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THE WHITE HOUSE

Office of the Press Secretary


For Immediate Release January 19, 1999
                  TEXT OF A LETTER FROM THE PRESIDENT
            TO THE SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
                    AND THE PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE

January 19, 1999

Dear Mr. Speaker: (Dear Mr. President:)

In my report to the Congress of June 19, 1998, I provided further information on the deployment of combat-equipped U.S. Armed Forces to Bosnia and other states in the region in order to participate in and support the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)-led Stabilization Force (SFOR), which began its mission and assumed authority from the NATO-led Implementation Force on December 20, 1996. I am providing this supplemental report, consistent with the War Powers Resolution, to help ensure that the Congress is kept fully informed on continued U.S. contributions in support of peacekeeping efforts in the former Yugoslavia.

The U.N. Security Council authorized member states to continue SFOR in U.N. Security Council Resolution 1174 of June 15, 1998. The mission of SFOR is to provide a continued military presence in order to deter renewed hostilities, stabilize and consolidate the peace in Bosnia-Herzegovina, and contribute to a secure environment to facilitate the civilian implementation process to which SFOR provides broad support within its means and capabilities.

The U.S. force contribution to SFOR in Bosnia is approximately 6,900. In the last half of 1998, all NATO nations and 19 others, including Russia and Ukraine, have provided military personnel or other support to SFOR. Most U.S. military personnel are assigned to Multinational Division, North, centered around the city of Tuzla. In addition, approximately 2,300 U.S. military personnel are deployed to Hungary, Croatia, Italy, and other states in the region in order to provide logistical and other support to SFOR. The U.S. forces continue to support SFOR in efforts to apprehend persons indicted for war crimes. In the last 6 months, U.S. forces have sustained no fatalities.

A U.S. Army contingent remains deployed in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) as part of the United Nations Preventive Deployment Force (UNPREDEP). This U.N. peacekeeping force, which includes some 350 U.S. military personnel, observes and monitors conditions along the border with the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. The UNPREDEP continues to play a key role in preventing the spillover of ethnic conflict from the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY) into FYROM and the region. In doing so, it has helped FYROM become a bulwark against the southward spread of the conflict in the FRY. Several U.S. Army support helicopters and approximately 24 personnel are also deployed to provide support to U.S. forces and may provide emergency support to UNPREDEP as required. The U.N. Security Council voted July 21, 1998, to authorize an extension of the UNPREDEP mandate through February 28, 1999. To help maintain stability in the region in light of the situation in Kosovo, we are currently considering the extension of UNPREDEP's mandate.

I have directed the participation of U.S. Armed Forces in these operations pursuant to my constitutional authority to conduct U.S. foreign relations and as Commander in Chief and Chief Executive, and in accordance with various statutory authorities. I am providing this report as part of my efforts to keep the Congress fully informed about developments in Bosnia and other states in the region. I will continue to consult closely with the Congress regarding our efforts to foster peace and stability in the former Yugoslavia.

Sincerely,

WILLIAM J. CLINTON

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