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U.S. sending refugee aid, more combat ships, jets to Balkans

Bacon
Bacon shows one of the food packets that will be distributed to Kosovo refugees (Audio 332 K/20 sec. AIFF or WAV sound)

 ALSO

NATO: Yugoslav troops in Kosovo targeted in latest strikes

NATO: Yugoslav forces expel 290,000 ethnic Albanians

 

April 3, 1999
Web posted at: 3:56 p.m. EST (2056 GMT)

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The U.S. military will rush food, tents and other emergency aid to help refugees from Kosovo, while adding an aircraft carrier to the NATO force in the region, the Pentagon said Saturday.

The U.S.S. Theodore Roosevelt and its support ships will join U.S. and British ships already in the Adriatic Sea for the NATO military campaign against Yugoslavia, said Pentagon spokesman Kenneth Bacon.

The Roosevelt, which carries 50 combat aircraft, is expected to arrive in the Adriatic by Monday.

In addition, another 13 F-117 Nighthawk stealth fighters reportedly left their base in New Mexico for Italy, which will double the number of those aircraft in the region.

The NATO campaign against Yugoslavia entered its eleventh day Saturday, as Macedonia and Albania were reeling from a flood of ethnic Albanian refugees that Western officials said were fleeing a Serb offensive in Kosovo.

Bacon said the United States would send half a million packages of rations to the region, with each package representing a day's supply of food for a refugee.

Cargo plane leaves with rations

The first cargo plane carrying rations left Dover Air Force Base in Delaware on Saturday, Bacon said. In addition, the U.S. military was making preparations to ship tents, sleeping bags and cots to the region, he said.

A Marine unit will be sent to Macedonia and Albania to assess the refugees' needs, and a massive C-5 cargo plane carrying loaders and forklifts will be sent to the region to help distribute the aid, Bacon said.

In other comments during the Pentagon news conference, Bacon:

  • Downplayed any fears that Russia might assist Yugoslav forces in their fight with NATO, despite reports that a Russian intelligence ship is on its way to the Adriatic.

    "The Russians have said they plan to stay out of this conflict and we take that commitment seriously," Bacon said.

  • Buttressed NATO warnings to Yugoslavia not to interfere with the government of Montenegro, Serbia's sister republic in the Yugoslav federation.

    Montenegro has tried to remain neutral in the fight between Serbia and NATO, and Bacon said the allies would have a "strong reaction" to any attempt by Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic or his government to interfere with Montenegrin government.


    RELATED STORIES:
    NATO missiles strike central Belgrade
    April 2, 1999
    Albania, Macedonia seek support for refugees
    April 2, 1999
    Behind the faces of captured U.S. soldiers
    April 1, 1999
    Clinton: Milosevic responsible for safety of 3 U.S. soldiers
    April 1, 1999
    Milosevic meeting with ethnic Albanian leader draws rebel outrage
    April 1, 1999
    Poll: Americans continue to support NATO strikes, but skepticism over success growing
    April 1, 1999

    RELATED SITES:
    Extensive list of Kosovo-related sites
      • Kosovo

    Yugoslavia:
      • Federal Republic of Yugoslavia official site
          • Kesovo and Metohija facts
      • Serbia Ministry of Information
      • Serbia Now! News

    Kosovo:
      • Kosova Crisis Center
      • Kosova Liberation Peace Movement
      • Kosovo - from Albanian.com

    Military:
      • F-117s arrive at Aviano to support possible NATO operations
      • NATO official site
      • BosniaLINK - U.S. Dept. of Defense
      • U.S. Navy images from Operation Allied Force
      • U.K. Ministry of Defence - Kosovo news
      • U.K. Royal Air Force - Kosovo news
      • Jane's Defence - Kosovo Crisis


    Relief:
      • World Vision
      • Doctors of the World
      • InterAction
      • International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies
      • International Committee of the Red Cross
      • Kosovo Humanitarian Disaster Forces Hundreds of Thousands from their Homes
      • Catholic Relief Services
      • Kosovo Relief
      • ReliefWeb: Home page


    Media:
      • Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty
      • Independent Yugoslav radio stations B92
      • Institute for War and Peace Reporting
      • United States Information Agency - Kosovo Crisis

    Other:
      • Expanded list of related sites on Kosovo
      • 1997 view of Kosovo from space - Eurimage
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