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                     Office of the Press Secretary
                           (Yulee, Florida)
For Immediate Release                                       May 27, 1999
                         TO THE KOSOVAR PEOPLE

"On behalf of all Americans, Hillary and I send a message of hope and solidarity to the Kosovar people. Over the last few months, you have been forced from your homes. You have seen terrible violence. Many of you are still searching for friends and family members.

I met with Kosovar refugees in Germany last month. My wife recently met with another group in Macedonia. Your stories filled us with sorrow. Stories of decent people whose lives have been violently uprooted by scenes we thought we would never again see in Europe.

Stories of innocent people beaten and brutalized for no reason but their ethnicity and faith -- people rounded up in the middle of the night, forced to board trains for unknown destinations, separated from their families. Stories of people arriving in refugee camps with nothing but a fierce determination to find their loved ones and return to their villages with their culture intact.

But you have not been defeated. You have not given in to despair. And you have not allowed the horror you have seen to harden your hearts or destroy your faith in a better life in the land of your birth.

You left Kosovo with one goal: to return in safety. The United States and its NATO allies are working for the same goal. It will take time. But with your strength and our determination, there is no doubt what the outcome will be. The campaign of ethnic cleansing in Kosovo will end. You will return.

Our military campaign is daily increasing the pressure on the Serbian leadership and on Serbian forces in Kosovo. They know we will persevere until the Serbian forces leave and you are allowed to return home, with NATO there to prevent a return to violence.

In the meantime, nations across the world have come together to bring aid to you and your families. The United States has just finished building a new facility in Albania called Camp Hope, which will house up to 20,000 people. Our Congress has just approved more than $700 million in humanitarian assistance to make sure we can meet your needs both now and when you go home.

We are grateful to the people of Albania and Macedonia for accepting refugees into their countries and their homes. It is not easy for any nation to absorb huge numbers of people; and it is certainly not easy for two nations still struggling to meet the needs of their people. We recognize your sacrifices and we are committed to help, by easing your burden, and helping you build security, prosperity and democracy at home and in your neighborhood.

A great challenge can draw people together. The 19 NATO nations are not alike. But we hold the same essential values in common.

And on the eve of a new century, we refuse to be intimidated by a dictator who is trying to revive the worst memories of the century we are leaving. Thank you for you strength, and remember that no matter what has happened to you, you are not alone. The United States and NATO are with you, and we will stay with you long after you return home.


NOTE: Sound from this message is available on the White House Press Office Radio Actuality Line at 202/456-5671.

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