The international forums, many political factors and the media in particular have been dealing with the situation in Kosovo and Metohija for a long time now, though one-sidedly and mostly unobjectively. The information about the long-standing strained relations between the authorities and the Albanian national minority and the difficult functioning of the government agencies and institutions in the southern autonomous province of the Yugoslav Republic of Serbia, prevails with the general public of many countries.

Some political parties of the Albanian national minority are systematically bringing up the thesis that the elementary human and minority rights of the Albanians in Kosovo and Metohija are threatened and that their further existence in Serbia and Yugoslavia is impossible. Thereby they are trying to justify their ultimate goal: the establishment of an "independent Kosovo" and its secession from its parent country, by having the international borders altered. The Albanian extremists have opted for terrorism, which is regarded as a general evil in the scope of international relations. Terrorism and major crime on a European scale have joined forces. The Republic of Albania has become in the meanwhile not only a logistic support base, but also the political and military sponsor of the Albanian terrorists, with all ensuing far-reaching consequences.

Such a radical separatist, essentially greater Albanian programme - the advocates of which want to have it implemented at any cost - aroused quite justifiably the concern of the regional and international factors over the threat posed to general peace and stability as the highest values of the modern world.

The FR of Yugoslavia appreciates the concern shown by the international forums and organisations over the current developments in Kosovo and Metohija and takes the principled position that their interest in quick and lasting peaceable settlement of the current situation is well intentioned. It is prepared for a dialogue and co-operation with all international factors, on the condition that pressures and imposed solutions are excluded.

The government agencies of the Republic of Serbia and the FR of Yugoslavia are committed to a political resolution of the problems existing in Kosovo and Metohija on the basis of democratic mechanisms, a direct unconditional dialogue concerning essential issues relating to confidence-building measures and concrete ways of establishing the local government, including the forms of autonomy, with due observance of the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Serbia and the FR of Yugoslavia, equality of all citizens, members of the national minorities and ethnic groups and adherence to the highest human rights standards.

The biggest obstacle to the settlement of the current situation is the refusal of the Albanian political structures to accept the offered continuation of dialogue, which was discontinued by their own decision precisely. That led to a stepped up terrorist activity of the Albanian separatists, including the gravest forms of provocation aimed against the authorities, various forms of intimidation and assault on civilians, kidnapping, driving out the entire population of various settlements, and destruction of infrastructure and public and private property. In the last two months, the terrorists have executed about 40 of their compatriots in public and kidnapped hundreds of Serbian civilians. Members of the security forces and the Yugoslav Army are being killed every day by terrorist snipers, as well as by the landmines and other lethal devices planted by terrorists.

The number of grave incidents on the Yugoslav-Albanian border is growing at the same time because of the many attempts made by terrorist groups to cross the border from the territory of the Republic of Albania, which is doing nothing towards preventing them from doing so. Moreover, according to a report of the UN Special Mission, of the 650,000 pieces of fire arms, 20,000 tonnes of explosives and 1.5 billion cartridges pilfered from the Albanian military storage facilities during the upheavals in 1997, 25-30% have been transferred to Kosovo and Metohija.

Albania has assumed the role of a spokesman for and protector of terrorists in the international public and world political forums, including the UN, OSCE, Council of Europe, etc., acting absolutely contrary to international norms, duties and liability of sovereign states for peace and stability. Such conduct shown by the Republic of Albania is tantamount in every respect to interference in the internal affairs of the FR of Yugoslavia.

The responsibility of the Republic of Albania for the escalation of the Albanian extremists' terrorist activity in Kosovo and Metohija is documented in this publication exhaustively. Such responsibility cannot be lessened by claims to the effect that Albania is a country with an insufficiently consolidated internal structure, which is unable to keep its borders under control because it has still not recovered from the upheavals it experienced in 1997. Such pseudo-arguments only cloud the fundamental principle that sovereign states are personalities in international law and answerable for the acts committed by their agencies and those committed from their respective territories against the sovereignty and territorial integrity of other states.

The FR of Yugoslavia, therefore, demands that the Republic of Albania performs its duties, consistently and without any delay, involving the observance of the inviolability of the Yugoslav state frontiers and curbing the terrorist activity of the Albanian extremists in Kosovo and Metohija. The Albanian state and political leadership are patronising them and giving them financial, logistic and armament support. Albania is the only country in the world which has recognised the so-called "Republic of Kosovo", in addition to maintaining the "mission" of the latter in Tiranė. This publication also includes some other facts that are ignored or maliciously construed in a part of the international public, particularly in the course of the overheated media campaigns. For instance, the criminal acts committed by Albanian terrorists in Kosovo and Metohija are not referred to as acts of terrorism. Instead of that, reference is being made "guerrilla warfare", "resistance movement", etc. The use of such euphemisms is a dangerous concession to extremists and it has helped the terrorist activity a lot in acquiring its present proportions. This publication includes, in the form of a preliminary explanation, expert views of the notion of terrorism and international conventions relating to it.

Experience has shown so far that any yielding to terrorism is extremely dangerous for the entire international community and that its curbing is a common interest and task of all countries of the world. In wishing to contribute to the curbing of that general evil, the FR of Yugoslavia is open to co-operation with all countries and international organisations, and in its own territory, it will effectively stand up to any form of terrorism aimed against its sovereignty, territorial integrity and equality and well-being of all of its citizens.

Rocket Launcher 'ARMBRUST'
ARMBRUST rocket launcher seized from the Albanian
terrorists in one of the operations conducted.

Terrorist activity is not and cannot be a form of struggle for human rights and national identity. The aspirations of the Albanian separatists make up a political anachronism with totalitarian and fascistic characteristics, including an ethnically homogenous "Greater Albania", seclusion from neighbouring cultures and peoples, nationalist indoctrination and presentation of the thesis about a clash between entire nations. The systematic boycotting and negation of the state whose citizens they are and of its legitimate institutions, is a part of their political project. Although their chief complaint is that the "human rights of the Albanians are being systematically violated in Yugoslavia", they never accepted to have that issue settled in the assembly (parliament) or by using other facilities provided by the constitutions of the Republic of Serbia and the FR of Yugoslavia (existence of an autonomous province, guaranteed human and minority rights, etc.). It is clear that the Albanian separatists are also grossly manipulating the delicate and important issue of human rights, as well as their own compatriots.

The FR of Yugoslavia is consistently advocating the highest values of a democratic and pluralistic society, multiethnic tolerance and protection of national minorities up to highest standards, openness to co-operation and rapprochement of the peoples and states of the region and transparency of political practices. In standing up to terrorism with all means available to a state in which the rule of law exists, the FR of Yugoslavia is also helping the Albanian national minority to stand up to separatists and terrorists and have them involved on a large scale and on equal footing in the political life of the country whose citizens they are. In that way, it is offering a democratic way out of the present difficulties, with full observance of the ethnic and personal dignity of all members of the Albanian national minority, as well as of all other citizens of the FR of Yugoslavia, regardless of their ethnic affiliation.

The Federal Republic of Yugoslavia is doing its utmost towards having the situation in Kosovo and Metohija normalised, taking into account its own interests and those of all other countries of the region. That is why it is rightfully expecting of the international factors and all countries to prevent from happening anything that could stand in the way of normalisation and in particular, to properly appraise and condemn terrorism and separatism, all those who are declaring them as their programme and goals, as well as those who are assisting them to that end. It is demanding in particular that the Republic of Albania adjust its conduct to international norms and commitments in international relations.