that the EU-presidency has advanced.  And that is the implementation of the stability pact of south eastern Europe.  We introduced national participation.  And whether Chancellor Schroeder likes it or not, I have already adopted it as the "Schroeder-Plan".   Because I was very annoyed when people started talking of "Marshall-Plan Number Two".

I think we should give credit to the person and the government that has actually been the initiator of that plan.  I hope that you (transcribers note: the journalists) will obey my lead in this. 

Thank you very much.




Question from some unidentified German paper:
Before you met Mr. Schroeder at the airport, did you speak with Mr. Talbot?  Except for the symbolism of that first meeting on German territory how did he react?

Answer by Mr. Ahtisaari:
First of all I can't say that I had a meeting with Mr. Talbot because he was rushing to Brussels.  And hopefully he will come to Finland thereafter.  I had to get his agreement before he left.   That he actually is heading towards Helsinki because that decides my own travel-plan.  So, if you consider that a meeting, you have it.  I have set aside some time tomorrow to spend some time with him and go through the details.  May I say also that you ask this then, I have enjoyed an excellent co-operation between Mr. Talbot and Mr. Chernomyrdin.  And may I say that I worked very well in tandem with Mr. Chernomyrdin when we were presenting the case and answering the questions that clarified our positions in Belgrade.  


Question from El Pais, France:
Mr. President, I have several questions.  First of all, what percentage of the different forces such as the army, paramilitary, special forces and police shall be withdrawn, if not all?  Secondly, what kind of command-structure do you envision for the International Force?  Will it be a single command structure?  Thirdly, the mechanism of verification.  When will you be satisfied that the Yugoslavian army has commenced the retreat to Belgrade?  Thank you.

Answer by Mr. Ahtisaari:
It sounded nearly like you have been writing the paper.  But I try to answer your questions nevertheless.  Withdrawal means in no uncertain term all military police and para-military forces according to scheduled timetable.  So your answer is 100%.  But there is also a clause in this peace offer which says that after withdrawal an agreed number of Yugoslav and Serbian persons will be permitted to return to perform certain functions that have been specified.

Single command: I think first of all we have to wait for the security council proceedings.  When I have discussed with Secretary General Kofi Annan, and particularly I think if you keep in mind the experience of the United Nations from Bosnia Herzegovina, it's not surprising that the Secretary General told me clearly that his preference in the case of this operation would be to have a similar operation to the one we have had in Bosnia Herzegovina.  At the moment, in other words, the IFOR/OSFOR model.  And obviously there has to be a single command structure.  As I said we have to discuss this among the contributing governments.   I'm not part of that process anymore. We will have to discuss the distribution of labor. There are going to be both NATO  and non-NATO countries, countries who want to be within the NATO command structure, and those who don't want to be.  But I'm absolutely certain that we will find a solution to this practical problem. 

When it comes to verification I'm bound to be a little more vague here because I'm not representing a NATO country here.   But I have understood that when the verified, agreed withdrawal takes place, first of all NATO has to make sure that they (the Serb army)  can  withdraw peacefully without any harm coming to them.  That's why one has to know on both sides the details of how it happens, scheduled roads, etc.  But I'm the wrong person to ask that.  I think that question should be addressed to the NATO countries who have a crucial role in this.


Question by Mr. Norman from Financial Times:
I'm still a bit unclear how long it will be before the hostilities end.  I wonder if you can give us your estimate to that.  And secondly does the indictment of Mr. Milosevic as a war-criminal complicate matters and if so, how?

Answer by Mr. Ahtisaari:
Wallstreet watches Europe  (101407 Byte)It is very difficult to give you a precise answer.  I understand it would mean days, and very few days at that, after which the suspension of war-activities and the pause in the bombing would take place.  So you can calculate yourself.  I'm in no position to say whether it's going to be one day or two days or three days.  It's a very short period of time.   One wants to be absolutely sure that it happens what has been agreed upon.   But not the whole process.

To the second part of your question I must say that you matter make the judgment for yourself.  The matter never came up in our discussions.  No one referred to it.   Let's put it that way: That I was positively surprised that during one trip we would get a clear position.  Of course I would say that the proof of the pudding is in eating.  And my own experience makes me very careful in approaching these issues.   But I was mentally prepared that I would have to travel perhaps more than once.  


Question by Mr. Nagorski from  Newsweek:
Mr. President, could you explain a little bit more how the atmosphere of the meeting with President Milosevic was exactly.  What kinds of question did he ask and how long did this meeting last. Also, what was your role beyond simply spelling out the paper that you had. 

Answer by Mr. Ahtisaari:
First of all you have to perhaps know that at least half of the people of the other side of the table are people with 8whom I had been dealing when I was a chairman of the Bosnia-Herzegovina working group.   Therefore we were not complete strangers and they knew me and my habits.  I think the atmosphere was very business-like.  If you want to know, there were no voices raised in the discussion.  I presented the case, I went through the paper, I tried to clarify on the issues that were raised. 

When you ask what questions were raised:
The role of the United States, the international security presence, the references in the paper to chapter seven of the charter, because it says "acting as may be decided under chapter seven of the charter".  In this sort of operation there are some parts of it which clearly fall under the chapter seven ruling of the charter.  But others on the civilian side will not.  That's why we had this wording.   References to Rambouillet are false because the Yugoslav government was not party to that, but some others were.  And I think it was important also to tie them to the accords that they had accepted. So, this sort of very matter of fact questions are a good illustration of the type of questions that were raised. 

How long we were there?  Because the meeting in Petersberg took a bit longer than we had anticipated I was there from 5pm to perhaps 9:30pm.  Then from 9 to 10:15 and then from 1:10 for perhaps half an hour, it did not take long.  So I was basically prepared to leave Belgrade much earlier, but being a careful man I had sent my Finnair plane to Budapest for re-fuelling while I stayed overnight in the guest-house and the plane had some difficulty in reaching Belgrade at the time I had wished for.   Therefore the plane had to return to Budapest for another re-fuelling stop.   We were as a consequence a bit late in coming. 

As to my role; in this case I presented the plan to Belgrade.  And answered the questions from my UN-experience.  I think that's the reason I was brought into this.  As an old UN-hand. 


Mr. Ahtisaari responding to a question from Le Socialiste, France:
don't think that was part of my mandate to start discussing.  It's still a long way before we are in the implementation of the stability pact.  I think what we are now trying to do is to get the implementation of the withdrawal of the forces started in accordance with the details that are there and get the suspension in the bombing.  And hopefully from there then different things follow.  But there are of course stipulations for Kosovo in this.   My part was basically limited to dealing with the issue of what to do with Kosovo.



Waiting for the visiting guests at the Gürzenich in Cologne
schroederfischer.jpg (59129 Byte)



blaircook.jpg (63407 Byte) British Prime Minister Tony Blair & Foreign Minister Tony Cook
seeing eye to eye with their German hosts
Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder and Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer



German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder
and French President Jacques Chirac
family2.jpg (66483 Byte)



ballet.jpg (58287 Byte) The political Ballet in full swing with Spains Prime Minister
José Mariá Aznar and Foreign Minister Abel Matutes Juan



English Prime Minister Tony Blair
in conversation with Austria's Chancellor Viktor Klima
and Luxembourg's Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker
middleblair.jpg (71954 Byte)



euro.jpg (67619 Byte) This young Lady expresses the hope the European Union has for the
stability and success of the world youngest currency: the EURO



Photographs from the final press-conference: schroedersanter2.jpg (76586 Byte)


eupresidentsanter.jpg (56729 Byte)  
EU-President Jacques Santer
had occasion for cautious smiles
in Cologne


The ability to take it on the chin is
requirement to be a European politician

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