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Samuel Berger Press Conference

Speaker: Samuel R. Berger, assistant to the president, National Security Affairs
Moderator: Charles Hagel, member, U.S. Senate (R-Nebraska)
July 26, 1999
Council on Foreign Relations


Senator CHARLES HAGEL (Republican, Nebraska): And I know we're all interested to hear from Sandy Berger, whom I will introduce in a moment. But I have been given some very specific instructions here, and I will make sure I fulfill my responsibilities. First, as many of you know, all of you who are members of this organization, most of these are off the record, but I think, as you can tell, this is not just the Sandy Berger Fan Club showing up with cameras. So this is very much on the record and wanted to remind you of that.

When the national security adviser has completed his remarks, then we will take questions. And as you also know the rules, please stand up and identify yourself. Please try not to give a speech when you're asking a question. Only senators can do that. We're very good at that, as Sandy knows. When we get 15 minutes per question and we use 14 to make a statement, it's usually not very cogent. But that said, now let me introduce our guest.

You all know the assistant to the president for national security affairs, Sandy Berger, and you know about his background. You also know that he comes well prepared. He served as deputy assistant to the first Clinton administration in national security affairs. He also served as then-Governor Clinton's national security adviser in 1992; was then at the State Department, if you recall, during Carter years; had a very distinguished and successful record and career in the legal profession. And I also noted, something that I didn't know about, Mr. Berger—he served as special adviser to Mayor Lindsey. I presume that's when the mayor was a Republican. He only attracted the best, I know, in those days when he was a Republican.

Also, he's well grounded on the Hill. As you know, he's very—Senator Harold Hughes, from the neighboring state of Iowa, for me, who was not just a physically towering individual, but Senator Hughes—I've always thought Sandy was one of those senators early on that really was one of the first reformists, genuine reformists, in this business. And I think we all somewhat followed his ways in that area. I'm not sure my friend John McCain always agreed with me on that.

But in any event, this is a man well grounded for his position. He serves as national security adviser at a most-interesting time in the history of man. For all that, I'm grateful I'm able to have a small part in this today and very pleased and proud to introduce you to the national security adviser to the president of the United States, Sandy Berger.

Mr. SANDY BERGER (National Security Adviser): Figure out the logistics here of doing this. First of all, thank you very much, Senator Hagel, for that introduction and for the leadership on foreign affairs that Senator Hagel increasingly is bringing to the United States Senate and the United States Congress. I believe that you will hear more and more from and of Senator Hagel as the years go by. He is an extraordinarily thoughtful observer and commentator and thinker about where America is in the world as we come to the close of this century. Thank you all for inviting me.

Mr. BERGER: I'd like to thank all of you for coming, and it's a delight to see so many old friends from the ambassadorial corps and from my previous years as a member of the audience.

I am very grateful for the opportunity today to speak with you about the challenges that America faced in Kosovo, and the important tasks that still lie ahead.

But before I do begin, I was told the ambassador of Colombia is here. Let me just say a quick word about the five US Army personnel who are missing today still in Colombia. They were on a surveillance mission looking for drug laboratories, working with two Colombian personnel, as part of our joint effort to protect both our peoples from the dangers and violence of illegal drugs. And as we continue that search, our prayers are with them.

Now let me turn to Kosovo. What I want to do today is look backward and look ahead. All across Kosovo we see reminders that America and our allies did the right thing in taking a stand against ethnic cleansing. We see it in the heartrending returns of the living and in the stark and silent testimony of the dead. The Serb forces responsible for the violence are gone. Already more than 720,000 of the roughly one million refugees have returned, but there is also tremendous sadness and the pain of remembering and the devastation left behind by Milosevic's campaign of hate. And in many victims there is rage, a desire for justice and sometimes revenge.

Now as we face these challenges, we cannot forget why we acted in this. In Bela Suka, where Serb forces murdered scores of villagers, a man who survived by pretending to be dead returned and helped bury the victims. `All of my friend were killed,' he said. `They killed 12 children. I had two buses. They burned them. I had a home. They destroyed it.'

Returning residents of Mitrovica say that, beginning last September, the smell of burning flesh rose from the chimneys of the Trepca mine. NATO soldiers found around the mine piles of clothing, shoes and identity cards belonging to the Kosovars.

In the town of Moravitza, a family returned to find unmistakable evidence that their house had been turned into a center for sexual assault: pornography, torn and bloodstained clothing, restraints.

In the city of Pec, those returning came across an elderly Kosovar woman who Serb forces had ordered to remain in her home. It was the same home where Serb paramilitaries cut her son's throat. His blood still stained her carpet. They had stolen her television and washing machine. They had taken her wedding ring, stole her family.

In a landscape dotted with mass graves, NATO troops recently found near the village of Ljubenic the largest mass grave—clan recovered so far from this conflict—with as many as 350 bodies. Returning Kosovars recalled how Serb forces lined up the villagers and fired with machine guns, continuing to shoot even after the victims fell to the ground.

In the hills outside of Lureza, a man in his 60s stood by a pile of rocks and dirt, under which was visible a black jacket and the remains of a young man. `This is my son,' he said.

We cannot forget the atrocities, the assault on humanity that prompted America and our allies to attack in Kosovo.

During the conflict, Elie Wiesel, at the request of the president, visited refugees in the camps. He reported back: `What I saw and heard there was often unbearable to the survivor that still lives in my memory. I never thought that I would hear such tales of cruelty again. I am proud that our country did the right thing in Kosovo.'

It was not happenstance that NATO prevailed. The cause was just, our goals were clear, our strategy was right and our military forces performed with enormous skill.

Could Milosevic have won? I believe the answer is yes, not by defeating NATO's military, but by splitting the alliance political. That was his strategy for success. As he put it when the conflict began, `I am ready to walk out in corpses and the West is not. That is why I shall win.' That is why it was not enough for us to simply concentrate on winning a military victory; that the heart of our strategy had to be building and sustaining the unity of our alliance.

More than once Milosevic made conciliatory gestures, even as his forces continued their brutality. He offered a phony cease-fire. He released prisoners. He reported to accept the G-8's general principles, but not the crucial details, for ending the conflict. Through it all, NATO, which in its 50-year history had never been tested in protracted conflict, did not crack. Even during the bad moments that Milosevic sought to exploit, strikes against military targets that resulted in collateral civilian casualties—and, of course, the mistaken bombing of China's embassy in Belgrade—NATO stood together. From Germany, engaged in its first post-war military action, with Greece and Italy, with historic and economic ties to Serbia, to our three new NATO allies finding themselves at arms just 12 days after joining NATO, our 19 democracies stayed the course until it became clear that Milosevic could not undermine our unity and our purpose.

Undeniably, there were costs to operating as an alliance. In the beginning, our military leaders did not have all the authority, for example, in terms of targeting that we would've had, had we been acting alone. But day by day we worked to raise the level of allied consensus.

The critical moment came, I believe, on the 50th-anniversary NATO summit in Washington, four weeks into the air campaign. The leaders arrived having made their own choice to go forward in Kosovo. They left with a firm, collective will.

Maintaining that essential unity required careful handling of the issue of ground forces, much discussed here during the conflict. NATO did develop and update ground force options. And if necessary, the president was prepared to seek allied and congressional support for a ground operation because he was determined that NATO would prevail. But a premature debate over ground invasion would've been divisive and counterproductive; weakening, not strengthening, our essential solidarity against Milosevic, perhaps even giving him an opportunity to achieve a dishonorable compromise.

There were, moreover, good reasons to be cautious about deploying ground forces. In addition to testing allied unity, risked our support from Serbia's neighbors and our chance for working with Russia to end the conflict. And prevailing on the ground would have come at substantial cost, military and civilian.

I profoundly disagree with those who said that not putting forces on the ground and, instead, relying upon our own overwhelming air advantage somehow undermined America's moral position. Morality in a military conflict, I would submit, derives from the from the justness of the cause and the care taken to minimize civilian casualties. In combat it is a good thing to achieve your objectives with minimum loss to your side. We gain no moral elevation, but needless loss of lives.

From the beginning until the end, we strongly believed NATO could and would prevail with a sustained air campaign. As we expected, we achieved essential domination from the air once we neutralized Serbia's air defenses. We took advantage of precision munitions, stealth bombers and other advances that allow military operations with an accuracy and effectiveness far beyond what was possible just a few years ago. Our strong airlift and tanker capability and stage and support from nations of the region allowed us ultimately to sustain the campaign virtually 24 hours a day with debilitating effects on Serbia's leadership. Above all, we had the skill and the training and courage of our men and women in uniform and those of our allies.

NATO flew more than 37,000 strike-and-support sorties over 78 days. Our air crew has faced many dangers, including hundreds of surface-to-air missile attacks. In the end, NATO lost only two aircraft and not a single crew member. A remarkable performance.

We will never know exactly why Milosevic ultimately capitulated, but I believe there are several reasons. As I noted, he failed to split our alliance, as he believed he could. Particularly in the final weeks of the campaign, our strikes were doing severe damage to Serbia's ground forces in Kosovo and other assets supporting its military machine. And Serbia's assault in Kosovo, far from eliminating the Kosovo Liberation Army, it energized and strengthened it.

We knew the power to change Serbia's course was concentrated in Milosevic's hands, and we knew that he was not immuned to pressure from within. By raising the alliance consensus, we were able to strike harder and wider at Serbia's military-related assets. And we employed other means: enforcing tough economic sanctions, tightening travel restrictions, freezing financial holdings, making it difficult for Serbia's privileged class to go abroad, move money around or plan their exits. In one case of a Milosevic crony, the family in tow, suitcase bulging, found themselves denied entry to a nearby country. Such developments raised the level of anxiety and discontent within Belgrade's power source.

The reverberations from NATO's actions spread from the military, where defections and dissent mounted, to Milosevic's economic patrons, where losses were growing. Initial public mood in Serbia, defiant support for Milosevic's stand, turned sour as the impact of our efforts came home.

Many around Milosevic came to see the futility and the risks of intransigence. And I believe his indictment by the International War Crimes Tribunal also helped persuade his most-powerful supporters that he was a falling star.

Last but not least was our continuous effort to engage Russia in diplomacy. Russia, of course, strongly opposed our air campaign, but it was prepared to work with us in an effort to end the conflict. The Russians agreed that the refugees should go home, that Serb forces should leave and that some form of international security force was needed to protect the people. When finished, President Ahtisaari and Russian special envoy Chernomyrdin finally sat down with Milosevic in Belgrade and spoke with one voice. He had no place to go. He accepted our conditions the next day.

I want to make one more point about NATO's military campaign. I believe we acted, not only in the right way, but at the right time, when intensive peace efforts had failed and Milosevic's intent was unmistakable. Having gone through the agonizing experience of Bosnia, where it took far too long to refocus on stopping the war rather than simply aiding the victims, we were determined to gain an alliance decision to act swiftly.

Some have claimed that NATO's air campaign caused the Serb campaign of ethnic cleansing in the first place. That is plainly wrong. When NATO strikes began, Serb forces already were implementing a carefully planned campaign to rid Kosovo of its ethnic population, its Albanian population, dead or alive.

We hoped that initiating military action would stop them, but we knew that it was equally possible that it would not and that a sustained campaign might be necessary. We were determined to do the best we could to halt and, if necessary, reverse a massive ethnic cleansing.

Sadly, we could not prevent the tragedy that occurred, but had America and our allies done nothing, an entire people would have been erased, an entire region would have been dangerously destabilized with two million refugees awash in Southeastern Europe. And at the end of this bloodiest of centuries, we would have faced history's judgment that the world's most-powerful alliance was unwilling to act when confronted with crimes against humanity at its own doorstep.

But standing against such evil is only half the battle. Now we have the opportunity, indeed the responsibility, to stand for a positive vision and work to bring it about. We won the war, but it will be a hollow victory if we lose the peace. That is why the president and other allied leaders have articulated a vision for Kosovo and all of Southeast Europe, a vision of nations coming together to build stronger democracy and economies as they join the mainstream of Europe. Despite 10 years of turmoil in the Balkans, many of Southeast Europe's nations already are on a path of political and economic reform and regional cooperation, but there is far to go.

Our victory is not complete when thousands and hundreds of thousands of Kosovars are returning to shattered lives. Our work is not done when Serbia is still ruled by the same leader who has caused such suffering for his people and the region. Our job is not finished when the people of this promising, but troubled, region are still threatened by dangerous instability. So we will work with our allies and partners to rebuild Kosovo, to promote democracy in Serbia and to advance freedom, tolerance, prosperity and integration all across Southeastern Europe.

In Kosovo, there are tremendous challenges ahead in creating a future from the total devastation left by the Serb assault. First, we must create a secure environment where the people of all groups are safe and rebuilding can go forward. Already some 35,000 troops, mostly from NATO nations—they're also from Russia and other countries—have deployed to Kosovo to constitute the international security force, or KFOR. The total will be 50,000 with about 7,000 Americans.

For obvious reasons there is a great deal of anger in Kosovo right now. Remember the stories with which I began. Last month I could hear it in the voices of the refugees I spoke with when President Clinton visited the refugee camp in Macedonia. Since the conflict ended, we have seen it in the burning of houses, the scapegoating of the gypsies and, most chilling of all, in the murder last week of 14 Serb civilians in the town of Gracko.

To be sure, this act of violence is not the same as the massive, systematic campaign that was unleashed by Milosevic. Let me say that again about this. To be sure, this act of violence is not the same as the massive, systematic campaign that was unleashed by Milosevic, but it is profoundly wrong and unacceptable. We will work against it. And those in the region who wish to be our partners must work actively against it as well.

Over the weekend Kosovar leader Thaqi strongly condemned the killings in Dracko. NATO, the UN, the War Crimes Tribunal are investigating, but we must be clear America did not fight in Kosovo for one ethnic group and against another. We fought for a stable, peaceful Europe, for the principle that no people should be singled out for destruction because of their ethnicity and culture.

Unfortunately, most Serbs have left Kosovo, at least for now. We must work to create an environment where those Serbs who wish to return and remain can do so in a safe way.

Second, we must help meet the humanitarian needs of the Kosovo people. In parts of Kosovo, entire neighborhoods and villages have been completely destroyed. Forty percent of the water supply in villages is of poor quality—in many cases, I note, polluted by corpses. Serb forces destroyed 300 schools, clinics, stores, bakeries, farms, livestock. Already more than 90 relief agencies and organizations from around the world, including our own USAID, are on the ground distributing foods, water, tents, building materials and health-care supplies.

This Wednesday, in Brussels, nations and international institutions will hold a donors conference focused on financing the immediate humanitarian need in Kosovo. The European Union and its member nations will be principal contributors for humanitarian aid and for reconstruction in Kosovo. But their burden sharing should not be an excuse for us to abdicate our responsibility. So I am pleased to announce today that, at the conference, the United States will be prepared to commit up to $500 million in additional humanitarian aid for Kosovo, subject to a clear assessment of need and confirmation that other donors will do their part. In the fall, after a more comprehensive damage assessment is completed, another conference will mobilize aid for long-term reconstruction.

Third, to bring closure, to bring accountability, to ensure that reconciliation triumphs over revenge, justice must be done. KFOR has identified more than 200 sites of atrocities. Scores of FBI personnel have been working with investigators from six other countries. Their task has included, of course, obtaining evidence related to the indictment of Slobodan Milosevic.

Fourth, an effective international administration must be established to pave way for self-government down the road. The United Nations is moving to get this done. The newly appointed UN representative for Kosovo is Bernard Kouchner, probably familiar to some of you in this room, founder of the highly regarded humanitarian group Doctors Without Borders and, until recently, a French health minister. His deputy, also familiar to many of you in this room, is American doctor, a seasoned Balkan veteran, Serb organizer, diplomat until who—who until recently was special assistant to the president at the NSC.

Over 700 UN and other international personnel already are in Kosovo. The UN mission so far has appointed 19 judicial officials and is working to establish an effective court system. Eighteen countries have committed officers to the projected 3,100 officer UN Civil Police force; 160 already are on the ground, with hundreds more expected in the next few weeks.

Fifth, we must help build local institutions of self-government that are responsive, effective and will further ethnic and religious tolerance. UN officials already are working to build a local police force; officer training will begin next month. They are addressing the difficult questions of selection of mayors and appointment of jobs among ethnic groups. They're working with officials of Pristina university to create mixed ethnic classes, where before there had been none. They are supporting efforts to revive and bolster local television, radio services and other independent media. And 10 days ago leaders of Kosovo's political groups, Serb as well as Albanian, held the first meeting of the Kosovo transitional council, which will lay the groundwork for a local economy.

There are, of course, unresolved questions about Kosovo's long-term future. It's understandable that the people of Kosovo do not wish to be governed by Slobodan Milosevic anymore. As a practical matter, they will not. In time, when the people of Kosovo and Serbia have democracy, when in all of southeast Europe human rights are respected and minorities have a voice, the just future for Kosovo can be determined peacefully. For now, the international community will protect Kosovo and we will encourage efforts by people of Serbia to bring democratic change to that country so the region can develop in peace.

It is increasingly clear that Serbs from all walks of life have had enough of the brutal and hateful policies that have brought so much suffering to the Serb people and to people throughout the Balkans. Let me stress this point: We will not provide one penny for reconstruction. We will not work to bring Serbia into Europe as we will do with the rest of the region so long as an indicted war criminal rules and governs.

And as we rebuild Kosovo, we must seize this historic opportunity to make southeast Europe, at last, a vital and integral part of a peaceful united Europe. We have traveled similar roads before. From the rubble of World War II, the Marshall Plan, NATO and other efforts, helped build a prosperous democratic united western Europe that has been the cornerstone of our security for 50 years. And with the collapse of the Berlin Wall, we and others helped the nations of central Europe, and in a remarkable 10 years, they have overcome the harsh legacy of communism to build democracy and growing market economies and have become our security partners and even our NATO partners.

Now we have an historic opportunity to help put the last pieces of the puzzle in place in Europe and to realize the vision the president has pursued since early in his presidency: a Europe undivided, democratic and at peace for the first time in history. This Friday in Sarajevo, President Clinton and leaders of more than 35 other nations will gather to launch the Balkan Stability Pact, a framework for promoting democracy, prosperity and security across the region. As was the case with our earlier efforts for Europe, we will look to the leaders of the region to define their own plans for political and economic reform at home and cooperation across borders.

In Sarajevo, southeast Europe's leaders will reaffirm their intent to improve the climate for trade and investing. We and our allies will undertake to help with reforms, speed their integration into the world trading system and encourage our private sector to play a strong role in their development. The nations of the region will commit to deepen cooperation among themselves for economic growth and greater security and we will reaffirm our commitment to help these nations who courageously bore a heavy burden in the Kosovo conflict to strengthen their ties to Europe.

Conference participants also will endorse democratic change in Serbia and reaffirm support for leaders who stand up for democracy, like President Djukanovic of Montenegro and Bosnian Serb Prime Minister Bojic, both of whom will be present. To hold this meeting in a peaceful Sarajevo and a struggling, but slowly healing Bosnia, itself, is remarkable. Near the start of the 20th century, violence in Sarajevo triggered the First World War. More recently, Sarajevo has been the site of some of the worst atrocities since the Second World War. Now we have the chance to end this century in Sarajevo, with a gathering of international leaders engaged in building a future of tolerance, peace and progress for the region.

As in Kosovo, the European Union will provide most of the resources for funding for developing—development across the region, but our participation is very much needed. For many people in southeast Europe, as in many other places around the world, as we saw again yesterday in Morocco, America is a symbol of hope and resolve. And helping this region with strong international interest, it will make it far less ...(inaudible) that our troops will be called upon to risk their lives in another perhaps far costlier European conflict in the future. It will make the whole of Europe a stronger partner for advancing our interests and values. So we need a strong US commitment and that means a strong bipartisan commitment. For that, we look to work with members of Congress, like Senator Hagel, who recognized that we cannot ensure our prosperity and security at home, unless we continue to engage and address critical problems abroad. There was bipartisan support in the Congress for helping the Kosovar refugees in their tents. I hope there will be bipartisan support for helping them in their homes.

Let me end as I began through the tale of return. Fehmi Agani was a prominent Kosovar professor who led with courage and dignity the struggle to restore peace and human rights to Kosovo. Last month, his wife and son returned to the family home near Pristina. They found it completely ransacked. Serb forces had torn it apart on the same day that they took Aghani off of a—on a bus full of Kosovars. His body was found on a roadside, three bullet holes in his head. After the conflict ended, Aghani's widow and son considered an offer to come to America. But like hundreds of thousands of other Kosovars, they went home to Kosovo. They went home to help realize Fehmi Agani's dream of a democratic Kosovo and a democratic southeast Europe, where people build a peaceful and prosperous future together. In the name of Fehmi Agani and others who perished, in the name of their survivors and in our own profound national interest, we must help make that dream a reality. Thank you.


Sen. HAGEL: Sandy, thank you very much. And again, we are particularly appreciative of the fact that you were in Morocco yesterday and got back, I suspect, when the sun came up this morning. So thank you. Also wanted to, on behalf of Council, recognize and thank all our distinguished guests here. We have many distinguished ambassadors in the audience today. And we're grateful that you have come by and say hello and spend some time with Mr. Berger.

Now I understand you have to be out of here by 1:00, so we've got some minutes. And again, I would remind you, if you can, if you could stand up, identify yourself, and I know your questions will be insightful and crisp. Abner.

ABNER: ...(inaudible) You know, Sandy, this sort of policy that (inaudible) to maintain an altitude of 15,000 feet near this (inaudible) recognizing that this will produce a pattern like what we had done, plus, in time, ...(inaudible) the opportunity to accomplish certain things like we've been discussing now.

Mr. BERGER: Well, as this campaign was planned, it was planned against the reality of a quite sophisticated Serbian air defense system. And Serbia, of course, is part of the former Yugoslavia, part of the former Warsaw Pact—no, it's not part of the Warsaw Pact. But in any case, certainly with a very sophisticated air defense system. That's my point. And our conviction was that the first task that we needed to do was to neutralize their air defense system. We were able to do that. And, ultimately, Admiral, we were flying much lower than 15,000 feet. We were flying at 8,000 feet and lower once we were able to neutralize the air defense system and be able to do so in a way that was safe for our pilots and for other NATO pilots.

Unidentified Man: In back. Yes, sir.

Unidentified Man: ...(inaudible) what you would suggest, at this point, is the most important lesson that's been learned and, finally, how long Americans might expect to keep US troops deployed in the region?

Mr. BERGER: Well, you may recall that we spoke a good deal about Bosnia during the campaign in 1992. It was `the economy, stupid' that dominated the public dialogue. But the president spoke quite frequently about the need to try to end the war in Bosnia. What we discovered in the first two years was that Europeans who had forces on the ground, UNPOFOR, doing essentially humanitarian work were not willing to make the shift from saving the victims to stopping the war. We, of course, could not bomb with so many of our friends from Canada and Europe on the ground.

I think what happened was that as the war and continued and, indeed, intensified and then, finally, we had the horrible situation in Srebrenica with the Gorazde assault on the way. I think all of the allies came to a conclusion that this was not something that could not continue to sustain the victim. We had to try to stop the bleeding. And we then shifted, as you know, to an air effort in Rava, Sarajevo. I would say that Bosnia had an important role, incidentally, because having gone through the Bosnian experience, having spent three years not being as forceful as I think we believe that we should have been, I think there was a strong impulse on the part of the president that we had to act quickly here. And when the peace process broke down, we moved quite expeditiously. So I think, in that sense—you have to see Kosovo, in many ways, in the context of Bosnia.

Second of all, Bosnia provided the track record of Milosevic, as if we needed any. There, 2.5 million people were displaced, 250,000 people were killed. We knew what he was capable of. We were going to try to avoid it happening again in Kosovo. So I think, in many respects, Bosnia gave impetus and propulsion to what we did in Kosovo.

Unidentified Man: And armed troops, sir?

Mr. BERGER: I think we have to be driven by the mission. The mission of the troops is to create a secure environment, during which the United Nations and its constituents in related organizations will establish or re-establish the elements of self-government, including a local police, including the local elected officials, including schools. And I think that our hope would be that after a period in which there was peace and calm returned, we would be able to leave and, certainly, perhaps even before that, we would be able to draw down. We've drawn down in Bosnia. We've had 20,000 troops in Bosnia; we now have less than 7,000 troops in Bosnia.

And part of it depends upon what happens in Serbia, and I think that the issue of Kosovo is hard to imagine without regard to what is in Belgrade. If Slobodan Milosevic remains in Belgrade, it's hard for me to see Kosovo's future as being, in any kind of enduring way, tied to Kosovo. On the other hand, we are willing to work and support those voices of the Serbian people who believe that new leadership is necessary.

Sen. HAGEL: Yes, sir. Yes.

Mr. PHIL JONES: This is Phil Jones from ...(inaudible) mentioned Colombia ...(inaudible). When President Pastrana was here some months ago, there was an agreement that he would have 90 days to continue with his attempt ...(inaudible) negotiations with the narco-terrorists in this country. Since then, the situation has deteriorated significantly, and these groups have taken over larger and larger sections of the country in which, at best, you'll have a condition of ungovernability or possibly, you know, staying ruled by these narco-terrorists. I was wondering, in the light of recent events, what advice you'd be giving President Pastrana and how do you see the situation there, and how do we know it's over?

Mr. BERGER: Well, I think you have to put this in context of a 30-year insurgency. This is not something that just kind of sprung up between Pastrana's visit to the United States and last week. And these groups already control two-thirds roughly of Colombia, although not the urban areas. We have supported Pastrana's peace efforts, and we'll continue to do so. Obviously there have been setbacks, but I think, in the first instance, it is for him to determine what the correct way is to pursue this, and we will support him in that effort.

Sen. HAGEL: Yes, sir.

Mr. CHARLES SCOTT: Charles Scott. The question I'd like to concentrate on here has to do with the impact of Kosovo on NATO enlargement. More specifically, some of the countries in the neighborhood did exceptionally well, very supportive: Romania, Slovakia, Bulgaria and so on. If we cannot speed up ...(inaudible) is there anything else that these administrations plan to do for reinforcements? Thank you.

Mr. BERGER: Well, I think there are two ways to answer your questions, Charles. One, the Balkan Stability Pact. That is a intensified effort—us, Canadians, Europeans—to help the country and the region who bore a heavy price for Kosovo. Romania's a good example. And they were doing quite well, but has taken quite a sacrifice in terms of the cost of the conflict. At one level, we need to make a serious effort to work with these countries, both bilaterally and regionally, and help develop regional integration as a step towards or a part of the process in which they join the mainstream Europe.

With respect to the EU and NATO, I would hope that the EU would consider the fastest possible consideration of these countries. And as you know, at the NATO summit, we made it very clear that we consider NATO enlargement not to be a process that's completed. We will look at it again in the year 2002, two years from now. And I think that the countries in the region have demonstrated the real value of inclusion of these countries in NATO. So we'll obviously have to look at it as we move towards 2002. But, clearly, the prospect of NATO enlargement has been an important part—NATO enlargement and the prospect of it has been a powerful magnet drawing these countries to cooperate with the West.

Sen. HAGEL: Yes.

Unidentified Woman: So far ...(inaudible) situation in China only concerned about it going forward ...(inaudible) United States (inaudible).

Mr. BERGER: Well, we obviously believe that people in China and elsewhere should have the right of assembly and the right of freedom of expression. These are rights that are enshrined in documents that the Chinese have signed, including universal declaration of human rights. And we have made those views clear to the Chinese.

Unidentified Man: Way in the back. Yes.

Mr. MARK FELDMAN: Yes. Mark Feldman ...(inaudible). Sandy, you emphasized the importance of change in the regime in Belgrade. While the United States does not formally recognize that government, it does allow it many instances of recognition, including access to United States courts. Do you think it would help keep our policy ...(inaudible) that that could come under ...(inaudible) now?

Mr. BERGER: Mike, the answer to that question is—I was not aware of that, but the answer's yes. Give me some more information.

Sen. HAGEL: Thank you. Yes.

Unidentified Man: ...(inaudible) top of the line. Has he heard what the administration would like to hear from Taiwan authorities in terms of the information on ...(inaudible)? If not, what is the next move from the administration?

Mr. BERGER: Well, we have made very clear, from the president on down, that our policy with respect to the cross-strait issue is very clear. Number one, we adhere to and believe in the one-China policy. It has worked for, at least, since 1979, and its roots really go back earlier than that. Number two, we believe there ought to be a peaceful resolution of the issue. And, number three, we believe that there ought to be dialogue between Beijing and Taipei and the cross-straits—dialogue. Mr. Bush made these points to President Lee. My understanding is President Lee (slamming noise)--maybe that's his answer—that President Lee indicated that he accepted that framework, but I think we still hope to see greater clarification from the Taiwanese authorities with respect to the way forward.

Sen. HAGEL: Thank you, sir. Next question in the back. Miles?

Mr. MILES CRAWFORD: Miles Crawford ...(inaudible). You mentioned the $500 million in reconstruction ...(inaudible). Is that from the supplemental bill? And in terms of the Balkan stability facts, do you have a number on how much money the US will contribute to that?

Mr. BERGER: The $500 million is from the supplemental to this humanitarian assistance, which was what the supplemental was intended to provide. Luckily, we are able to spend that money not in refugee camps in Albanian and Macedonia, but we're going to spend that money rebuilding people's homes and giving them the basic necessities of life in Kosovo.

With respect to the regionwide effort, we don't know at this point what the magnitude of that will be financially because a needs assessment is being done by many of the international institutions. What are we ...(inaudible) talking about here? There, again, I think the Europeans we would expect to take the lion's share of that, but we believe we should participate.

Sen. HAGEL: Yes.

Mr. MARIN: Could I—over here.

Mr. BERGER: Very good to see you, Mr. Marin.

Mr. MARIN: The US security force ...(inaudible) naturally (inaudible).

Mr. BERGER: Well, first of all, I've seen those reports, and I'm not sure that they accurately reflect Russia's intent. I think Russia may provide some humanitarian support for Serbia, but I have not had any kind of confirmation that they intend to provide reconstruction support.

Mr. ALTON FRYE: Alton Frye, the Council on Foreign Relations. Sandy, may we get you to look well beyond Kosovo. The doctrine of humanitarian intervention is an historic innovation in American foreign policy at this magnitude and in this forum. Clearly, your second thoughts about Bosnia are not dissimilar than the second thoughts about the failure to act in a timely fashion in Rwanda. Is this doctrine one which is, in a practical matter, limited to the European community, or are there circumstances in which the United States will undertake and launch similar military interventions in Africa, Asia or other cases of humanitarian oppression?

Mr. BERGER: Well, let me articulate, at least in my own mind, for my own mind, what I believe the principle here is that we're—that is a (inaudible) question. And the principle is that the United States and our allies will not stand by and fail to act when, one, there is a systematic effort by a nation, by a government, to eliminate an entire people, be it a genocide or near genocide. Two, we have a national interest engaged, at stake, as we did clearly in Kosovo because of what would have followed in Europe had we not ended this. I'm thrilled we had the capacity to act as we did with NATO.

I think that that situation may apply to other places, although I think that we also want to build up the indigenous global capacity to act in situations such as Rwanda. As you know, we have been training an African crisis response force, a number of nations in Africa, where we have provided peacekeeping training, and we're now up to about 4,000—would give Africa a greater capacity at—I think you've seen, in some of the more recent conflicts in Africa, whether it's been Sierra Leone or the Congo, a willingness, a readiness of African nations to take the lead.

So I think how we respond is going to depend on the particular circumstances, but I think that, as I said before, where there is a clear systematic effort by a government to eliminate entire people, where we have a national interest at stake and where we have the capacity to act effectively, I think we should act.

Sen. HAGEL: Lady, yes, in the back.

Ms. PAULA STERN: Paula Stern.

Sen. HAGEL: Hello, Paula Stern.

Ms. STERN: Sandy, you and the president, President Clinton, deserve a great deal of, I think, our gratitude, in spite of a lot of naysayers, skeptics and critics, for winning the war and laying out the plan for winning the peace. My question's about the private sector, the piece of the puzzle you mentioned at the end of your talk.

Groups like the TransAtlantic Business Dialogue have offered to be your forum for trying to bring the business sector and the private sector (inaudible). Is there more that you envision that the private sector, particularly the business community, can do?

Mr. BERGER: Yes. And I'm glad that you raised this, Paula. Clearly, right now, we're in a race against winter. We were in a race against winter during the conflict, even beginning to think about how we were going to winterize the refugee camps in Albania and Macedonia. What were we going to do about the displaced people inside of Kosovo? Well, they're back, thank goodness, but we still have a race against the winter in terms of getting their homes, at least a portion of their homes, winterized, getting enough food and shelter and to get through this immediate period.

But you then enter a reconstruction phase, with some presumably economic development, and I think here, the private sector has got an enormous role to play. And you mentioned the Transatlantic Business Council has been very, very active on a number of other fronts. I think it's an extremely good vehicle that we ought to try to channel in this direction. And, you know, I would welcome any ideas that you all have about how to make that happen.

Ms. STERN: Thank you.

Mr. BERGER: One of the things that we've been trying to do is to make sure that the procurement for Kosovo is open because, in part, we want as much of the procurement to happen in the region for things that are—for wood and for mail and for food. There's no reason why that has to be purchased in the United States of America. It can be a double benefit if we can create some economic activity in Macedonia, Albania, Bulgaria, Romania, etc. But as you get, really, to what you're talking about, investment in Kosovo, we'll need to work out a mechanism.

Ms. STERN: Thank you.

Sen. HAGEL: This will be the last question. Yes, sir.

Unidentified Man: ...(inaudible) of the US government and the European markets ...(inaudible). Let me just ask, very briefly, how do you see our ...(inaudible) for this country's ...(inaudible).

Mr. BERGER: Well, I don't think it could happen without NGOs. You've got 90 NGOs in Kosovo now. And one of the reasons I think that Kouchner will be a good administrator, first of all, he's very dynamic and he's very proactive and he's very impressive. But second of all, he comes out of the world of NGOs, and he comes out of the world of having dealt with situations with refugees and disasters. He spent time Afghanistan and a lot of other places that are, you know, really war torn. And so I think it is clearly part of his intention, as I understand it, to bring regional NGOs into play, as well as international NGOs.

Sen. HAGEL: Thank you all very much. And, Sandy, thank you.

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