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States. We are honored to host this 50th Anniversary Summit of NATO. We 
meet to honor NATO's past, to chart its future, to reaffirm our mission 
in Kosovo, where NATO is defending our values and our vision of a Europe 
free, undivided, and at peace.
    Today we send a clear message of unity and determination: to sustain 
our air campaign for as long as it takes; to stand firm in our 
conditions for ending it; to pursue diplomatic initiatives to meet those 
conditions; to increase political and economic pressure against the 
regime in Belgrade; to stand by

[[Page 710]]

the frontline nations threatened by Belgrade's actions; and to work with 
them for stability, democracy, and prosperity in Southeastern Europe, so 
that when Mr. Milosevic's vision for the future is defeated, a better 
one can rise in its place.
    We will seek to do this together with our European partners, and 
with Ukraine and with Russia. We will make clear what is at stake. Mr. 
Milosevic's forces burn and loot homes and murder innocent people; our 
forces deliver food and shelter and hope to the displaced. Mr. Milosevic 
fans the flames of anger between nations and peoples; we are an alliance 
of 19 nations, uniting 780 million people of many faiths and ethnic, 
racial, and religious backgrounds. Mr. Milosevic knows only one way to 
achieve his aims, through force; we have done everything we could to 
resolve this matter peacefully.
    But when we fight we fight to prevail--to prevail in this conflict 
and to build the undivided, democratic Europe that the founders of NATO 
envisioned 50 years ago.
    Thank you, and welcome again.

Note: The President spoke at 9:20 a.m. in the pavilion at the Ronald 
Reagan International Trade Center. In his remarks, he referred to 
Secretary General Javier Solana of the North Atlantic Treaty 
Organization; and President Slobodan Milosevic of the Federal Republic 
of Yugoslavia (Serbia and Montenegro). The transcript made available by 
the Office of the Press Secretary also included the remarks of Secretary 
General Solana.

[Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents]

[Page 710-711]
Monday, May 3, 1999
Volume 35--Number 17
Pages 705-771
Week Ending Friday, April 30, 1999
Remarks at a North Atlantic Treaty Organization Commemorative Ceremony

April 23, 1999

    Mr. Secretary General, leaders of NATO, other distinguished foreign 
guests, my fellow Americans. It is a profound honor for the United 
States to welcome NATO back to Washington for its 50th anniversary, an 
occasion to honor NATO's past, to reaffirm its present mission in 
Kosovo, to envision its future.
    In 1949, in his acceptance speech for the Nobel Prize, the American 
novelist, William Faulkner, acknowledged the fear of nuclear holocaust 
that then gripped the world. But he declared firmly that humanity will 
not merely endure, it will prevail. In that same year, 12 nations came 
here to pledge to vindicate that faith. They were North Americans and 
Europeans determined to build a new Europe on the ruins of the old 
through a mutual commitment to each other's security and freedom.
    In this auditorium, the French Foreign Minister, Robert Schuman, 
said that NATO's fundamental aim was not to win a war that would, after 
all, leave Europe ravaged but to avoid such a war, and I quote, ``by 
becoming, together, strong enough to safeguard the peace.'' He was 
right. No member of NATO has ever been called upon to fire a shot in 
anger to defend an ally from attack.
    The American Secretary of State, Dean Acheson, said that NATO would 
``free the minds of men in many nations from a haunting sense of 
insecurity and enable them to work and plan with confidence in the 
future.'' And he was right. NATO bought time for the Marshall plan. It 
encouraged allies to pool their military and economic strength, instead 
of pitting it against their neighbors.
    The Prime Minister of Canada, Lester Pearson, predicted that the 
NATO Pact's achievement would ``extend beyond the time of emergency 
which gave it birth, or the geographical area which it now includes.'' 
And he, too, was right. NATO gave hope to West Germany and confidence to 
Greece and Turkey. Ultimately, NATO helped break the grip of the cold 
war. Yesterday, Europe, divided by an arbitrary line, on one side, free 
people living in fear of aggression, on the other, people living in 
tyranny who wanted to be free. Today, thanks in no small measure to 
NATO, most of Europe is free and at peace.
    Today we are joined by the leaders of Poland, Hungary, and the Czech 
Republic, whose descent into darkness helped to spark NATO's creation. 
Today they are a part of NATO, pledged to defend what was too long 
denied to them. So we say to Prime Minister Orban, President Havel, 
President Kwasniewski: Welcome to NATO, welcome home to the community of 
    As we look to the future, we know that for the first time in history 
we have a chance to build a Europe truly undivided, peaceful, and free. 
But we know there are challenges

[[Page 711]]

to that vision: in the fragility of new democracies; in the 
proliferation of deadly weapons and terrorism; and surely, in the awful 
specter of ethnic cleansing in Southeast Europe, where Mr. Milosevic--
first in Croatia and Slovenia, then in Bosnia, now in Kosovo--has 
inflamed ancient hatreds to gain and maintain his power. He is bent on 
dehumanizing, indeed, destroying a whole people and their culture and, 
in the process, driving his own people to deep levels of distress.
    We're in Kosovo because we want to replace ethnic cleansing with 
tolerance and decency, violence with security, disintegration with 
restoration, isolation with integration into the rest of the region and 
the continent. We want Southeastern Europe to travel the same road as 
Western Europe half a century ago and Central Europe a decade ago.
    But we are fundamentally there because the Alliance will not have 
meaning in the 21st century if it permits the slaughter of innocents on 
its doorstep. This is not a question of territorial conquest or 
political domination but standing for the values that made NATO possible 
in the first place.
    This is the mission of NATO at the age of 50 on the edge of a new 
century, determined to reach forward into the future with a united 
continent, with a collective defense, remaining open to new members from 
the Baltics to the Black Sea, remaining committed to work with partners 
for peace and progress, including Russia and Ukraine, and others who are 
willing to work for the values and the future we dream of. This is the 
kind of alliance we come to this summit to reaffirm and to build for the 
    Almost 100 years ago, President Theodore Roosevelt said something 
that could well be applied to a united Europe and to our united 
transatlantic Alliance today. Of America's coming of age in the world, 
he said, ``We have no choice as to whether we will play a great part in 
the world. That has been determined for us by fate, by the march of 
events. The only question is whether we will play it well or ill.''
    Our nations played our part well after World War II, from the Berlin 
airlift to the founding of NATO, to the restoration of hope and 
confidence in Western Europe. We played it well after the cold war, from 
the reunification of Germany to the enlargement of NATO, to the support 
we have offered democratic, open government in Russia and Ukraine, and 
the reach out we have done to other partners for peace. We played it 
well when we joined together to end the slaughter in Bosnia.
    Now, we rise, as we must, to this new and fundamental challenge to 
the peace and humanity of Europe. Our message is clear: Peace and 
humanity will prevail in Kosovo; the refugees will go home; they will 
have security; they will have their self-government; the last European 
dictatorship of the 20th century will not destroy Europe's long-awaited 
chance to live, at last, together in peace and freedom.
    Thank you very much.

Note: The President spoke at 1:10 p.m. at the Mellon Auditorium. In his 
remarks, he referred to Secretary General Javier Solana of the North 
Atlantic Treaty Organization; Prime Minister Viktor Orban of Hungary; 
President Vaclav Havel of the Czech Republic; President Aleksander 
Kwasniewski of Poland; and President Slobodan Milosevic of the Federal 
Republic of Yugoslavia (Serbia and Montenegro). The transcript made 
available by the Office of the Press Secretary also included the remarks 
of Secretary General Javier Solana.

[Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents]

[Page 711-713]
Monday, May 3, 1999
Volume 35--Number 17
Pages 705-771
Week Ending Friday, April 30, 1999
Joint Statement on Kosovo

April 23, 1999

    1. The crisis in Kosovo represents a fundamental challenge to the 
values for which NATO has stood since its foundation: democracy, human 
rights and the rule of law. It is the culmination of a deliberate policy 
of oppression, ethnic cleansing and violence pursued by the Belgrade 
regime under the direction of President Milosevic. We will not allow 
this campaign of terror to succeed. NATO is determined to prevail.
    2. NATO's military action against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia 
(FRY) supports the political aims of the international community, which 
were reaffirmed in recent statements by the UN Secretary-General and the 
European Union: a peaceful, multi-ethnic and democratic Kosovo where all 
its people can live in security and enjoy universal

[[Page 712]]

human rights and freedoms on an equal basis.
    3. Our military actions are directed not at the Serb people but at 
the policies of the regime in Belgrade, which has repeatedly rejected 
all efforts to solve the crisis peacefully. President Milosevic must:
    --Ensure a verifiable stop to all military action and the immediate 
      ending of violence and repression in Kosovo;
    --Withdraw from Kosovo his military, police and para-military 
    --Agree to the stationing in Kosovo of an international military 
    --Agree to the unconditional and safe return of all refugees and 
      displaced persons, and unhindered access to them by humanitarian 
      aid organisations; and
    --Provide credible assurance of his willingness to work for the 
      establishment of a political framework agreement based on the 
      Rambouillet accords.
    4. There can be no compromise on these conditions. As long as 
Belgrade fails to meet the legitimate demands of the international 
community and continues to inflict immense human suffering, Alliance air 
operations against the Yugoslav war machine will continue. We hold 
President Milosevic and the Belgrade leadership responsible for the 
safety of all Kosovar citizens. We will fulfill our promise to the 
Kosovar people that they can return to their homes and live in peace and 
    5. We are intensifying NATO's military actions to increase the 
pressure on Belgrade. Allied governments are putting in place additional 
measures to tighten the constraints on the Belgrade regime. These 
include intensified implementation of economic sanctions, and an embargo 
on petroleum products on which we welcome the EU lead. We have directed 
our Defence Ministers to determine ways that NATO can contribute to 
halting the delivery of war material including by launching maritime 
operations, taking into account the possible consequences on Montenegro.
    6. NATO is prepared to suspend its air strikes once Belgrade has 
unequivocally accepted the above mentioned conditions and demonstrably 
begun to withdraw its forces from Kosovo according to a precise and 
rapid timetable. This could follow the passage of a United Nations 
Security Council resolution, which we will seek, requiring the 
withdrawal of Serb forces and the demilitarisation of Kosovo and 
encompassing the deployment of an international military force to 
safeguard the swift return of all refugees and displaced persons as well 
as the establishment of an international provisional administration of 
Kosovo under which its people can enjoy substantial autonomy within the 
FRY. NATO remains ready to form the core of such an international 
military force. It would be multinational in character with 
contributions from non-NATO countries.
    7. Russia has a particular responsibility in the United Nations and 
an important role to play in the search for a solution to the conflict 
in Kosovo. Such a solution must be based on the conditions of the 
international community as laid out above. President Milosevic's offers 
to date do not meet this test. We want to work constructively with 
Russia, in the spirit of the Founding Act.
    8. The long-planned, unrestrained and continuing assault by Yugoslav 
military, police and paramilitary forces on Kosovars and the repression 
directed against other minorities of the FRY are aggravating the already 
massive humanitarian catastrophe. This threatens to destabilise the 
surrounding region.
    9. NATO, its members and its Partners have responded to the 
humanitarian emergency and are intensifying their refugee and 
humanitarian relief operations in close cooperation with the UNHCR, the 
lead agency in this field, and with other relevant organisations. We 
will continue our assistance as long as necessary. NATO forces are 
making a major contribution to this task.
    10. We pay tribute to the servicemen and women of NATO whose courage 
and dedication are ensuring the success of our military and humanitarian 
    11. Atrocities against the people of Kosovo by FRY military, police 
and paramilitary forces represent a flagrant violation of international 
law. Our governments will co-operate with the International Criminal 
Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) to support investigation of 
all those, including at the

[[Page 713]]

highest levels, responsible for war crimes and crimes against humanity. 
NATO will support the ICTY in its efforts to secure relevant 
information. There can be no lasting peace without justice.
    12. We acknowledge and welcome the courageous support that states in 
the region are providing to our efforts in Kosovo. The former Yugoslav 
Republic of Macedonia and Albania have played a particularly important 
role, not least in accepting hundreds of thousands of refugees from 
Kosovo. The states in the region are bearing substantial economic and 
social burdens stemming from the current conflict.
    13. We will not tolerate threats by the Belgrade regime to the 
security of its neighbours. We will respond to such challenges by 
Belgrade to its neighbours resulting from the presence of NATO forces or 
their activities on their territory during this crisis.
    14. We reaffirm our support for the territorial integrity and 
sovereignty of all countries in the region.
    15. We reaffirm our strong support for the democratically elected 
government of Montenegro. Any move by Belgrade to undermine the 
government of President Djukanovic will have grave consequences. FRY 
forces should leave the demilitarised zone of Prevlaka immediately.
    16. The objective of a free, prosperous, open and economically 
integrated Southeast Europe cannot be fully assured until the FRY 
embarks upon the transition to democracy. Accordingly, we express our 
support for the objective of a democratic FRY which protects the rights 
of all minorities, including those in Vojvodina and Sandjak, and promise 
to work for such change through and beyond the current conflict.
    17. It is our aim to make stability in Southeast Europe a priority 
of our transatlantic agenda. Our governments will co-operate urgently 
through NATO as well as through the OSCE, and for those of us which are 
members, the European Union, to support the nations of Southeast Europe 
in forging a better future for their region--one based upon democracy, 
justice, economic integration, and security co-operation.

Note: The joint statement was issued by the heads of state and 
government participating in the meeting of the North Atlantic Council in 
Washington, DC, on April 23 and 24. It was made available by the Office 
of the Press Secretary but was not issued as a White House press 
release. An original was not available for verification of the content 

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