THE WHITE HOUSE AT WORK
Wednesday, May 26, 1999
PRESIDENT CLINTON AND VICE PRESIDENT GORE:
THE AIR CAMPAIGN IS WORKING
" President Milosevic should know that he cannot change the fundamental terms that we have outlined, because they are simply what is required for the Kosovars to go home and live in peace."
President Bill ClintonAfter two months of NATO bombing, the stresses on President Milosevic are worsening. Fractures are beginning to appear in Milosevic's regime, including demonstrations, desertions, and public opposition by political leaders. There are also some indications that Milosevic is seeking a way out. Milosevic's ethnic cleansing policies have resulted in the worst crimes against humanity in Europe in 50 years.
May 20, 1999
Fractures Beginning to Appear in Serbia. President Milosevic and his regime are feeling the effects of the NATO air campaign. Political leaders and the public have begun to openly express their opposition to Milosevic's policies. The Serbian army last week suffered its first large-scale mutiny in Kosovo, and Serbs are expressing their discontent with the conflict through demonstrations and desertions. There have also been indications that Milosevic is seeking a way out.
- Demonstrations. The Milosevic regime has attempted to withhold information from Serb citizens about the degree of loss resulting from the conflict. As Serbs learn the truth about the success of the air campaign and realize that Belgrade is deliberately understating casualties, public unrest is on the rise. Demonstrations have broken out in several regions, and a non-political anti-war organization has been formed urging Milosevic to cooperate with NATO.
- Desertion. The Serbian army this week suffered its first large-scale mutiny in Kosovo. On May 19, as many as 1,000 reservists serving in Kosovo left their units and tried to return to Krusevac in order to stop the mistreatment of their families by Serb police. While it now appears that many of them have returned to their units, their action indicates strong discontent.
- Opposition. The leader of the Serbian Democratic Party, Zoran Djindjic, said on May 17 that Milosevic should accept NATO's conditions. He said Milosevic must be held accountable for the crisis and supported his eventual extradition to The Hague. Social Democratic leader Obradovic has also called on Milosevic to accept NATO's conditions and resign.
- Milosevic Seems Ready to Negotiate. There are indications that Milosevic underestimated NATO's resolve and is looking for a way out. Last week, he publicly accepted G-8 principles for negotiating an end to the conflict, though he demanded the details be negotiated directly with the UN. Through broadcasts on state media and official announcements, Milosevic is making it clear that he wants to begin negotiations to end the bombing.
The Worst Crimes Against Humanity in Europe in 50 Years. The following atrocities are a result of Milosevic's ethnic cleansing policy in Kosovo and are some of the worst in Europe's history:
- 1.5 million ethnic Albanians forced from their homes;
- mass executions in 67 towns and villages;
- 100,000 military-aged men missing;
- 500 neighborhoods and 300 villages burned;
- systematic rape of Kosovar Albanian women;
- robbing, looting, and erasing of identities; and
- use of refugees as human shields.
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