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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release June 14, 1999
                         TEXT OF A LETTER FROM

June 12, 1999

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

On March 26, April 7, and May 25, 1999, I reported to the Congress, consistent with the War Powers Resolution, concerning U.S. participation in the NATO air strikes against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY) and in supporting operations in the region, in response to the FRY Government's campaign of violence and repression against the civilian population of Kosovo. In my report of June 5, 1999, under section 8115 of the Department of Defense Appropriations Act, 1999 (Public Law 105-262), I noted the FRY had accepted the detailed set of principles for ending the conflict, as presented by Finnish President Ahtisaari along with Russian Special Envoy Chernomyrdin. I also stated that I had authorized the deployment of a significant contingent of military personnel to Kosovo as part of an international security presence (KFOR), provided it became clear that Belgrade had fully adopted NATO's conditions and was withdrawing its forces.

I can now confirm that the FRY has accepted NATO's conditions, and the process of implementing them has begun. On June 9, Lieutenant General Sir Michael Jackson, the NATO commander of KFOR, concluded a Military-Technical Agreement (MTA) with FRY authorities. The MTA specifies the detailed modalities and schedule for the full withdrawal of all FRY military, paramilitary and police forces from Kosovo. The MTA also details the role and authorities of KFOR, confirming that it can take the measures necessary to create a secure environment for the return of the Kosovars to their homes in safety and self-government. Among other authorities, KFOR is empowered to ensure that the withdrawal of FRY forces proceeds on schedule, to protect KFOR and the civil implementation presence, and assist other international entities involved in restoring peace to Kosovo.

Conclusion of the MTA and the subsequent start of Serb force withdrawals paved the way for NATO to suspend its air campaign on June 10, 1999, and for the United Nations Security Council on the same day to adopt Resolution 1244 authorizing the establishment of the international security force.

In view of these events, I have directed the deployment of approximately 7,000 U.S. military personnel as the U.S. contribution to the approximately 50,000-member, NATO-led security force (KFOR) now being deployed into Kosovo. The KFOR will operate under unified NATO command and control, and with rules of engagement set by the Alliance. As part of the central NATO role that we have insisted upon, and consistent with the recommendations of my senior civilian and military advisors, U.S. personnel participating in these efforts will be under the operational control solely of officers from the United States or other NATO countries. In addition, a total of approximately 1,500 U.S. military personnel, under separate U.S. command and control, will deploy to other countries in the region, as our national support element, in support of KFOR.

I expect that after the withdrawal of all Serb forces from Kosovo and an initial stabilization period, KFOR will be progressively reduced as the security situation permits and international and local police forces are established. The KFOR ultimately will transfer responsibilities to the international provisional administration, local institutions, and other appropriate organizations.

I have taken this action pursuant to my constitutional authority to conduct U.S. foreign relations and as Commander in Chief and Chief Executive.

I am providing this report as part of my efforts to keep the Congress fully informed, consistent with the War Powers Resolution. I appreciate the continued support of the Congress in this action.



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