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Office of the Vice President

For Immediate Release May 18, 2000
                           ON THE KOSOVO VOTE

     I am pleased the United States Senate defeated the Byrd-Warner

amendment today. This measure would have imposed an artificial deadline on the withdrawal of American forces in Kosovo. To have been forced to withdraw in this manner would have demoralized our allies, emboldened those in the region who favor violence as a solution to their disputes, and handed President Milosevic a victory that he could not win through military force. We agree with the Congress that America must not engage in open-ended military commitments and that our allies must bear a fair share of the burden of any commitments to which they are a party. But once we are engaged, we need steadiness of purpose.

On this day one year ago, America's sons and daughters were engaged in an armed struggle for the future of Kosovo and the future of Europe. Their courage and commitment to the principle that ethnic cleansing will not stand ended the killing. Now, the United States and its allies are dedicated to winning the peace, helping to build a future for the region based on democracy, free markets and the rule of law. Today's vote ensures that their efforts would not have been in vain and the goal for which they risked their lives would not be denied.