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Statement On The Clashes In Kosova 29 December 1998

We are deeply concerned of the renewed clashes in Kosovo which seem to have the tendency of spreading. On the other hand, we are also anxious that the fighting would adversely affect the Turkish national minority in Kosovo.

The clashes will do no more than disrupting the atmosphere of relative tranquility which has been secured with great difficulties and jeopardizing the efforts to reach a political solution, and besides will lead to another grave problem of refugees and displaced persons in harsh winter conditions.

Therefore, we call on both the armed Albanian groups and the authorities of Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and Serbia to immediately cease fighting and exercise restraint. In this respect, we deem it appropriate to remind all parties of NATO's determination of not permitting any solution in Kosovo by use of force.

In order for the success of efforts towards a peaceful settlement of the Kosovo issue, it is of great significance that the OSCE Verification Mission including Turkish participants who were already deployed in the region under the agreement reached between the OSCE and FRY should be able to carry out its mission without let and hindrance.

We urge all the parties to make utmost efforts to let the already initiated political solution process be successful. In order to reach a lasting settlement we deem it necessary the representation at the negotiation process of the Turkish national minority living in the region, who had acquired various rights with the 1974 Constitution. Besides, we believe it is imperative that, in the Kosovo's future status, which we wish will lead to a pluralistic and participatory democracy, the national Turkish minority and other communities be entitled with rights and freedoms which would at least sustain the level of the 1974 Constitution.