|Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright|
Interview on NBC Nightly News with Tom Brokaw
Washington, D.C., March 24, 1999
As released by the Office of the Spokesman
U.S. Department of State
MR. BROKAW: Secretary of State Madeleine Albright has been at the forefront of the diplomatic effort to get Serbia and its leader, Milosevic, to stop the killing. She joins us now from Washington.
Let's say it goes exactly as planned, Madame Secretary, and that in fact Milosevic decides to sue for peace. That means that you're going to have to have a NATO ground force in there, including American troops, for some time to keep that peace. Is the President prepared to tell the American people tonight just how long we may have to be militarily committed in Kosovo?
SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: Well, first of all, the President has made clear -- and I'm sure he will repeat this -- the only way that we would have a ground force in there would be to implement a peace in a way where the environment is friendly and permissive. As we look at how long that might be -- and I must say, Tom, we seem to be a long way from that, as one listens to what is going on today -- it's very important that these forces -- we are not talking about ground forces in anything but a permissive environment.
MR. BROKAW: But if the air strikes don't work, if Milosevic does not buckle, isn't there the possibility that you'll have to engage in some kind of ground action?
SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: No. We have no plans to have American ground forces in a non-permissive environment. The objectives here are to deter Milosevic from going forward with these offensive actions against the people of Kosovo, and then to damage his capability to inflict further damage on them. We hope very much that he will understand that the best course for him and the Serb people is to embrace this peace agreement that we've been talking about.
MR. BROKAW: Do you worry that the Russians may get involved on the side of Milosevic?
SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: Well, the Russians obviously, as you explained, are very irritated about the bombing. But they have been frustrated with Milosevic. They have been very much a part of the Contact Group and the political discussions that we've had. I think that they have understood the importance of not having these kinds of offensive actions against the people of Kosovo. They do not agree with the actions that we have taken militarily.
MR. BROKAW: Madame Secretary, thank you very much for being with us on what I know is a busy evening for you.
SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: Thank you.
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