LIEBERMAN: The encouraging news is that the state news agency is reporting that Mr. Kostunica is the president-elect and there are reports that Milosevic has actually left Belgrade. That is a very happy ending to a terrible story. If that does not happen, then I think the United States, with its European allies, ought to everything we can to encourage the people of Serbia to do exactly what they’ve been doing over the last few days. I’m very proud on this night of the leadership role the United States played in the effort to stop his aggression and genocide in Bosnia and Kosovo. It was a matter of principle and America’s national interests and values. Vice President Gore played a critical role in leading the administration to do the right thing in the Balkans. Hopefully tonight we are seeing the final results of that bold effort.
I hope and pray that NATO ground forces are not needed, I hope common sense, sanity, will prevail in government in Belgrade. But it would be irresponsible not to prepare NATO’s forces now for their potential deployment.
While we all pray for peace in the Balkans, I think it is important that the peace be a principled peace. NATO has clearly stated objectives here, and we can settle for nothing less than the attainment of those objectives, which are reasonable -- that the Serbian invaders be withdrawn from Kosovo; that the Kosovars be allowed to return; and that there be an international peacekeeping force, to monitor that peace that we will have achieved.
However, if, after extended air strikes, it becomes clear that Milosevic intends to continue his war of aggression against the Kosovar people, we must have an answer to the question of what next. The bill sends an uncompromising message to Milosevic: we will not stand idly by and allow Milosevic to brutalize the people of Kosovo any longer.
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