Text: Clinton Letter to Congress on U.S. Forces in Kosovo
(U.S. personnel strength, mission, progress, challenges)
President Clinton sent a letter June 16 to the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the President Pro Tempore of the Senate providing a supplemental report on U.S. contributions in support of peacekeeping efforts in Kosovo.
Following is the text of the letter:
TEXT OF A LETTER FROM THE PRESIDENT TO THE SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES AND THE PRESIDENT PRO TEMPORE OF THE SENATE
THE WHITE HOUSE
Dear Mr. Speaker: (Dear Mr. President:)
In my report to the Congress of December 15, 1999, I provided information on the deployment of combat-equipped U.S. military personnel as the U.S. contribution to the NATO-led security force (KFOR) in Kosovo. Additional U.S. personnel are also deployed in countries in the region and serve as support for our forces in Kosovo. I am providing this supplemental report, consistent with the War Powers Resolution, to help ensure that the Congress is kept fully informed on continued U.S. contributions in support of peacekeeping efforts in Kosovo.
The U.N. Security Council authorized member states to establish the international security presence in Kosovo in U.N. Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1244 of June 10, 1999, for an initial period of 12 months, to continue thereafter unless the Security Council decides otherwise. The mission of KFOR is to provide a military presence in order to deter renewed hostilities; verify and, if necessary, enforce the terms of the Military Technical Agreement (MTA) between NATO and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY); enforce the terms of the agreement of the former Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) to demilitarize and reintegrate itself into civil society; provide operational direction to the Kosovo Protection Corps; and maintain a safe and secure environment to facilitate the work of the U.N. Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) by providing, until UNMIK or appropriate local organizations assume these functions, for public safety and order and border monitoring.
Currently, the U.S. contribution to KFOR in Kosovo is approximately 7,500 U.S. military personnel. This number once again will decrease to approximately 6,000 U.S. military personnel when ongoing troop rotations are completed. In the last 6 months, all 19 NATO nations and 20 others, including Russia and Ukraine, have provided military personnel and other support personnel to KFOR.
In Kosovo, the U.S. forces are assigned to a sector principally centered around Gnjilane in the eastern portion of Kosovo. For U.S. KFOR forces, as for KFOR generally, maintaining a safe and secure environment is the primary military task. United States forces conduct security patrols in urban areas and in the countryside throughout their sector. Approximately one-half of KFOR's total available personnel is directly committed to protection tasks, including protection of the ethnic minorities. The KFOR forces are under NATO command and control and rules of engagement.
In addition, other U.S. military personnel are deployed to other countries in the region to serve in administrative and logistics support roles for the U.S. forces in KFOR. Specifically, approximately 1,000 U.S. military personnel are operating in support of KFOR in Macedonia, Greece, and Albania. Since my report to the Congress of December 15, in accordance with UNSCR 1244 and the MTA, FRY military, paramilitary, and police forces have not reentered Kosovo. The KLA agreed on June 21, 1999, to a cease fire, to withdraw from the zones of conflict in Kosovo, and to demilitarize itself. On September 20, 1999, KFOR Commander Lieutenant General Sir Mike Jackson accepted the KLA's certification that the KLA had completed its demilitarization in accordance with the June 21 agreement. The UNMIK thereafter established a civil emergency services entity known as the Kosovo Protection Corps that is intended to provide civic assistance in emergencies and other forms of humanitarian assistance.
The UNMIK has made progress in establishing an interim administration for the people of Kosovo. The KFOR, within its means and capabilities, is providing broad support to UNMIK. As UNMIK is still developing its structures in Kosovo, KFOR continues to support UNMIK at all levels, including public administration, and is represented at the Kosovo Transitional Council and the Joint Civil Commissions. The KFOR personnel provide a security presence in towns, villages, and the country-side. Checkpoints and patrols are organized in key areas in Kosovo to provide security, resolve disputes, and help instill in the community a feeling of confidence. In addition, KFOR is helping to provide assistance in the areas of humanitarian relief, international civil police training, and the maintenance of civic works resources.
Ethnic tensions in Kosovo, however, remain a concern, particularly in areas where Kosovar Serbs and Kosovar Albanians live in close proximity.
NATO has planned for KFOR's mission to be formally reviewed at 6-month intervals with a view to progressively reducing the force's presence and, eventually, withdrawing. Over time, KFOR will incrementally transfer its security and policing responsibilities as appropriate to the international civil administration, local institutions, and other organizations.
I have taken these actions pursuant to my constitutional authority to conduct U.S. foreign relations and as Commander in Chief and Chief Executive. I appreciate the continued support of the Congress in these actions.
WILLIAM J. CLINTON