Kosovo Offensive: `Europe cannot tolerate this'

EU leaders' statement
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The Independent Online
THIS IS the text of a statement released yesterday by EU heads of state and government on the Kosovo crisis:

The European Council is deeply concerned about the failure of the mediation efforts ... to persuade the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia to accept a ceasefire in Kosovo and a political solution to the Kosovo conflict. Over one quarter of a million Kosovars are now homeless because of repression carried out by Belgrade's security forces. 65,000 have been driven from their homes in the last month [and] 25,000 since the peace talks broke down in Paris last Friday ...

The Yugoslav leadership under President Milosevic has persistently refused to engage seriously in the search for a political solution ... Finally, the Yugoslav security forces are conducting military operations against the civilian population in Kosovo in contravention of the provisions of UN Security Council resolution 1199.

On the threshold of the 21st century, Europe cannot tolerate a humanitarian catastrophe in its midst. It cannot be permitted that the predominant population of Kosovo is collectively deprived of its rights and subjected to grave human rights abuses. We, the countries of the European Union, are under a moral obligation to ensure that indiscriminate behaviour and violence, which became tangible in the massacre at Racak in January 1999, are not repeated. ... An aggressor must know that he will have to pay a high price. That is the lesson to be learnt from the 20th century ...

Our policy is neither directed against the Yugoslav or Serb population ... It is directed against security forces cynically and brutally fighting a part of their own population.

We want to put an end to these outrages ...