NATO says it's doing 'right thing' in Yugoslavia
Concerned about captive U.S. soldiers
April 1, 1999
BRUSSELS, Belgium (CNN) -- NATO said Thursday it was doing the "right thing" in its bombing campaign against Yugoslavia and that the airstrikes had inflicted "substantial damage to instruments of oppression" of Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic.
NATO leaders, addressing a news conference at the alliance headquarters, also expressed concern about the safety of the three captive U.S. soldiers shown on Serbian television earlier in the day.
"We've seen their pictures and we don't like it. We don't like the way they are treated. We have a long memory about these kinds of things," said NATO's supreme allied commander Gen. Wesley Clark.
He said the alliance would hold the Serb authorities accountable for the treatment of the soldiers and was investigating where the soldiers were captured.
Yugoslavia said they were "captured on Serb territory" and "resisted arrest." The Belgrade-based news agency Tanjug reported that a military court would begin an investigation of the three American soldiers, who, according to British Foreign Secretary Robin Cook, were seized in a "snatch" operation on Macedonian territory.
U.S. President Bill Clinton on Thursday repeated NATO's position and said the United States, too, would hold Milosevic responsible for the safety of the three American soldiers.
"President Milosevic should make no mistake," Clinton said. "We will hold him and his government responsible for their safety and for their well-being."
A senior U.S. administration official told CNN the United States had relayed through Sweden its demands that Yugoslavia treat the captured U.S. troops humanely and allow international medical personnel and others to visit the men immediately.
"It is the right thing to do, and it is our duty to do whatever we can to stop the killings in Kosovo," he said during the NATO news conference.
"After one week of NATO air operations, I am confident that we are having an impact on Belgrade's war machine," he added.
Clark said that, in the past eight days of strikes, NATO had significantly damaged Yugoslavia's military air defense systems, command and control centers as well as field forces involved in the crackdown against ethnic Albanians. He referred to the targets as "instruments of oppression."
He said NATO attacks on Serb military targets would continue unabated, "...step by step, day by day, with precision and a great deal of attention to avoid civilian casualties."
State television aired pictures which it said showed the remnants of the destroyed bridge, which connected two parts of the city.
The television report said the city's water system had been badly damaged in the attack.
Serbian media also reported that NATO bombed the town of Uzice in western Serbia and the village of Gnijlane in Kosovo.
The Yugoslav news agency Tanjug said 10 NATO missiles had struck targets around Pristina, the capital of Kosovo, on Wednesday night.
Three U.S. soldiers captured by Yugoslav army
Extensive list of Kosovo-related sites
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