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  •   Clinton's Statements on Kosovo

    Washingtonpost.com Staff
    Tuesday, June 1, 1999; 2:34 p.m. EDT

    The following are selected statements by President Clinton about U.S. and NATO goals in the Balkan conflict.

    "Our objectives in Kosovo are clear and consistent with both the moral imperative of reversing ethnic cleansing and killing and our overwhelming national interest in a peaceful, undivided Europe, which will ensure we will not have to send large numbers of young Americans to die there in the next century in a war."
    (Memorial Day speech at Arlington National Cemetery, May 31)

    NATO allies "will achieve our objectives one way or the other."
    (Comments during an Oval Office visit by Jordan's King Abdullah, May 18)

    "I don't think that we or our allies should take any options off the table and that has been my position from the beginning. But we ought to stay with the strategy we have and work it through to the end."
    (Comments during an Oval Office visit by Jordan's King Abdullah, May 18)

    "We see these pictures of the refugees on television every night and most people would like another story, but we must not get refugee fatigue."
    (Speech at the National Defense University, May 13)

    "Political leaders do this kind of thing. Do you think the Germans would have perpetrated the Holocaust on their own without Hitler? Was there something in the history of the German race that made them do this? No. We've got to get straight about this; this is something political leaders do."
    (Speech at the National Defense University, May 13)

    When asked in (NATO Secretary General Javier) Solana's presence if he could envision sending an international security force into Kosovo without Milosevic's approval, Clinton replied: "Well, that's a hypothetical question, but of course there are scenarios under which that could occur."
    (The Washington Post, April 23)

    "We must follow the example of the World War II generation, by standing up to aggression and hate."
    (Remarks to the American Society of Newspaper Editors, April 15)

    "Were we to stand aside, the atrocities in Kosovo would go on and on. Neighboring democracies, as you see, would be overwhelmed by permanent refugees and demoralized by the failure of democracy's alliance. The Kosovar Albanians would become a people without a homeland, a burden to host countries, a magnet for radical ideologies, a breeding ground for unending warfare in the Balkans. "
    (Remarks to the American Society of Newspaper Editors, April 15)

    "It should be obvious to everybody in the world that we are bending over backwards to hit military targets, to hit security targets, even to hit a lot of targets late at night where the losses in human life will be minimized."
    (Remarks to the American Society of Newspaper Editors, April 15)

    Text of April 15 News Conference

    "If anything, Mr. Milosevic's actions have strengthened the unity and resolve of our allies."
    (News conference, April 9)

    "He hopes we will accept as permanent the results of his ethnic cleansing. We will not. . . . What we have from Mr. Milosevic is the illusion of partial compliance."
    (News conference, April 9)

    Text of April 9 News Conference

    "It is not enough now for Mr. Milosevic to say that his forces will cease fire in Kosovo. . . . He must withdraw his forces. Nothing less will bring peace with security to the people of Kosovo."
    (News conference, April 7)

    "At our urging, NATO has put its 11,000 troops in Macedonia to work addressing the humanitarian crisis. It is planning to deploy several thousand troops to Albania, not only to provide aid, but to provide security for relief operations."
    (News conference, April 5)

    "We know we are up against a dictator who has shown time and again he would rather rule over rubble than not at all. . . . We are prepared to sustain this effort for the long haul."
    (News conference, April 5)

    "Mr. Milosevic has created a humanitarian disaster in Kosovo. He can end it today by stopping the killing."
    (News conference, April 5)

    ". . . . I would far rather be standing here answering these questions with these people talking about this endeavor, than I would to be standing here having you ask me why we are permitting wholesale ethnic slaughter and ethnic cleansing and the creation of hundreds of thousands of refugees and not lifting a finger to do anything about it."
    (News conference, April 5)

    "Right now, in the middle of Europe, at the doorstep of NATO, an entire people are being made to abandon their homeland or die -- not because of anything they've done, but simply because of who they are."
    (Radio address, April 3)

    "I believe we have quite a good chance of achieving our objectives of the return of the Kosovars to live in security with a measure of self-government that they enjoyed under the old Yugoslav constitution before Mr. Milosevic took it away from them." (News conference, April 2)

    "We have to make sure that Mr. Milosevic pays a heavy price for this policy of repression. We have to seriously diminish his capacity to maintain that policy."
    (News conference, April 2)

    Text of April 2 News Conference

    "Our objective is to restore the Kosovars to their homes with security and self-government. Our bombing campaign is designed to exact an unacceptably high price for Mr. Milosevic's present policy of repression and ethnic cleansing and to seriously diminish his military capacity to maintain that policy."
    (Speech at Norfolk Naval Base in Norfolk, Va., April 1)

    Text of April 1 Remarks

    "The thing that bothers me about introducing ground troops into a hostile situation, into Kosovo and into the Balkans, is the prospect of never being able to get them out."
    (Interview by Dan Rather of CBS News, March 31)

    "We act to prevent a wider war, to defuse a powder keg at the heart of Europe, that has exploded twice before in this century with catastrophic results."
    (Address to the nation, March 24)

    "In short, if President Milosevic will not make peace, we will limit his ability to make war."
    (Address to the nation, March 24)

    "Ending this tragedy is a moral imperative. It is also important to America's national interests. . . . Kosovo is a small place, but it sits on a major fault line between Europe, Asia, and the Middle East, at the meeting place of Islam and both the Western and Orthodox branches of Christianity."
    (Address to the nation, March 24)

    ". . . .I do not intend to put our troops in Kosovo to fight a war."
    (Address to the nation, March 24)

    Text of March 24 Address

    "You've got to decide, my fellow Americans, if you agree with me that in the 21st century that America, as the world's superpower, ought to be standing up against ethnic cleansing."
    (Speech to a convention of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, March 23)

    "If President Milosevic continues to choose aggression over peace, NATO's military plans must continue to move forward. Our objective in Kosovo remains clear: to stop the killing and achieve a durable peace that restores Kosovars to self-government."
    (Statement on the White House lawn, March 22)

    "If we don't act, the war will spread. If it spreads, we will not be able to contain it without greater risks and costs. . . . I do not believe we ought to have thousands more people slaughtered and buried in open soccer fields before we do something."
    (News conference, March 19)


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