|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
Secretary-General deeply regrets Yugoslav rejection of political settlement;
says Security Council should be involved in any decision to use force
The following statement was made in New York on 24 March 1999 by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan:
I speak to you at a grave moment for the international community. Throughout the last year, I have appealed on many occasions to the Yugoslav authorities and the Kosovo Albanians to seek peace over war, compromise over conflict. I deeply regret that, in spite of all the efforts made by the international community, the Yugoslav authorities have persisted in their rejection of a political settlement, which would have halted the bloodshed in Kosovo and secured an equitable peace for the population there.
It is indeed tragic that diplomacy has failed, but there are times when the use of force may be legitimate in the pursuit of peace.
In helping maintain international peace and security, Chapter VIII of the United Nations Charter assigns an important role to regional organizations. But as Secretary-General, I have many times pointed out, not just in relation to Kosovo, that under the Charter the Security Council has primary responsibility for maintaining international peace and security -- and this is explicitly acknowledged in the North Atlantic Treaty. Therefore, the Council should be involved in any decision to resort to the use of force.
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