United Nations, New York, June 30, 1999
Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright
As released by the Office of the Spokesman
(As Prepared for Delivery)
Mr. Secretary General, fellow ministers and colleagues: I want to begin by thanking the Secretary General for organizing this meeting, and all of you for adjusting your schedules to attend.
The challenge before us is daunting. The confrontation in Kosovo has ended, but acts of violence persist; and the work of building a lasting peace has scarcely begun.
Success will demand from us an extraordinary team effort. But I am hopeful, because the presentations we have heard, and the breadth of representation here today, show that there we have the will to do the job; that support for the UN role in Kosovo is very great; and that failure is not an option.
We must profit in Kosovo from lessons learned earlier this decade in Cambodia, Bosnia and elsewhere. The first test we face is deploying civilian and military forces quickly, with a clear mission and the right tools to do the job.
To that end, Mr. Secretary General, we support your effort to name the mission's leadership as soon as possible. And we must expedite military and civilian deployments, to bring both KFOR and UNMIK up to full strength.
A comprehensive UN civilian presence is urgently needed on the ground: to assist refugees, to fill the vacuum in civil administration, and to establish the mission's authority in Kosovo.
Under Security Council Resolution 1244, the UN Mission is, and will remain until Kosovo's final status is determined, the ultimate civilian authority. This responsibility will require vision, to forge Kosovar institutions that are truly democratic, multiethnic and representative.
It will require spine, to see that all citizens are protected, regardless of ethnicity; and that power flows from the UN to the people of Kosovo, not back to Belgrade.
It will require strength, to coordinate the work of recovery and rebuilding efficiently, and to make the best use of the resources and organizations involved.
And it will require faith that the principles of democracy and tolerance, economic reform and the rule of law are the right ones for the people of Kosovo. In all these areas, the United States is prepared to assist the UN Mission. We urge others to do so as well.
I want to stress that basic public security is fundamental. The military campaigns are over, but the people of Kosovo are not safe. KFOR is beginning to establish the conditions for security. But Kosovo also needs the rule of law that civilian police and courts. As a first step, we must ensure the early deployment of a robust UN police mission. Given the current conditions in Kosovo, these international officers should be armed and have authority to make arrests.
I am pleased to say that the United States will contribute up to 450 police officers for the mission, and we intend to have 100 in Kosovo by July 15. We are also prepared to contribute up to 100 trainers for the OSCE's police training program. It too must get underway as soon as possible.
While we work to rebuild the rule of law in Kosovo, we must not neglect our responsibility to hold accountable those who committed crimes there. The atrocities now being revealed strain human understanding. And they far outpace the investigative capacities of the International Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, which has requested our support for its efforts. It should have our full cooperation -- for only when the truth of what happened is known, and those responsible have answered for their crimes, can we hope for real healing in Kosovo.
To that end, the United States is making available more than 60 FBI agents to support the most urgent investigations in Kosovo. We hope that others will do likewise.
Let me also say that the United States is committed to making a major contribution to Kosovo's humanitarian and economic needs. We are working from the additional $1.3 billion authorized by our Congress in April for assistance for Kosovo and its neighbors. The United States welcomes the lead role in reconstruction taken by the European Union and the World Bank. We intend to participate actively and constructively in those efforts.
The United Nations also has a central part to play in Kosovo's economic recovery and revitalization. Only the UN civil administration can establish the legal, regulatory and administrative underpinnings Kosovo's economy will need. This is a new role for the UN. But it is essential to the long-term health of Kosovo and the region. The United States and our G-8 partners, as well as the European Union, World Bank and others, stand ready to provide technical assistance and resources for this effort.
As we help Kosovo get back on its feet, we must do all that we can to support the democratic transition which all the countries of Southeast Europe, with one exception, have begun. Let us work together to support the democratic aspirations of Yugoslavia's people, so the day will come when they too can share in the recovery and renewed prosperity of the region. But let us resolve to do nothing to bolster the position of the current regime in Belgrade, whose leaders are wanted in the Hague for war crimes and crimes against humanity.
Mr. Secretary General, just by bringing together this diverse and dedicated group, you have demonstrated the strength of international commitment to building a lasting peace in Kosovo. The work of reconciliation and recovery will be lengthy, complex and difficult. Let us resolve to stay the course -- and to maintain the unity we have shown today.
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