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Thursday, March 25, 1999 Published at 16:47 GMT


Nato air strikes - the world reacts

BBC News Online highlights world leaders' reactions after Nato hit Yugoslavia with the largest military air attacks in Europe since World War II.

"We've seen innocent people taken from their homes, forced to kneel in the dirt and sprayed by bullets. By acting now, we are upholding our values, protecting our interests and advancing the cause of peace."
US President Bill Clinton

"The only right decision was to reject foreign troops on our territory ... We shall defend the country if it is attacked."
Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic

Kosovo: Special Report
"If this aggression is not stopped immediately and unconditionally, its consequences for peace in the world will be catastrophic."
Yugoslav UN Ambassador Vladislav Jovanovic

"It was the last measure to take against Milosevic. He must come to the peace talks and sign the interim agreement."
Kosovo Liberation Army's spokesman in London, Plurat Saydiu

"Russia is deeply upset by Nato's military action against sovereign Yugoslavia, which is nothing more than open aggression."
Russian President Boris Yeltsin

"I call once more for an immediate halt to the air strikes and a return to the search for a political solution to the Kosovo problem through peace negotiations."
Chinese President Jiang Zemin

"We would urge all military actions be brought to a halt, that peace be given a chance and that the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, a fellow member of the Non-Aligned (Movement), be enabled to resolve its internal issues internally."
Indian foreign ministry statement

"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."
UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan

"Recourse to the use of force is always a defeat for humanity."
Vatican spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls

"[The strikes were] not aimed at the Serbian people - [and the allies] will do all they can to avoid loss of civilian lives."
German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder

"This is about preventing a human catastrophe ... One phone call from Milosevic would be enough [to stop the strikes]"
German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer

"We are taking this action for one very simple reason: to damage Serb forces sufficiently to prevent Milosevic from continuing to perpetuate his vile oppression against innocent Albanian civilians."
UK Prime Minister Tony Blair

"The grotesque breach of human rights in Kosovo which we have seen in recent months can be tolerated no more."
UK Conservative Party leader William Hague

"We had no option other than to take this regrettable action against Milosevic once the Kosovars had signed our peace proposals but the Serbs had defiantly continued their brutal repression."
UK Liberal Democrat leader Paddy Ashdown

"People who lived through the 30s and 40s feel a sense of utter shame and disgust that the British Government should be breaking its solemn commitment to the UN and launching air attacks upon Serbia."
Veteran Labour MP Tony Benn

"[The air attacks were launched to defend] peace on our soil, peace in Europe."
France's President Jacques Chirac

"Japan understands Nato's use of force as measures that had to be taken to prevent humanitarian catastrophe."
Japan's Foreign Minister Masahiko Komura

"History has told us if you sit by and do nothing, you pay a much greater price later on."
Australia's Prime Minister John Howard

Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi has sent an urgent message to world leaders to support Yugoslavia's "legitimate right to defend its freedom and territorial integrity against a possible aggression."

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