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U.S. Department of State

Great Seal Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright
Radio Address to the Serbian People
Washington, D.C., April 27, 1999
As released by the Office of the Spokesman
U.S. Department of State

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Last week, the leaders of NATO's 19 nations met in Washington to mark the alliance's 50th anniversary. They were united in their support for NATO action in Serbia and their determination to continue until Serbia's leaders end their campaign of terror in Kosovo.

NATO bombing will end as soon as Belgrade accepts five steps toward peace.

Serbian military, paramilitary and police forces must stop their aggression against civilians in Kosovo and withdraw from the province. Refugees and displaced persons must be allowed to return to their homes. An international military presence must be allowed into Kosovo, to safeguard all civilians. And the people of Kosovo must gain the democratic self-government which they, like the citizens of Serbia, deserve.

In Washington last week, NATO and its 22 European partner countries, including all of Serbia's neighbors, agreed that, as soon as the fighting stops, reconstruction must begin. It must begin for Kosovo, where tens of thousands of homes, schools and whole villages have been destroyed by Serb forces.

It must begin for the people of Serbia, too; you have also suffered, while your leaders care only about their own privileges and power.

And reconstruction must also begin for Serbia's neighbors, including democratic Montenegro, which have been overwhelmed by refugees and deprived of trade.

The countries of NATO and the European Union have agreed to begin planning and setting aside funds for this purpose.

But what is more, we are resolved that this kind of terror and destruction must not happen again in the Balkans. Instead of a leading source of instability for Europe, your region should be in the mainstream of Europe, linked by full diplomatic, economic and human ties.

In Washington, NATO leaders agreed with their counterparts from seven countries of Southeast Europe to strengthen efforts to sustain democracy, promote economic growth and support those who strive for peace across the region. That support will be concrete -- and it is already beginning.

We also agreed that such an effort will not be complete until a democratic Serbia too is integrated into the new Europe. Serbs are Europeans -- there will always be a place for you. But Europe and the international community have no room for a country at war with its own citizens.

The thoughts and prayers of Americans and Europeans are with the Serb people. We do not seek to make you suffer -- instead, we are eager for the day that your leaders allow you to rejoin a Europe of openness and freedom. And we hope that your leaders will make wise choices, and that the day of peace will come soon.

[End of Document]

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