Yugoslavia's Jovanovic blames NATO for humanitarian crisis
May 4, 1999
BELGRADE, Yugoslavia (CNN) -- NATO's bombing campaign against Yugoslavia has caused a "humanitarian tragedy which has not been known so far," Yugoslav Foreign Minister Zivadin Jovanovic told a group of international journalists Tuesday.
Speaking from Belgrade to CNN's World Report Conference in Atlanta, Jovanovic said six weeks of NATO attacks had killed 1,200 Yugoslav civilians and seriously wounded 5,000 others.
"This aggression of NATO has provoked, so far, great many sufferings of civilians all over Yugoslavia and has not achieved any military objectives," he said. "If the objective was to reduce military and police might of Yugoslavia, that has not been achieved."
The minister denied that Serb police and Yugoslav troops were committing atrocities in Kosovo, and repeated Serb assertions that thousands of refugees flooding into Macedonia and Albania are fleeing NATO's bombs rather than Serb forces.
"Yugoslav military and security forces in this part of Serbia and Yugoslavia have two main tasks," he said. "One, for police to maintain law and order like in any other country ... and, two, to defend this part of Yugoslavia from aggression of NATO."
Jovanovic also called reports that Serbs were using ethnic Albanian men to mine Kosovo's borders with Macedonia in anticipation of a NATO ground attack "misinformation and even intentional production of bad information."
"There is nothing of that sort at all," he said.
Reports that Serb troops were separating refugee men from women and children were also false, he said.
"This has been created by terrorist KLA (Kosovo Liberation Army) in Macedonia and Albania," Jovanovic said. "In order to reform their units, they have been separating men from their wives and children."
Jovanovic accused the international media of being one-sided in reporting the conflict, and called on journalists to evaluate information they receive more closely and strive to put out more "correct reporting and correct information."
Copyright 1999 Reuters Limited. All rights reserved.
Kosovo diplomacy grinds on
Extensive list of Kosovo-related sites:
|Back to the top||
© 2001 Cable News Network. All Rights Reserved.|
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines.