NATO: Yugo ground troops may be targeted
March 26, 1999
MONS, Belgium (CNN) -- With a third day of airstrikes against Yugoslav air defenses set to begin, NATO's military leader told CNN on Friday that the long-range attack strategy also targets Yugoslav ground troops.
"We will do this ... as rapidly as we can," NATO Supreme Commander Wesley Clark said without giving a specific timetable. "It's part of the campaign plan," the U.S. general said.
NATO, he said, seeks to destroy the Yugoslav military unless President Slobodan Milosevic ends his offensive in Kosovo and agrees to a peace plan for that Serbian province.
Clark said that the targeting of Yugoslavia's air defenses was not only to protect NATO aircraft, but also a "preparatory step" before going after Milosevic's ground forces.
"It was always understood, from the outset, that there was no way we were going to stop these (Serb) paramilitary forces who were going in and murdering civilians in these (Kosovo) villages," Clark said in an interview in Mons, Belgium, where NATO's military headquarters is located.
"What we're going to do is act to degrade his command and control over the heavy military forces and the uniformed police forces," he said. "I can't predict what day it's going to be done."
Also in the interview, Clark said:
Clark said such firing had occurred before. "This will be something which the Serbs will see what they can get away with provided they think there are targets across the border in Albania."
It "wouldn't be surprising," he added, if Serbian forces even crossed the border into Albania on raiding missions.
Clark, 54, is a Rhodes scholar who graduated in 1966 at the top of his class at the U.S. Military Academy. At Oxford University in England he studied politics, philosophy and economics.
The Little Rock, Arkansas, native has been the supreme U.S. and NATO commander in Europe since July 1997, moving there after commanding the U.S. Southern Command in Panama, where he was responsible for U.S. security policy in Latin America.Correspondent Christiane Amanpour contributed to this report.
NATO: Forty targets hit in Yugoslavia
|Back to the top||
© 2001 Cable News Network. All Rights Reserved.|
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines.