IMPLEMENTING PEACE IN KOSOVO
“The Kosovars have been victims of terrible atrocities. Their only hope was that the world would not turn away in the face of ethnic cleansing and killing -- that the world would take a stand. We did, for 78 days. Because we did, the Kosovars will go home.”
President Bill Clinton
June 10, 1999
Today, at the White House, President Clinton announced that Serb forces have begun withdrawing from Kosovo, pursuant to the agreement reached between NATO and Yugoslavia. As a result, NATO has suspended its air campaign, and an international security force, including American troops, is preparing to enter Kosovo to begin the process of implementing peace.
Reaching Agreement. The agreement reached between NATO and Yugoslavia specifies the details of Serb force withdrawals from Kosovo, and establishes the mandate of KFOR, the international security force charged with keeping peace in Kosovo. This agreement, together with the agreement that Milosevic signed on June 3, meets all of NATO's conditions for ending the conflict, which include:
- the complete withdrawal of all military, paramilitary, and police forces from Kosovo;
- the establishment of an international security force with NATO at its core; and
- the return of Kosovar refugees to their homes in security and self-government.
Monitoring Serb Force Withdrawal. The United States and its allies will watch carefully to ensure that Serb forces are peacefully leaving Kosovo in accordance with the agreed timetable. Under the terms of the agreement, Yugoslavia must:
- cease hostilities immediately;
- withdraw all aircraft and air defense systems in 3 days;
- withdraw all its forces in a phased but rapid manner, with complete withdrawal within 11 days; and
- mark and clear minefields, booby traps and obstacles during withdrawal.
Securing Peace. The agreement provides for an international security force (KFOR) with NATO at its core. KFOR will consist of approximately 50,000 troops from more than two dozen contributing nations, including 7,000 U.S. soldiers (less than 15 percent of the total force). KFOR's primary mission is to create a secure environment for the return of the refugees to their homes with safety and self-government. KFOR will have the authority to “take all necessary action to establish and maintain a secure environment for all citizens of Kosovo and otherwise carry out its mission”-- including:
- use force as necessary to ensure compliance;
- observe and inspect any facilities or activities in Kosovo that may have military or police capabilities;
- protect KFOR and the civil implementation presence; and
- provide assistance to other international organizations involved in implementing peace in Kosovo.