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Remarks By President Clinton To Kosovar Refugees

THE WHITE HOUSE

Office of the Press Secretary
(Skopje, Macedonia)

For Immediate Release June 22, 1999

REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT AND THE FIRST LADY TO THE KOSOVAR REFUGEES AT STENKOVICH I REFUGEE CAMP

Skopje, Macedonia

4:18 P.M. (L)

MRS. CLINTON: Thank you. I am very glad that I could come back to see all of you now that there is peace in Kosovo. And I know that many of you will be returning home, and we are very grateful for that. And I wanted to bring my husband and my daughter to see the people and to hear the stories that I did just five weeks ago. (Applause.)

Let me introduce the President of the United States, Bill Clinton. (Applause.)

PRESIDENT CLINTON: Thank you. Thank you very much. First of all, I would like to thank all the people who have shared time with my family and me, all these children and their parents. And I would like to say a special word of appreciation to all the workers here who have come from all over the world to help you recover your lives. I thank them very much. (Applause.)

The second thing I would like to say is that I have brought with me a number of people who helped me make sure the United States and NATO did the right thing by the people of Kosovo, and they are also very proud to be here. And I want to thank them, and I hope you will thank them -- Mr. Berger and all the other people on our team -- because we're proud of what we did because we think it's what America stands for, that no one ever, ever, should be punished and discriminated against, or killed or uprooted because of their religion or their ethnic heritage. And we are honored to be here with you. (Applause.)

I just want to say a couple of more words before the rain comes down. The first thing is that we are committed not only to making Kosovo safe, but to helping people rebuild their lives, rebuild their communities, and then to helping Kosovo and all the countries of the region build a brighter, more prosperous future, based on respect for the human rights of all people. (Applause.)

Now, I promised all these wonderful people from all over the world who are here working for you that I would also say this: I know a lot of people are anxious to go home. Many have already left. But you know there are still a lot of land mines in the ground, on the routes into Kosovo and in many of the communities. We are bringing in the best people in the world to take those mines up. Every year the United States does more than half that work all around the world. It is hard work; it is dangerous work. You have suffered enough. I don't want any child hurt, I don't want anyone else to lose a leg or an arm or a child because of a land mine.

So I ask you, please be patient with us. Give us a couple of more weeks to take the land mines up if the people here ask you to do that, because you are going to be able to go back in safety and security. I want to make sure it is a happy return. (Applause.)

Now, you have given my family and me a day we will remember for the rest of our lives. All we want is for you to be able to live your lives. But I ask you to remember that the United States did not act alone. All of our NATO allies felt the same way, in Canada and Europe. And the President of the United States never acts alone -- it is the American people who care about you, who believe in you, who want you to be free, who want you to be able to go home.

Thank you. And God bless you. (Applause.)

ENDS

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