Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright
Remarks at Dinner for Kosovo Front Line State Foreign Ministers
Washington, DC, April 22, 1999
As released by the Office of the Spokesman
U.S. Department of State
(As Prepared for Delivery)
Good evening. It is a pleasure to welcome you to the State Department, and an honor to work with a team that is hanging so tough in such a difficult situation.
NATO will stick with you. We will not be divided or dissuaded from our mission. We will stand firm. We will not be taken in by Milosevic's half-truths, untruths and evasions.
In this task, we seek your cooperation to help deny Milosevic the means to persecute his citizens and preserve his war machine. We ask you to help enforce the United Nations arms embargo. We ask you to join NATO and the European Union in doing all we can to stop petroleum products from reaching Belgrade's armed forces. And we welcome your support for efforts to respond to the lies from Milosevic's propaganda machine, and to reverse the effects of his crackdown on Serbia's independent media. Together, we can and should do more.
We recognize, as we ask for your help, that you are counting on our help as well. Milosevic's actions in Kosovo -- and his threats in the face of NATO's response -- have placed a tremendous burden on your governments and citizens. Hundreds of thousands of desperate, destitute refugees. Massive economic disruption. And serious security concerns.
On our own and with the European Union, we are looking at ways to help you cope with economic dislocation. Three weeks ago, Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott announced $50 million in additional assistance for the states of the region. And we will do more. The Administration has asked Congress for a package of about $600 million for humanitarian, economic and security assistance. And we are working with the World Bank and other international financial institutions to find funds for direct budget support.
The international community is also bringing more and more resources to bear on the challenge of caring for Kosovo Albanian refugees. NATO and UNHCR have built camps and helped evacuate refugees to third countries; and we and other nations have agreed to provide shelter to thousands of Kosovars. The United States has now provided $178 million dollars to international aid organizations. And Vice President Gore announced yesterday that we will provide refuge to up to 20,000 Kosovar refugees with close family ties to the United States.
We will keep looking for ways to share the burden. I ask all of the states represented here tonight to help provide temporary refuge, ease the burden on Albania and Macedonia, and prevent the situation in Bosnia from worsening.
These initiatives are critically important in the short term. But we should begin thinking about the longer term as well, and look for ways we can work together to bring all the states of southeastern Europe, including eventually a democratic Serbia, into Europe's mainstream.
As President Clinton suggested last week, this will be a multi-year, multi-national effort. It must have political, economic and security tracks. There must be partnership between North America and Europe, and among NATO, the OSCE and the EU. And above all, there must be increased cooperation among the nations of the region. This cooperation is not an alternative to full integration with Europe, but an essential step toward it.
The European Union has put forward some good ideas in recent days; NATO will make proposals on its role during the course of this Summit.
I want to close by soliciting your ideas, and your support for a shared vision -- a vision of integration rather than division, a vision of growing prosperity and above all a vision of peace.
And now let me turn the floor over to you.
[End of Document]