Press Release, June 24

Wed, 24 Jun 98 11:16:31 -0400

Statement of Ambassador Richard Holbrooke

Tuesday, June 23, 1998, 10:30 pm
Hyatt Regency Belgrade

(Unofficial transcript)

(Begin text)

Ambassador Hill and I have just completed four hours of talks with
President Milosevic. Our standard rule applies: confidentiality
requires confidential talks and we have nothing to say about the content
of the talks.

I will repeat what I said earlier in the day. Let me reaffirm it: we
are at a critical moment in the crisis surrounding Kosovo, and we are
here to try to prevent the fighting from escalating into a general war.
That will require restraint on both sides.

We had a very productive meeting with Dr. Rugova in Skopje earlier in the
day and we will go to Pristina to talk to the other Albanian leaders and
visit some areas west of Pristina to see what is happening there, and
then we plan to return here on Thursday.

As I said, I don't characterize talks as they are going on....I don't
know exactly where we will go yet, but we will go west of Pristina. I've
left that to the American officials down there.

I would draw your attention to the fact that the Contact Group nations
and other countries are bringing in additional personnel for their
embassies, to form a diplomatic observer mission in Kosovo, which will
work closely among the embassies to constitute an international observer
presence through the embassy personnel accredited to Belgrade. That
wasn't a breakthrough tonight--that was achieved over the last month,
during the talks we had here a month ago and reaffirmed in the
Milosevic-Yeltsin communiqu‚.

(End Text)

Jelena Putre
DRS Assistant
USIS Belgrade
phone: 381-11/645-655 x243
fax: 381-11/646-924