Yugoslavia 'Never Gave Up Kosovo'
Following are excerpts of President Slobodan Milosevic's televised address to the nation following suspension of the NATO bombing campaign and the beginning of the Serbian withdrawal from Kosovo. The remarks were delivered in Serbian and translated by the Associated Press:
Happy peace to us all! At this moment, our thoughts go out to the heroes who have given their lives for the defense of the fatherland in the struggle for freedom and dignity of our nation. All their names will be announced in full but at this moment I would like to inform you that in the war, which lasted exactly 11 weeks, from March 24 until today, 462 Yugoslav Army soldiers and 114 police were killed. We shall never be able to repay them. We have to do what we can. . . .
The entire nation participated in this war. . . . The people are the heroes. . . .
Throughout the rallies in this past year in our country, one motto was often heard: We will not give up Kosovo. We never gave up Kosovo. Today, the territorial integrity and sovereignty is guaranteed by the G-8 nations, the U.N. . . .
Open questions regarding the possible independence of Kosovo in the time before the aggression have been sealed with the Belgrade agreement. The territorial integrity of our country can never be questioned again. We survived and defended the country. . . .
By coming before the U.N., we have not only defended our country but have brought back to the world stage the U.N. . . . This is our contribution to the world: to prevent creation of a unipolar world, to prevent the acceptance of a world based on the diktat from one center. . . .
At this moment, we face many new problems which will open many new duties at the end of the aggression and the beginning of peace. . . . Everyone needs help. We face the reconstruction of the country. We shall begin rebuilding our bridges immediately, our factories, our roads. We have to restart again a great development to reflect the vitality of all our citizens. And when I speak of our people, I mean all citizens and nationalities. We have defended the only multiethnic society left over as a remnant of the former Yugoslavia this is another great achievement of our defense.
The forces that come to Kosovo will serve peace, regardless from which countries they come. . . . I wish all citizens of Yugoslavia much joy and success in reconstruction of our country!
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