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Balkans: KFOR Commander Press Conference

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
Office of the Spokesman
(Rome)

For Immediate Release July 29, 1999

PRESS AVAILABILITY WITH U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE MADELEINE K. ALBRIGHT, KFOR COMMANDER GENERAL MIKE JACKSON, AND UN SPECIAL REPRESENTATIVE BERNARD KOUCHNER

KFOR Headquarters, Pristina

July 29, 1999

SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: Let me just say I'm very pleased. I've gotten some excellent briefings from General Jackson and from Dr. Kouchner on what they've been able to accomplish in the last days. Obviously, there's a lot of work to be done, but there's also a tremendous amount of enthusiasm and willingness to work. And I am very encouraged by the cooperation between KFOR and UNMIK; I think they are working well together. It's necessary to get as much speed into this whole process [as possible], but from my perspective after having just listened to them for a while, I am much encouraged.

QUESTION: (Inaudible in French).

SECRETARY ALBRIGHT (In French): Certainly, that worries me. But I think we ourselves must do everything possible to examine what really happened. We are in a land where so many things have happened over the last several months. I cannot say--nor can I comprehend-all that is going on. But I think that the most important thing now is that it be examined by the War Crimes Tribunal.

QUESTION: Madame secretary, what will you say to the Serb community today given their profound sense of insecurity here at the moment [inaudible]?

SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: I would tell them that the system here is set up in order to protect them, that we all want to see a multi-ethnic Kosovo, that they should stay, and that KFOR is here and UNMIK is here. There was obviously a dreadful incident. We can't forget that there were some pretty disgusting things that took place before, but the system is set up in order to protect them. They should stay.

QUESTION: What will you be asking of the KLA and others with influence within the Albanian community to try to do more tho end violence against the Serbs [inaudible]?

SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: I'm going to be meeting with them and I'm going to tell them that I hope very much that they will play their role in making sure that this is a multi-ethnic society.

QUESTION: The U.S. has been kind of critical of the speed with which UNMIK has been delivering its mission. How has that been in play in the discussions between you and Dr. Kouchner?

SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: I have not been critical of the speed. I have understood that this is a very difficult mission, and in comparison, frankly, with some of the other start-ups in other places, I think this is moving along very well. I think that it is very important to get some synergy- increasing synergy-between KFOR and UNMIK. I respect what Dr. Kouchner is doing. He is not here alone; he has to be supported by the international community. We hope very much that the U.N. bureaucracy will move as fast as it possibly can. But being critical is not the way to approach this.

MR. KOUCHNER: And if I may add something, Madeleine, we started from zero, from nothing. On that police issue, I'm still waiting for the police officer-active police officer--to come. And we consider that question, and we are going to speed it. But for the moment we are still waiting. So without means, it's not easy to go very fast.

QUESTION: There has been some criticism of Dr.Rugova, that he is neglecting his duties. Do you have a comment to make...?

SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: I think that if we're going to have it be a multi- party system within Kosovo, it is important for everybody to play their role. I would hope that Mr. Rugova would come back and play the role that the LDK expects him to, but there are other LDK members, and what I would like to see is some exchange of views between the various Kosovar Albanians.

Thank you.

(###)


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