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Clinton: 'Victory for a safer world'

President Clinton speaks about the end to the conflict in Yugoslavia
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Map: Serb troop withdrawal

Map: Proposed NATO troop sectors

Peacekeepers prepare to enter Kosovo

First U.S. Marines land in Greece

Belgrade celebrates agreement


Crisis in Kosovo


Cohen: Precision bombing limited casualities

June 10, 1999
Web posted at: 8:55 p.m. EDT (0055 GMT)

In this story:

'Just 20 instances of weapons going astray'

'Magnificent job' by pilots

Peacekeepers face risks


WASHINGTON (CNN) -- In an Oval Office address to the American people Thursday night, President Clinton said the United States and its NATO allies "achieved a victory for a safer world" in Kosovo.

"For the first time in 79 days, the skies over Yugoslavia are silent," Clinton said. "An unnecessary conflict has been brought to a just and honorable conclusion."

Clinton said now the job is to prosecute war criminals, rebuild war damage and return refugees. He said NATO's victory brings new hope that the world will not look the other way when people are persecuted for their race or faith.

Clinton also thanked the men and women of the U.S. armed forces for their service, and thanked the American people for "standing up to ethnic cleansing" and helping the Kosovar refugees.

Earlier Thursday, U.S. Secretary of Defense William Cohen said that the precision bombing of Operation Allied Force pummeled Yugoslavia's military machine while limiting civilian casualties in the country.

"We achieved our goals with the most precise application of air power in history," Cohen said.

Cohen: Precision bombing won NATO's goals, limited casualties  

"Three months ago Yugoslavia was a heavily armed country with a significant air defense system," Cohen told reporters. "We reduced that defense system threat by destroying over 80 percent of Yugoslavia's modern air fighters and strategic surface-to-air missiles."

Cohen said NATO missiles and bombs destroyed more than 50 percent of Yugoslavia's artillery and more than 33 percent of its armored vehicles.

The alliance reduced the country's capacity to make ammunition by 66 percent and destroyed its oil refining ability at more than 40 percent of its military fuel supply sites, he said.

'Just 20 instances of weapons going astray'

He said 35 percent of the bombs and missiles used were precision guided, with the majority dropped on oil refineries, ammunition storage sites and troop staging areas, enabling NATO to hold down civilian casualties.

"Of more than 23,000 bombs and missiles used, we have confirmed just 20 incidents of weapons going astray from their targets to cause collateral damage," he said.

About 75 percent of Belgrade and 35 percent of Yugoslavia overall remains without electrical power due to the NATO bombings, said Army Gen. Henry Shelton, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

He said NATO used both "hard-kill" and "soft-kill" weapons on Yugoslavia's electrical systems. Soft-kill weapons allow power to be restored within 72 hours or weeks, while hard-kill weapons cause damage that could take years to repair, the general said.

The judicious weapon choice by NATO was the only reason all of Serbia was not in the dark, Shelton said.

'Magnificent job' by pilots

Cohen cited the "magnificent job that our pilots did" for the record of 78 straight days of air attacks with no fatalities and only two planes lost.

As for criticism by some that ground troops would have ended the conflict sooner, Cohen said that the debate among NATO members about the need for ground troops made it impossible to make a quick decision to deploy them.

The air campaign "was the best option under the circumstance, and ultimately has proved successful," Cohen said.

"This was a fight over values, a fight against ethnic and religious hatred, a lack of tolerance for others and the right to live in peace," he added.

Peacekeepers face risks

Cohen warned that the upcoming peacekeeping mission to Kosovo was not without risk to NATO troops.

surveillence tape
Pentagon surveillence tape of Serb troops pulling out of Kosovo  

The peacekeeping operation is likely to cost U.S. taxpayers $1.5 billion to $2 billion a year, Cohen said.

That figure does not include the cost of returning the hundreds of warplanes and thousands of troops that the Pentagon has sent to the Balkans and elsewhere in Europe since March 24 to carry out the airstrikes.

Pentagon officials said Yugoslav forces are required to withdraw from different parts of Kosovo in phases with three distinct deadlines.

  • By June 15, Yugoslav forces must be gone from an area designated as zone one.

  • By June 18, they must be out of zone two.

  • By June 20, all Yugoslav forces must be withdrawn from zone three.

U.N. Security Council standing by for Kosovo vote
June 10, 1999
Clinton to Belgrade: We will be watching
June 9, 1999
Cautious optimism heard around the world
June 9, 1999
Yugoslavia agrees to withdraw forces from Kosovo
June 9, 1999
NATO to drop food into Kosovo
June 9, 1999

Related to this story:
  • U.S. Marine Corps
  • U.S. Army
  • U.S. Department of Defense
    • The Pentagon

Extensive list of Kosovo-related sites:
  • Kosovo

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

  • Kosova Crisis Center
  • Kosova Liberation Peace Movement
  • Kosovo - from

  • 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

  • Doctors without borders
  • 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

  • Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty
  • Independent Yugoslav radio stations B92
  • Institute for War and Peace Reporting
  • United States Information Agency - Kosovo Crisis

  • Expanded list of related sites on Kosovo
  • 1997 view of Kosovo from space - Eurimage
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