THE WHITE HOUSE AT WORK
Monday, May 31, 1999
ACHIEVING SUCCESS IN KOSOVO
“ I believe that our air campaign in Kosovo is working and will ultimately succeed in its objective of returning the people of Kosovo to their homes with security and self government. With that in mind, we are planning with our allies for success.”
President Bill ClintonToday, at Arlington National Cemetery, President Clinton honored our nation' s fallen heroes and called upon all Americans to safeguard the legacy of former generations by promoting the values of freedom, democracy, and human rights worldwide. He addressed the current conflict in Kosovo, where these values are at stake, and reaffirmed our determination to end Milosevic' s ethnic cleansing campaign and return the Kosovars to their homes in peace and security.
May 31, 1999
Honoring America' s Fallen Heroes. On this Memorial Day, President Clinton honored America' s fallen heroes in ceremonies at Arlington National Cemetery, and reminded us of the values for which they gave their lives: freedom, democracy, and human rights. He spoke of the importance of restoring these values in Kosovo, and of NATO' s determination to persist until we prevail.
NATO' s Strategy for Peace and Freedom in Kosovo. In order to restore peace and freedom to Kosovo, NATO' s strategy is to continue its military campaign, including strict sanctions; pursue diplomacy; and plan for success.
Military Campaign. Air strikes are succeeding in grinding down Milosevic' s forces. NATO' s air campaign has:
- functionally destroyed Serbia' s petroleum and oil refining capability;
- severely degraded its ammunition and armaments production;
- disrupted electrical power throughout the country;
- badly damaged its air defense system;
- destroyed 80% of its modern fighters, over one-third of its armored vehicles, and half of its deployed artillery;
- destroyed national and local leadership facilities;
- damaged key road and rail links into Kosovo; and
- reduced Serb media broadcast capability.
Sanctions. We and our NATO allies are adding to the pressure through the imposition of a tough sanctions regime. The regime cuts off all U.S. exports to Yugoslavia, except for humanitarian goods. Most importantly, it will restrict the flow of oil to Belgrade' s war-making machine. The European Union has implemented a similar program.
Diplomacy. On the diplomatic front, we continue to work closely with our allies and with Russia. We are making it clear to the Serbs that NATO won' t stop until the following conditions are met:
- withdrawing all Serb security forces from Kosovo;
- allowing the return of refugees; and
- permitting an armed international force with NATO at its core.
Planning for Success. NATO has approved an updated plan for an international security force with NATO at its core in Kosovo – KFOR – which will implement peace when our conditions are met. KFOR' s mission will be to deter renewed hostilities and establish the security necessary for refugees to return home and for Kosovars to get on with their lives.
Milosevic Indictment. We welcome the decision of the International War Crimes Tribunal to indict Milosevic and four other Serbian leaders for crimes against humanity and war crimes. The indictment reassures the victims of Serb atrocities that those who give the orders will be held accountable. It defines who is responsible for this conflict and who is prolonging it. We call on all nations to support the Tribunal' s decision and to cooperate with its mission for justice.
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