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U.S. Department of State

Great Seal Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright
Op-Ed for USA Today
May 21, 1999
U.S. Department of State
Blue Line

"NATO Must Continue Airstrikes Until Milosevic Relents"

Let us talk sense. Slobodan Milosevic will not win in Kosovo, either on the ground or at the negotiating table. NATO's air campaign will continue until, one or another, the alliance conditions are met.

A military presence will be established with NATO at its core. Milosevic's security forces will leave Kosovo so that the refugees can return safely. Ethnic cleansing will be reversed. Humanitarian assistance will be provided. The people of Kosovo will be given the democratic self-governance they deserve. And everything Milosevic has sought to achieve will be rolled back.

Milosevic will get only what he has earned, which is the contempt of humankind.

He and his cronies will remain subject to indictment by the War Crimes Tribunal. They will have to answer to the Serb people for starting a conflict that further crippled their economy and diminished their nation in the eyes of the world. They will remain isolated and subject to sanctions. The Serb armed forces will be substantially weaker and left to ponder the meaning of the losses they have suffered. And Milosevic will face a steadily increasing call, both internationally and at home, for Serbia to dump him, embrace democracy and take its rightful place in a Europe whole and free.

It would, of course, have been far better -- especially for Serbs and Kosovars -- for this issue to have been settled peacefully in the first place. The chance for that kind of outcome ended, however, when Milosevic refused a diplomatic solution that would have protected the rights of all Kosovars, while preserving Yugoslavia's role. That was the bluff Milosevic made at the onset of this confrontation, and because of NATO's decision to call it, it is a bluff he will lose.

It is up to us all now to stand firm in pursuing the air campaign, so that we may end this confrontation on terms that will make it possible for Kosovars to return, reunite and rebuild. That is our goal, and it will be achieved.

[End of Document]

Blue Line

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