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NATO allies: Airstrikes will do the job

U.S. soldiers load missiles onto a truck after the armaments arrived aboard a military plane in Tirana, Albania  

April 18, 1999
Web posted at: 6:51 p.m. EDT (2141 GMT)

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- NATO Secretary-General Javier Solana denied a report Sunday by a British newspaper that NATO is planning to send ground troops to Kosovo by May.

"No, this report is not true. We are going to continue with the same strategy, the strategy of the air campaign," Solana said, denying the report in the Times of London.

"Troops will be deployed, it's been agreed already, after a cease-fire is achieved," he said on "Fox News Sunday."

Yugoslav Deputy Prime Minister Vuk Draskovic said on the same program that he does not expect ground troops.

"It would be incredible bloodshed," Draskovic said. "All Serbs would fight to defend Kosovo. Kosovo is our territory ... the historical capital of our state, our nation, our Christian religion, our national pride," he said.

Albright: 'Air campaign is strengthened'

U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright said Sunday that President Clinton has no intention to deploy ground troops.

Albright also said, on ABC's "This Week," that the air campaign has been successful and is enough to win the war against Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic and his forces.

"Systematically, there is a way of wearing down his military while at the same time our air campaign is strengthened," she said.

British Prime Minister Tony Blair told NBC's "Meet The Press" that NATO's position on ground forces remains unchanged.

"Opposition on ground forces remains as it has been," he said.

"Ground forces will be necessary to get people back safely into Kosovo, but the difficulties of a land force invasion against organized Serb resistance remain as we set them out a few weeks ago," Blair said.

German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder called the debate on ground troops "artificial" and said he believes the NATO airstrikes are starting to show an effect.

"There is no reason whatsoever to change (NATO's strategy)," he said. "We have jointly appointed a strategy, and it would take a joint momentum to change that decision."

German official calls for cease-fire

But in Germany, which is experiencing its first air combat since World War II, one high-ranking government official joined others calling for a cease-fire.

Gila Altmann, a deputy environment minister and member of the Green Party, added her name to a petition calling for an end to the air campaign, citing her fears the deportations could become worse and the war could spread.

While the air-only campaign remains the policy of NATO, alliance ground troops continue to assemble near the southern border of Yugoslavia.

Tens of thousands of NATO soldiers, including many from the United States, either are in or preparing to go to Balkan nations like Macedonia and Albania. Several thousand U.S. troops currently are in Bosnia as part of a NATO-led peacekeeping effort.

Troops are going to the Balkans to assist the refugees, but some Western leaders suggest that the current plan for no ground troops in combat could change.

"If the moment comes when it is necessary (to authorize a land invasion), I'm sure the countries that belong to NATO will be ready to do it," Solana said.

"We had a plan developed for putting forces to implement a peace agreement, and an assessment was made about ground forces in a non-permissive environment," Albright said. "That assessment can be quickly updated."

NATO has not talked about the use of ground troops in meetings, but some discussion has taken place informally, alliance sources in Belgium tell CNN.

Correspondent Bill Hemmer and Reuters contributed to this report.

Yugoslav POW in U.S. custody; reserves to be called up
April 17, 1999
NATO strikes loosen U.S.-Russia ties
April 17, 1999
Macedonia fears it could become KLA staging ground
April 16, 1999
Official Pentagon statement on captured Yugoslav soldier
April 16, 1999
Yugoslavia rejects U.N. peace plan for Kosovo
April 16, 1999
Active duty ahead for thousands of reservists
April 16, 1999

Extensive list of Kosovo-related sites
  • Kosovo

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

  • Kosova Crisis Center
  • Kosova Liberation Peace Movement
  • Kosovo - from

  • 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

  • Kosovar doctor helps refugees one at a time
  • Mercy International USA
  • Donations for Kosovo Refugees
  • International Rescue Committee
  • Unicef USA
  • Doctors Without Borders
  • World Vision
  • CARE: The Kosovo Crisis
  • InterAction
  • International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies
  • International Committee of the Red Cross
  • Disaster Relief from
  • Catholic Relief Services
  • Kosovo Relief
  • ReliefWeb: Home page

  • Independent Yugoslav radio stations B92
  • Institute for War and Peace Reporting
  • United States Information Agency - Kosovo Crisis

  • Prayers for peace
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