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Department Seal U.S. and NATO Objectives and Interests in Kosovo
Fact Sheet released by the U.S. Department of State,
Washington, DC, March 26, 1999

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The U.S. and NATO objectives in Kosovo are to stop the killing and achieve a durable peace that prevents further repression and provides for democratic self-government for the Kosovar people.

We have three strong interests at stake in the Kosovo conflict: averting a humanitarian catastrophe; preserving stability in a key part of Europe; and maintaining the credibility of NATO.

First, Belgrade's sustained and accelerating repression in Kosovo again is creating a humanitarian crisis of staggering dimension:

Second, instability in Kosovo directly threatens peace in the Balkan and the stability of Europe. There is no natural boundary to this violence. Continued fighting in Kosovo has the potential to:

No one should forget that World War I began in this tinderbox. If actions are not taken to stop this conflict now, it will spread and both the cost and risk will be substantially greater.

Third, NATO's credibility is at stake in Kosovo. Last fall NATO's credible threat of force was decisive in obtaining Milosevic's agreement to a cease-fire and the establishment of the OSCE and NATO verification regimes. That enabled hundreds of thousands of Kosovars to come down from the hills and return to their homes as winter approached. In January, NATO warned Milosevic that it would respond if his intransigence was responsible for failure to reach agreement at the talks; he did not come into compliance with the October agreements; and his repression continued. All these conditions now exist.

The preference has been to achieve these objectives through peaceful means. Since the eruption of fighting in February 1998, the international community has been actively engaged seeking resolution of the conflict through diplomacy under the auspices of the Contact Group backed up by NATO. Those intensive efforts led to the Rambouillet and Paris talks which produced a fair agreement, one that keeps Kosovo in Serbia but gives Kosovars the self-government they deserve. The Kosovar Albanians have signed the agreement.

Belgrade has refused to sign and has to date rejected out of hand all efforts to achieve a peaceful solution. The Contact Group clearly assigned exclusive responsibility for failure to reach agreement to Belgrade.

While we are mindful that the Kosovo Liberation Army also frequently violates the cease-fire and its provocations added to the overall tensions, it is the Belgrade regime which has systematically followed a policy of undermining last October's agreements and thwarted all efforts to arrive at a just solution.

Since October, Milosevic has been out of compliance with solemn commitments to NATO and the OSCE. Serb security forces have:

NATO action has three objectives:

[End of Document]

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