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US

Pentagon: Yugoslavia considers captured soldiers POWs

U.S. POW's
From left, Ramirez, Stone and Gonzales

 ALSO

NATO rejects Yugoslav cease-fire offer

Clinton warns Milosevic against partial compliance

More Kosovo refugees flown out of Macedonia

Airstrikes hit home in a small Serbian town

NATO steps up campaign; civilian casualties reported

 

April 6, 1999
Web posted at: 8:11 a.m. EST (1311 GMT)

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The Yugoslav government considers the three U.S. Army soldiers captured near the Yugoslav-Macedonia border last week to be prisoners of war and will release them "at the end of the hostilities," the Pentagon said.

Belgrade also has assured the soldiers will not be tried and will be treated under international laws outlined in the Geneva Conventions.

"The encouraging thing is that, after a couple of days, the Yugoslav government has announced that they will be treated as POWs," Pentagon spokesman Ken Bacon said Monday.

"They will be released at the end of the hostilities and that they will not be tried," he said.

Meanwhile, the Serbian paramilitary leader known as Arkan on Monday promised he would do everything he could to secure the release of the three captured soldiers.

Arkan, who has been indicted for war crimes by the U.N. tribunal in The Hague, Netherlands, told CNN affiliate WJLA-TV in Washington that the three soldiers were being "well-treated."

"I know it worries you and ... lots of people in Yugoslavia want to see them free. We want to show our goodwill to the world."

The soldiers -- Staff Sgt. Andrew Ramirez, 24, of Los Angeles; Staff Sgt. Christopher Stone, 25, of Smiths Creek, Michigan; and Spec. Steven Gonzales, 21, of Huntsville, Texas -- were taken into custody last Wednesday as they patrolled the border between Macedonia and Kosovo.

The three have been seen only on Serbian television, in pictures that showed them grim-faced and bruised.

"I will give everything I can and all my influence I can to see those three brave American soldiers free," said Arkan.

Arkan, whose real name is Zeljko Raznjatovic, said none of his Tiger paramilitary troops were active in Kosovo, but he vowed to order them to the southern Serbian province if NATO deployed ground troops there.

"My identity and the identity of all the Serbs starts in Kosovo. We can't let Kosovo just like that go away. No one Serb will leave Kosovo. We will fight until the last man for Kosovo.

"We are defending our freedom. We are defending our land. We are defending our children and our lives."



RELATED STORIES:
Clinton makes appeal for Kosovar relief donations
April 5, 1999
Clinton warns Milosevic against partial compliance
April 5, 1999
Clinton: NATO will 'persist until we prevail'
April 5, 1999
More explosions in Yugoslavia; civilian casualties reported
April 5, 1999
White House rejects new calls for ground troops
April 5, 1999
Voices of refugees
April 5, 1999

RELATED SITES:
Extensive list of Kosovo-related sites
  • Kosovo

Yugoslavia:
  • Federal Republic of Yugoslavia official site
      • Kesovo and Metohija facts
  • Serbia Ministry of Information
  • Serbia Now! News


Kosovo:
  • Kosova Crisis Center
  • Kosova Liberation Peace Movement
  • Kosovo - from Albanian.com

Military:
  • NATO official site
  • BosniaLINK - U.S. Dept. of Defense
  • U.S. Navy images from Operation Allied Force
  • U.K. Ministry of Defence - Kosovo news
  • U.K. Royal Air Force - Kosovo news
  • Jane's Defence - Kosovo Crisis

Relief:
  • Unicef USA   • Doctors Without Borders
  • World Vision
  • CARE: The Kosovo Crisis
  • InterAction
  • International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies
  • International Committee of the Red Cross
  • Kosovo Humanitarian Disaster Forces Hundreds of Thousands from their Homes
  • Catholic Relief Services
  • Kosovo Relief
  • ReliefWeb: Home page


Media:
  • Independent Yugoslav radio stations B92
  • Institute for War and Peace Reporting
  • United States Information Agency - Kosovo Crisis

Other:
  • Expanded list of related sites on Kosovo
  • 1997 view of Kosovo from space - Eurimage
  • Prayers for Peace
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