ad info

CNN.com
 MAIN PAGE
 WORLD
 ASIANOW
 U.S.
 LOCAL
 POLITICS
 WEATHER
 BUSINESS
 SPORTS
 TECHNOLOGY
 NATURE
 ENTERTAINMENT
 BOOKS
 TRAVEL
 FOOD
 HEALTH
 STYLE
 IN-DEPTH

 Headline News brief
 daily almanac
 CNN networks
 CNN programs
 on-air transcripts
 news quiz

  CNN WEB SITES:
CNN Websites
 TIME INC. SITES:
 MORE SERVICES:
 video on demand
 video archive
 audio on demand
 news email services
 free email accounts
 desktop headlines
 pointcast
 pagenet

 DISCUSSION:
 message boards
 chat
 feedback

 SITE GUIDES:
 help
 contents
 search

 FASTER ACCESS:
 europe
 japan

 WEB SERVICES:
US

White House: U.S. open to review of use of ground troops


In this story:

Issue to be reviewed at NATO summit

Sources: Clark frustrated

RELATED STORIES, SITES icon



April 21, 1999
Web posted at: 6:39 p.m. EDT (2239 GMT)

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- With NATO's airstrikes against Yugoslavia moving toward a second month, the Clinton administration on Wednesday left the door open for reconsidering the use of ground troops in Kosovo.

"If the military command ... and the (NATO) secretary-general believe that it's prudent to update the assessment based on the changing circumstances on the ground, we would support that," White House spokesman Joe Lockhart told reporters in comments that were echoed on Capitol Hill by U.S. Defense Secretary William Cohen.

Cohen, testifying before Congress on the costs and progress of the Kosovo campaign, repeated that if Gen. Wesley Clark, the supreme NATO commander, and NATO Secretary-General Javier Solana call for a reassessment of ground troops, that "can happen very quickly."

However, administration officials said, this in no way was a sign of a coming shift in strategy.

"That's updating an assessment -- it's not changing policy, it's not committing ground troops should they go forward with this," Lockhart said.

"It's looking at whether the problems that were evident when they looked at this in October ... have changed, how we would address them, whether the situation would be more difficult, less difficult," he added.

Issue to be reviewed at NATO summit

The administration and its NATO allies have steadfastly said that the issue of using ground troops in Kosovo was put to rest in October, when the alliance did an assessment that showed that as many as 200,000 troops would be needed for a successful invasion of Yugoslavia.

NATO spokesmen have said the alliance had not even drawn up contingency plans for the use of ground troops, even after criticism emerged that NATO had given the Yugoslav military a tactical advantage by precluding the option.

On Tuesday, however, top U.S. officials said that the controversial issue would be reviewed by the alliance's political leaders this weekend at NATO's 50th anniversary summit.

"I am sure the full range of issues involving Kosovo will be discussed, but I believe that the consensus in NATO very clearly is to stay the course," National Security Adviser Samuel Berger said at a White House briefing with Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and Cohen.

White House sources said Wednesday that NATO military leaders are also conducting a review of alliance strategy. That review, they said, likely will include looking anew at the analysis done last October on what it would take for a major ground combat offensive in Kosovo.

"It is prudent to periodically update all NATO assessments," a senior administration official said. "We are nearly 30 days into this and the facts on the ground have changed. ... But our policy on ground troops has not changed, and there are no signs it is going to change."

Sources: Clark frustrated

Congressional sources tell CNN that lawmakers who visited with NATO commanding general Clark came away convinced he was dedicated to an air campaign.

These sources, however, said Clark voiced frustration that the requirement for a political consensus within the alliance had left him "hamstrung" in choosing targets.

Clark, for example, was said to be in favor of a tight embargo on oil shipments to Yugoslavia and is an advocate of striking key electricity plants.

But the congressional sources said Clark had not been able to win approval for more aggressive targeting because of objections from France and other NATO allies.

Several U.S. officials told CNN that a prime topic of a Wednesday dinner between President Bill Clinton and British Prime Minister Tony Blair will be using this weekend's NATO summit to win approval for "ratcheting up" the intensity of the campaign against Yugoslavia.

One of these officials put the odds at 50-50 that Clinton and Blair would be able to win approval of the oil embargo and other more aggressive steps.

White House Correspondent John King contributed to this article.



CNN INDEPTH SPECIAL SECTION:
NATO at 50

RELATED STORIES:
UNHCR says relief agencies have 'breathing space'
April 21, 1999
U.S. 'tank-killer' helicopters arrive in Albania
April 21, 1999
Ground troops option to be reviewed by NATO leaders
April 21, 1999
U.S. to push for Yugoslavia oil embargo
April 20, 1999
Active duty ahead for thousands of reservists
April 16, 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:
  • F-117s arrive at Aviano to support possible NATO operations
  • 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:
  • U.S. Agency for International Development (Kosovo aid)
  • Doctors of the World
  • 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
  • The Jewish Agency for Israel
  • Mercy International


Media:
  • Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty
  • 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
Note: Pages will open in a new browser window
External sites are not endorsed by CNN Interactive.

 LATEST HEADLINES:
SEARCH CNN.com
Enter keyword(s)   go    help

Back to the top   © 2001 Cable News Network. All Rights Reserved.
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines.