BELGRADE - A three-day international conference on the consequences of the NATO aggression on Yugoslavia started in Belgrade's conference center Sava Friday.

More than 100 participants from all over the world will present analyses and estimates of the last year's aggression by 19 NATO countries on Yugoslavia (March 24 - June 10), from the legal, geopolitical and media points of view.

Those who take part in the conference, represent the world conscience and its highest humanitarian values, Yugoslav Foreign Minister Zivadin Jovanovic said in his opening speech.

The people in this conference hall, in the heart of free-minded Belgrade expect new encouragement and inspiration for a better future, Jovanovic said.

On March 24 last year, the eyes of the world public were directed at Yugoslavia, because the NATO military machinery, spearheaded by the United States, began a brutal aggression against an independent, sovereign state, a founder and member of the United Nations and other international organizations, Jovanovic said.

The aggression was perpetrated because Yugoslavia, as a sovereign country, with deep freedom-loving roots, did not want to accept the disgraceful diktat of Rambouillet and Paris based on the deception of an alleged violation of human rights. Yugoslavia rejected the diktat which demanded the capitulation and occupation of the entire country, Jovanovic said.

If the eyes of the world were on Yugoslavia a year ago because of the outset of aggression, looking with apprehension and uncertainty as to whether this country and its people will succeed in defending freedom, whether David will overpower the Goliath of the post-industrialist era, then there is no longer such a dilemma, he said. Yugoslavia succeeded in defending dignity, it confirmed its freedom-loving traditions and gave hope to others that there is no force which can defeat a nation which is united and determined to defend its own at any cost, said Jovanovic.

Jovanovic said Yugoslavia is treated as a "real problem", as a physical obstacle standing in the way of achievement of the goal of expansion into Eastern Europe and of mastering natural resources and sources of energy in the rich regions of the Middle East, the Caucasus, and Central Asia which is a key to Europe and Euroasia and an access to Russia and China from the West.

Moreover, he said, if it is true that during the period of the bloc division of the world Yugoslavia was seen as a buffer zone and that it valorized its geostrategic importance on that basis, then it is also true that today, at a time of integration processes, Yugoslavia, with its known geostrategic advantages, is becoming a bridge linking north and south, eastern and western Europe.

The third reason why Yugoslavia was picked as a target of aggression, was because by "bringing to its knees" countries which on a world scale symbolize freedom and independence it was meant to intimidate all other countries and peoples and to discourage their opposition to hegemony and imperialism.

"Nato and the US administration mind even the very existence of Yugoslavia and what it stands for today - a multiethnic, multicultural State, which is, despite the pressures and sanctions and despite a million refugees, developing faster and more comprehensively than its neighbors which, at least in words, enjoy every assistance and support of the rich NATO members, the United States in particular," said Jovanovic.

In the opinion of the Yugoslav foreign minister, the NATO aggression agaist the FR of Yugoslavia was a culmination of the American aspirations to establish, after the fall of the Berlin wall, a new unipolar world order in which the United States will be the pivot and the NATO alliance its chief instrument.

"In conditions when NATO has lost its global adversary and any national justification for its existence, the aggression should have assigned a new role for NATO and confirmed the global supremacy of the United States. It was an arrogant demonstration of the fact that the new masters of the world are making their own rules and taking into their own hands the role of the judge, the jury and executioner," he said.

Speaking about the consequences of the aggression, Jovanovic said they could be divided into levels which show Yugoslavia as a direct victim of the crimes and destruction, but also as a region of southeastern Euirope, all of Europe, and even on a world, global level.

Analyzing the specific consequences, Jovanovic said NATO had in Yugoslavia caused humanitarian, ecoomic and ecological disasters by using the most destructive means, including cluster bombs, depleted uranium ammunition, carbon fiber bombs. Leaders of NATO countries, the US administration in the first place, are responsible for the killing of several thousand inhabitants of Yugoslavia, including women, children, babies, refugees, travelers on buses and international passenger trains, for the destruction of hospitals, schools, the water supply system, the power system, heating of larger cities, residential areas, bridges, railways and roads. The damage caused by the war is estimated at more than US$ 100 billion. Such losses and civilian destruction, cynically explained by the NATO propaganda as "collateral damage," were the core of the NATO strategy, especially after promises made in public that Serbia will be brought to its knees within 3 or 7 days at the latest, proved to be at least narrow-minded arrogance. By systematically bombing civilian targets and causing a massive loss of human life, NATO targeted the people and its morale, to which it obviously paid very little attention in its calculations. In particular, they underestimated the determination, patriotic feelings and unity of the people and leadership of the country, said Jovanovic.

At a regional level, Jovanovic said the aggression had drastically stopped and put back the processes of normalization and the development of good-neighbor relations and promotion of both bilateral and multilateral cooperation in southeastern Europe, whose prospects were opened up by the signing of the Dayton/Paris Peace Agreement in 1995, by the Royaumont initiative and the Crete Summit in 1997. By combining the dirtiest methods of pressure and promises, the US administration drew Yugoslavia's neighbors to take part in one way or another in the aggression.

"Through the policy of divide and rule and by encouraging even territorial claims of some neighbors against Yugoslavia, the US administraiton not only undermined the important results of the regional cooperation and all known regional initiatives, but attempted to sow as much division and as much mistrust in the region as possible by involving the neighboring countries in the criminal aggression. In this way, it clearly revealed that its real puropse was longer-term destabilization of the region aimed at justifying the movement of its troops from central to southeastern Europe and eastern Europe through the establishment and interconnection of the new chain of its military bases", said Jovanovic.

The model of an alliance between NATO and the separatist and terrorist organization such as the so called "KLA"- in which the roles were so assigned that the criminal, mafia and terrorist gangs acted as the foot soldiers to NATO and conversely in which NATO served as an air support to the terrorists - is very important for understanding not only regional but also less European and global consequences of the aggression. It remains for military analysts to study such pearls of NATO strategists as provision of protection to terrorist gangs by a squadron of B-52 strategic bombers in their attempts to infiltrate from Albania into Serbia in the regions of Mt. Pstrik and Kosare. This alliance was created even during the so called Rambouillet and Paris talks, at Thaci-Clark meetings and even much earlier at the meetings of US representatives with the seasoned terrorists and criminals at Junik, Davos and London. These are only the most drastic forms of abuse of separatism and terrorism which are incidentally resorted to by US intelligence and administration in one way or the other, ranging from South Eastern Asia, Tibet, Kashmir, Afghanistan, Chechnya, Dagestan, Kosovo and Metohija, to Gibratlar, and from the North Sea to the Cape of Good Hope, Jovanovic said.

To force on Europe attrition, to slow down the process of its integration and access of the developed West and to resources of rich Russia is the strategic goal of the US administration in order to preserve its economic and technological domination over the whole world. That goal was reflected even during the work of the so called Contact Group which served the United States gradually to draw Europe into the preparations for and later on the perpetration of the aggression itself. This was testified to by the destruction of transport routes on Europe's corridor E-10, the bridges over the Danube near Novi Sad so as to prevent the use of economic lifelines, especially important for the profitability and competitiveness of European products and services, for links between northern and southern parts of the European Union, between Europe and the Caspian Basin, between the Midle East and Central Asia. The NATO aggression against Yugoslavia inflicted enormous long-term damage to Europe, both economically and politically as well as security and culture-wise. It reveled the major weaknesses of Europe, and a striking lack of political leaders who care about breaking away from American blackmail and projecting their own vision of European identity, he said.

Speaking about the global consequences of the NATO aggression on Yugoslavia, Jovanovic said they were expressed in the simple assessment that the world and world relations after the attack are not the same as they had been before March 24, 1999.

"The NATO alliance called its game by the aggression - instead of the criterion of equality, the criterion of hierarchy is forced upon the world. Force is above the law, above the principles and the UN Charter, consequently, NATO is above the UN Security Council, and the United States above NATO and Europe", said Jovanovic.

By establishing a monopoly over judging where and how human rights are violated, the US administration opens the door wide for gross interference in the internal affairs of other countries even for military intervention, using its monopoly of the most influential global media. Thus, the US administration has developed a technology of indoctrinating the American and world public in order to justify, by its care for human rights and the lofty democratic ideals, interference in internal affairs, arbitrary proclamation of certain areas in the world as "zones of US vital interest" and preparations for armed aggression by covering up its true hegemonistic and colonialist goals such as control over energy sources, strategic resources, large markets, and important geopolitical regions.

The fact is that the global messages and dangers of the NATO aggression against Yugoslavia are understood well in the world. An overwhelming najority of the member states of the World organization strongly rejects the concept of interventionism, the doctrine of limited sovereignty and the American pretension to act as the world policeman. This was clearly demonstrated on numerous occasions so far, including at the 54th session of the UN General Assembly, he said.

By its successful defense from the aggression, Yugoslavia has made a historic contribution to the protection of the rights and principles of international relations in confrontation with the brute force. It has thus, at the same time, restored confidence in the lasting values of the UN Charter and in the sustainability of the system of international relations based on the equality, sovereignty, territorial integrity, and non-interference in the internal affairs of sovereign states. What seemed impossible or highly unlikely before the NATO aggression, Yugoslavia proved not only possible, but a must- it resolutely resisted the most powerful military machine and the strategy of bringing other peoples into submission, Jovanovic said.

Speaking about the betrayed expectations that a democratization of international relations would follow the end of the Cold War, and that lasting and stable peace would ensue, Jovanovic said that, unfortunately, the opposite processes were present.

The policy pursued by the US administration and by NATO member states, based on economic and military power and on control of the money flows, is a dangerous one because it leads to the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer. There is a conscious effort to disrupt the entire system of international relations, to produce destabilization and fragmentation of independent countries. The United Nations and its Security Council have been further marginalized, while senior US representatives openly issue threats that they will finance the United Nations only if it works in its, that is, US interest. We have come to the situation where delegations of the Security Council negotiate with lower-ranking US officials only because they are threatening to tighten the screws on the finances of the UN.

The chief protagonist of the new world unipolar order is the Anglo-Saxon axis. It is not accidental at all that the United Kingdom appears to be the most ardent executor of the US policy and a country which is always ready to block any more independent action of the EU, and to prevent it from acting as an independent political factor. It is not an exaggeration to say that basically one of the main activities of the Anglo-Saxon axis is directed precisely against the idea of unification of Europe, which, along with China, Russia and India, could be a serious counter-weight and a factor of curbing the uncontrolled power of the new world supreme power, said Jovanovic.

Jovanovic said power was being affirmed in the so-called new world order through constant destabilization and civil wars, by causing and directing regional crises, stoking terrorism and separatism.

Organized campaigns of "public lies" and creation of realities by the use of the enormous newly created power of the world media is in the function of domination of the world. The tendum of world power centers and the world media has created a "virtual reality" which is then presented as the final truth all over the world.

The Yugoslav foreign minister said that until the spring of 1998, the situation in the southern Serbian province of Kosovo and Metohija was calm, irrespective of the problems which existed as a result of the boycott of the state institutions by a part of the Albanian separatists. The separatist movement was not caused by any repression or violation of human or minority rights of the Albanian ethnic minority, but primarily by constant outside encouragement with a view to weakening opposition to the spread of hegemony and the new NATO strategy. By separating Kosovo and Metohija from the Republic of Serbia as its integral part and the creation of the so called "Greater Albania" from parts of Serbia, Montenegro, Macedonia and Greece, NATO aims to reshape international borders and cause longer term destabilization of the entire southeastern Europe, and thus justify its movement from central Europe and the expansion to the east.

He underscored that it was indicative that in parallel with the prospects for improving relations between Yugoslavia and Albania, after the Crete meeting between Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic and Albanian Prime Minister Fatos Nano - there was a sudden appearance of the so-called Kosovo Liberation Army.

Equipped and funded by the secret services of Albania, the US, Germany and the United Kingdom, with the great assistance of the international narco mafia and Islamic terrorists and extremists, the so-called KLA killed several hundred citizens and committed scores of terrorist attacks during the course of 1998 and 1999.

Commenting the alleged talks in Rambouillet, Jovanovic said they "in fact never took place."

The US did not allow any direct talks between the delegations which never met and talked. The draft agreement was kept by the US delegation as top secret and was not known even to the international mediators or the other delegations of Contact Group countries which were supposed to mediate in the negotiations. the very draft document was a badly disguised prelude in the legalization of the secession of Kosovo and Metohija with the simultaneous provision of a massive military presence and occupation of the entire territory of the FR of Yugoslavia by NATO forces. This was actually a tactic of buying time in order to prepare the public for the aggression, on which decisions were made even before the simulation of talks in Rambouillet and Paris.

Upon rejection of the ultimatum, there followed NATO's military aggression which was presented to the public as preventing a "humanitarian crisis" in Kosovo and Metohija, Jovanovic said.

Analyzing the situation in Kosovo and Metohija, Jovanovic said that, unfortunately, murders, terror and ethnic cleansing of Serbs, Romanies, Muslims, Goranies and others, were taking place on a daily basis.

The terrorist "KLA", instead of being disarmed and disbanded, has been renamed into the so-called "Kosovo Protection Corps", with which international representatives closely cooperate. These decisions, which are in direct violation of UN Security Council Resolution 1244 (1999), are a clear indication of open links between the leadership of the UN civil mission and KFOR, on the one hand, and terrorists and separatists, on the other.

"The consequence of such an attitude of international civil and security presences is the exodus of about 350,000 non-Albanians, close to 5,000 terrorist attacks made since 12 June 1999, of which more than 4,000 against the non-albanian population. Since the deployment of international representatives, over 933 persons (more than 800 Serbs and Montenegrins) have been killed, over 800 have been kidnapped and more than 50,000 homes have been destroyed or burned down, 85 Christian churches and monasteries as well as cultural monuments have been destroyed," he said.

More than 200,000 foreign nationals are currently illegally present in Kosovo and Metohija. The terrorists from Albania walk the length and breadth of Kosovo and Metohija. Islamic extremists arrive from various parts of the world, and the whole province is in the hands of mafia clans and terrorists.

Jovanovic pointed out that the Yugoslav government more than 50 times addressed the United Nations Security Council, drawing attention to the deterioration of the general situation in Kosovo and Metohija, and calling for the taking of appropriate measures, including determination of the responsibility for the continued genocide of the Serbian and non-Albanian population in Kosovo and Metohija perpatrated under the auspices of the UN.

Concluding his address to the participants in the international conference on the consequences of last year's NATO aggression, Jovanovic also presented in brief the priorities of Yugoslavia's policy.

The foremost priority is the protection of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Yugoslavia, i.e. prevention of any separatism and terrorism, removal of all threats, pressure and outside interference.

Second, ensuring conditions for the reconstruction and rebuilding of the country, encouragement of the participation of foreign partners.

Third, strengthening of the reputation and international position of Yugoslavia on the international scene by developing cooperation on an equal basis and fiendly relations with all countries respecting Yugoslavia as an equal partner.

Fourth, normalization of its membership status in international, political, economic and other oganizations and the lifting of sanctions.

In our neighborhood and in southeastern Europe, we continue to pursue an active, open and principled policy of normalization of relations with the former Yugoslav republics, development of good-neighborliness with all our neighbors while respecting the principle of sovereignty and territorial integrity, as well as respect for mutual interests and non-interference in the internal affairs.

This implies that all countries of the region should respect the rights of ethnic minorities in accordance with the European standards, notably the right to use one's own language, to education in one's native language, to foster one's own cultural heritage on a national identity and customs.

We are in favor of strengthening economic integration processes, dismanting all customs, administrative and other barriers to free movement of people, capital, goods, services, scientific, cultural and other values, including the creation of free trade areas.

The development of a multilateral regional cooperation with an equal participation of all countries and respect for the original interests of peoples and states of the region is our major commitment. The more so since the process of this cooperation was inaugurated in Belgrade in 1988 at the 1st Conference of Foreign Ministers of the Balkan countries.


BELGRADE - The Yugoslav League for Peace and Equality and Independence of Peoples has called on all peace organisations and movements in the world to condemn once again NATO's aggression on Yugoslavia on the first anniversary of its outset on March 24.

The League also urged the condemnation of new threats in the form of NATO manoeuvres in Kosovo and Metohija aimed at backing ethnic Albanian separatists who want to detach the province from Yugoslavia, said a statement issued by the League.

The year that has passed since the launching of the aggression has been a period of devastation, pain and suffering but it has also been a period of the dignity, victory, endurance and unity of the Yugoslav people whose army has prevented the occupation of the country by offering heroic resistance, the statement said.

Also, the Yugoslav people's readiness to help reconstruct and build the country has been fully manifested over the past 12 months, the League said adding that this had made possible to reconstruct the country's infrastructure in a record time by relying entirely on one's own resources.

Yugoslavia's case shows that the United Nations has been abused and that it is a mere instrument in the hands of world power wielders because U.N. Security Council Resolution 1244 is not implemented, the statement said.

A year after the NATO aggression, the world is slowly but surely learning the truth about the true causes of the aggression that are best reflected in developments in Kosovo and Metohija whence ethnic Albanian extremists have expelled 350,000 Serbs, the statement said.


BELGRADE - The last year's NATO aggression on Yugoslavia destroyed many companies, factories and institutions leaving roughly 86,000 workers out of work, but the number of unemployed due to the aggression has risen to as many as 700,000 people, Serbian Trade Union Association President Tomislav Banovic has told Tanjug.

Banovic stressed that Serbia has to provide for more than 350,000 people expelled from Kosovo and Metohija and some 900,000 refugees from former Yugoslavia republics, and pointed out the disastrous effects of the long-term economic sanctions still imposed on Yugoslavia by some members of the international community.

Last week, the trade union started an action of signing a petition for an urgent end to the sanctions against Yugoslavia, in which all citizens of Serbia, pensioners and the Red Cross organization are taking part

Having in mind the national importance of the action, we have also sent an invitation to other trade unions in Serbia to join in, as well as to trade unions in Montenegro, Macedonia, Greece, Cyprus, Bulgaria, Hungary, Portugal, France, Germany, Italy, Great Britain, Russia, and China, Banovic said.

He specified that more than one million persons have already signed the petition, and that after March 24 (the date of the onset of the NATO aggression) it will be sent to the head offices of trade unions in Europe. From there, with signatures of their workers it will be forwarded to the European Union, the United Nations and its Security Council.

The action aims to show world power-wielders that the isolation of Yugoslavia has deprived its workers of the right to work, earn and live a dignified life, which is a great injustice, Banovic said.


BELGRADE - The Serbian writers' association UKS on Friday hosted the promotion of a document which appeals to the world conscience on the occasion of NATO's use of weapons with depleted uranium in Yugoslav territory.

The Appeal was signed by 105 prominent professors of law, scientists, intellectuals, and writers from Serbia, Greece, Russia and France. It was created during the 78-day NATO aggression on Yugoslavia last spring as an expression of resistance and a warning that the 19 most powerful forces of thr world did not attack only Yugoslavia, but, some of them, even themselves, UKS President Slobodan Rakitic said.

"It is not clear to any of us, or to most well-meaning people, why such a force was used, why so many people were killed and valuable objcts destroyed, but it is certain that we have yet to expect the effects of the depleted uranium with apprehension," Rakitic said.