View Header


                     Office of the Press Secretary
                          (Ramstein, Germany)
For Immediate Release                                        May 5, 1999
                         REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT
                           IN PHOTO OPPORTUNITY
                        WITH THREE U.S. SERVICEMEN 

                        Ramstein Air Base, Germany

5:53 P.M. (L)

Q Mr. President, would you favor releasing the Yugoslav soldiers, now that the U.S. soldiers have been released?

THE PRESIDENT: I think Secretary Cohen answered this earlier today, but several days ago I raised this issue with our national security people, asking them if they would look at it and make recommendations, and I expect to get it in a couple days and -- Right now I'm just glad they're home -- or they're halfway home, anyway, a couple days they'll be home.

What I think all Americans want for these fine soldiers is what we also want for the over 1 million people of Kosovo -- we want them to go home, too.

And their families -- I want to tell you I had occasion to talk with their families on a couple of occasions, and they were concerned, loving, and they were vigorous advocates for their loved ones. And I was very proud of the way they conducted themselves during this incredibly difficult time for them as well. And I want to thank them for the loyalty they had for their children, husbands, nephews, brothers -- and for the love they have for their country. I was also very moved by them.

Q Why do you think Milosevic let them go, sir?

THE PRESIDENT: I think he had a number of motives. The important thing is that he did let them go. They were in a peacekeeping mission in Macedonia, they had nothing whatever to do with this. They never should have been taken in the first place. I appreciate what they were doing in Macedonia and their service to our country and I'm glad they're free.

END 5:56 P.M. (L)