President Clinton speaks to U.S. personnel at Aviano Air Base in Italy
| MILITARY PLAN:|
|CNN's Jim Clancy reports on opposition efforts in Belgrade. (June 22)
|A tense incident at a bridge in Kosovo illustrates the problems facing returning refugees, Serbs and the peacekeepers protecting them both. CNN's Mike Boettcher was there. (June 21)
|The flow of refugees back into Kosovo is increasing, despite the risks. CNN's Matthew Chance reports. (June 21)
June 23, 1999
Web posted at: 1:15 a.m. EDT (0515 GMT)
SKOPJE, Macedonia (CNN) -- U.S. President Bill Clinton
completed a triumphant visit to the Balkans Tuesday, greeting
both KFOR troops and the Kosovar Albanian refugees.
He wrapped up his busy day praising U.S. pilots at Aviano Air
Base, in Italy, thanking them for their 11-week air campaign
that forced Yugoslavia to accept a Western peace plan for
Clinton returned to the White House early Wednesday.
"You have repeatedly put your lives on the line to save the
lives of innocent civilians and turn back the tide of ethnic
cleansing," said Clinton, whose remarks were punctuated by
frequent cheers. "Thank you again for this noble endeavor."
Earlier, he thanked Macedonia for its help in supporting
NATO's campaign against Yugoslavia and sheltering the
"No one ever, ever should be punished and discriminated
against or killed or uprooted because of their religion or
ethnic heritage," Clinton told hundreds of cheering, chanting
refugees at the Stenkovec camp, less than 16 kilometers (10
miles) from the Kosovo border.
The refugees gave Clinton a hero's welcome as he and his
family toured the muddy tent city. Stenkovec housed some
30,000 refugees at the height of Operation Allied Force,
NATO's bombing campaign against Yugoslavia.
Since the end of that campaign and the withdrawal of Serb
troops from Kosovo, about 20,000 ethnic Albanians have
returned home from Stenkovec. Clinton urged the remaining
refugees to wait "a couple more weeks" while NATO forces
remove land mines and other unexploded ordnance from the
"I don't want anyone else to lose an arm or a leg or a child
because of land mines," he said. "Please be patient with us
... you are going to be able to go back. I want to make sure
it is a happy return."
After his visit to the refugee camp, Clinton -- accompanied
by KFOR commander Lt. Gen. Mike Jackson and NATO Supreme
Allied Commander Gen. Wesley Clark -- addressed troops
waiting to enter Kosovo.
He told the largely American group of military personnel that
it has "a big, big job" ahead to "show that people can lay
down their hatreds."
"People who come from different ethnic and religious
backgrounds can live together if they simply respect each
other's God given dignity," Clinton said. "Now what it rides
on is not the precision of our bombs, not our power to
destroy, but your power to build."
Thanking the Balkan neighbors
Clinton arrived in Macedonia's capital Tuesday from a visit
to Slovenia, greeted by Macedonian President Kiro Gligorov.
The Macedonian leader said after meeting with Clinton that he
understood the need for the U.S. presence in the Balkans.
"The war in Bosnia and now in Kosovo have confirmed this,"
Clinton, who also met with President Rexhep Meidani of
Albania, later thanked the Macedonian people for their
assistance during the Kosovo conflict.
"NATO could not have achieved its mission without you," he
said, speaking at the Macedonian parliament. "The people of
Kosovo would not be going home to security and autonomy
without you. I came here as much as anything else to say
Refugees greeted Clinton as a conquering hero in Stenkovec refugee camp
Clinton also pledged $12 million in food commodities for the
financially strapped country, which housed up to 140,000
refugees while NATO bombs tried to drive Yugoslav forces from
Kosovo. The United States has already sent $72 million in
relief to Macedonia, which broke away from Yugoslavia in
Monday's trip marked Clinton's first to the front lines of
the battle he and his NATO allies won against what he called
the "murderous rule" of Yugoslav President Slobodan
Clinton is wrapping up a week-long trip that won support from
the European Union to help in the costly reconstruction of
"We must build a Europe with no front-line states, a Europe
undivided, democratic and at peace for the first time in
history," he declared before leaving Slovenia for Skopje.
Correspondents Matthew Chance and Wolf Blitzer contributed to
Clinton arrives in Slovenia to herald 'success story'
June 21, 1999
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June 20, 1999
G-8 nations to tackle Third World debt
June 18, 1999
Agreement reached on Russian role in Kosovo force
June 18, 1999
Yugoslav forces meet second withdrawal deadline
June 18, 1999
U.N. wants 2 weeks before Kosovar refugees return
June 18, 1999
Federal Republic of Yugoslavia official site
Kesovo and Metohija facts
Serbia Ministry of Information
Serbia Now! News
Kosova Crisis Center
Kosovo - from Albanian.com
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
Resettlement Agencies Helping Kosovars in U.S.:
Church World Service
Episcopal Migration Ministries
Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society
Iowa Department of Human Services
International Rescue Committee
Immigration and Refugee Services of America
Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service
United States Catholic Conference
Doctors without borders
U.S. Agency for International Development (Kosovo aid)
Doctors of the World
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
ReliefWeb: Home page
The Jewish Agency for Israel
Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty
Independent Yugoslav radio stations B92
Institute for War and Peace Reporting
United States Information Agency - Kosovo Crisis
Expanded list of related sites on Kosovo
1997 view of Kosovo from space - Eurimage
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