by Felix Quigley
The interview which Milosevic gave to CBS remained on the surface of things. In it Milosevic does not face up to the role of Islam in Bosnia and in Kosovo. This was a weakness considering that Bin Laden had been operating inside the Bosnia created by Izetbegovic, and this was providing Bin Laden with the resources which he took to Afghanistan, and later to the massacre of Americans in the Twin Towers, in 2001. During all of that time, in Bosnia and in Afghanistan, Bin Laden was being manhandled by the US CIA. If the US was so closely involved up to 2001 that raises serious unanswered questions about 9.11!
Also Milosevic does not see the overall picture, that Yugoslavia was destroyed because it was in the way of the US push to dominate the Balkans and to wage war against China and Russia. Milosevic was certainly no communist revolutionary, but to the pig ignorant US Imperialists he was regarded as such. That explains their hatred for Milosevic.
But still, granted these political weaknesses, this interview shows that Milosevic is a truthful person. In this interview he states it as he sees it, and everything he says in it is verifiable and has been verified. What he does show rather well is that the Serb people and nation were different to the others. The Serbs were open, democratic and multicultural in the best sense of that word. Milosevic during this interview gives evidence of the many nationalities which were welcome inside Serbia, and which remain welcome inside Serbia. The truth of his words is shown in the efforts of the Tudjman Croats, the Islamists in Bosnia and the Kosovon Albanian Islamists to cleanse their states of Serbs, gypsies, even Jews.
This interview has also been carried on
[begin interview here]
Question: President Milosevic, I would first like to thank you for agreeing to meet with me today. I know that there is a lot of difficulty between our two countries. I think that our talk today will help the American people understand a little better what is going on in Serbia and what is the Serbian attitude towards this conflict. First, as you know, you are not presented very well in the American press. President Clinton claims that you are the cause for all the problems existing in the Balkans in the past ten years. What are you like as a person?
Answer: That is a good question. It gives me the opportunity to explain to the American public where the problem lies. The problem is this. You government is leading two wars against Yugoslavia, against our people. One is a military war, and the other is a media war. Or, if you prefer it, a propaganda war. The propaganda war started long before the military war, with the goal to satanize this country, our people, this country’s leadership, individuals and all that is necessary for, of course artificial, creation of a public opinion in the USA which would support the later committed aggression. This media war clearly shows that the intention to commit aggression was long prepared. So, we are the victims of both these wars. In the military war, the victims are our civilians, our country and all of it, but in the media war, the victims aren’t just we. The victim is also American democracy. If you lie to your citizens, if you constantly try to create an artificial public opinion based on wrong, false information, you can’t call that democracy. You can tell the world that you’re doing something honest and good. That’s why I believe that such contacts and more than that, the presence of a large number of foreign reporters in this country, will help the world to find out the truth about our country.
Question: How do you see the future of Yugoslavian economy and its integration into world trade and the system of free investment in the world?
Answer: Our orientation towards market economy was clear even in the previous Yugoslavia. We want to be open, to collaborate with all countries. We were under sanctions. We were practically forced out of access to our traditional partners and new partners we could have made. But we are a very vital economy. In the middle of the sanctions of 1993, when new sanctions that completely blocked our country were imposed upon us, we created our own plan, stopped the inflation and started to rise – six per cent, seven per cent, five per cent, eight per cent. But, in 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, gradually it was getting better every year. If we hadn’t been under sanctions, we could have had even better results. When I was in Dayton and while we were talking of the future in peace, Warren Christopher and Halbrooke told me that when everything was over we would get help. I told them that I didn’t believe in help. I believe in the commercial interest of partners. Allow us to be free, to have free trade and to collaborate with all those we want to collaborate with and that will be enough for us. We will be able to develop our country. We have great potential and we can develop very successfully.
Question: The direct cause for the problem between our two countries, according to President Clinton, is the fact that Yugoslavia didn’t agree with the conditions and agreement first made in Rambouillet, and then in Paris. Why didn’t Yugoslavia sign that agreement?
Answer: You used the word “negotiations”. There were no negotiations. Your public has to know that. During those three long weeks, two in Rambouillet and one in Paris, there wasn’t a single meeting between delegations, so that they could talk to each other – Albanians and Serbs and others in the state delegation. They couldn’t exchange a single word. So, there were no negotiations. Just look at the delegations. On one side you have the delegation of the Republic of Serbia consisting of all those who live in Kosovo and Metohija. Representatives of all national communities – Serbs, Albanians, three Albanian parties were represented within the Serbian delegation. Of course, they are citizens of this country and that is perfectly normal. Serbs, Albanians, Turks, Moslems, Gypsies, Egyptians, Gorans. Seven different national communities were represented within that delegation. On the other hand, there was the delegation of the separatist movement. It wasn’t an Albanian delegation. Albanians were in the Serbian delegation. The delegation of the separatist movement, purely Albanian. And that is something that can explain the greatest differences in our approach. Our approach, from the very beginning of the talks, was that the problem of Kosovo and Metohija could be solved on the basis of the principles of equality for all citizens living in the region and equality for all national communities living in the region. So, our approach is multiethnic, multicultural, multireligious and insists on equality of national communities. No matter how many of them there might be. On the other hand, there is the approach of your State Department in union with those from the separatist movement who support Albanians. They are given the right to be the masters of the rest of the population. And you would have to know what the structure of the population is like. There are one quarter of a million Serbs and Montenegros in Kosovo and Metohija. They live there and the grandfathers of their grandfathers lived there before a single Albanian came down from the mountains. That is ancient Serbian territory. Thousands of monuments and Serbian monasteries are there.
But, let’s put that aside. So, quarter of a million Serbs, 200.000 Moslems, 150.000 Egyptians and Gypsies, about 50.000 Turks. Turks, who represent the smallest national community in Kosovo and Metohija, have their own schools, radio and TV programs. They have their own journal called “Tan”. What’s the problem if there are only 50.000 Turks compared to 800 or 900 thousand Albanians?
As to the quality, they must have the same rights as any national community and they must participate in the institutions of Kosovo and Metohija on equal grounds. On those grounds. That was the significant difference between these two approaches and what they practically attempted to impose in Rambouillet wasn’t autonomy but independence. I really don’t believe that, if you showed that to any decent American, every one of them would say that, if they had been in our delegation’s shoes, they wouldn’t have signed that.
We are talking of autonomy, of equality, of the equal approach of all national communities, but not of the independence of the Albanian separatist movement that, according to that so-called agreement, gained the right to organize a new state within Serbia. They have their state and that is Albania. That is their national state. In Serbia, they are a national minority. They live everywhere in Serbia. And I would like to add something very important: we have 26 different national minorities in Serbia.
We have never had any trouble with any of the national minorities in Serbia, including Albanians. The only problem we have is with the Albanians’ separatist movement in Kosovo and Metohija and we make a big difference between the separatist movement in Kosovo and Metohija and the Albanian people that is honest, good, maybe a little patriarchal, which is not a bad side, and that people is equal to all the others in Yugoslavia. Even that separatist movement didn’t use weapons before your representative came to tell them to use them, to give them weapons and to make a pact with murderers, rapists, criminals and drug dealers picked up from the European underground so that they could be organized into the so-called Kosovo Liberation Army, which never even existed.
It is some sort of a Hollywood trick so that the existence of some military forces could be explained. They were never capable of attacking a military or police station, they were only capable of attacking someone from an ambush. We call them terrorists. They couldn’t do anything else. They killed people from an ambush, they planted bombs underneath cars or in front of shops, they abducted people, civilians, workers from mines near Pristina. We never saw those people again. We are afraid that they had all been killed. We do not know their fate. So, their every act could be clearly defined as terrorism.
I was truly surprised that the NATO lowered its dignity by making a pact with these murderers and drug dealers. I think that such a pact cannot have a future.
Question: The American people see all these grave scenes of Albanian refugees on TV every day. The United Nations say that there are now more than 500.00 Albanians who had abandoned Kosovo and Metohija. The people seem to be traumatized. Is your politics to banish all Albanians from Kosovo and Metohija?
Answer: The politics of my country and my politics have never been the banishment of any citizen of Yugoslavia from any part of our country. I have to tell you that during the war in Croatia we protected the Croats in Serbia. We protected the Moslems in Serbia during the war in Bosnia. We maintained the only multiethnic state in ex Yugoslavia, in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia today, with 26 different national communities. Many visitors, including high officials of different countries, say, upon visiting our country, that we are a good example of positive good treatment of national minorities and we remember at all times that the test for every democracy is the treatment of the minority, not the majority. That is the practice and politics in Yugoslavia.
Now let me answer your question on Albanian refugees. You are right. There are many refugees. But that is the result of the bombing and the refugees are not only Albanians. Everyone runs away because of the bombing – Serbs, Turks, Gypsies, Moslems. Of course, the number of Albanians is the greatest. Everyone runs away. Birds run away, wild animals run away. Everyone runs away because of the bombing. Everyone runs away. In truth, who can’t understand that civilians are to play heroes, that they are to stay where the bombs are dropping on them. That is not possible. You know that before 24 March, when the filthy aggression on this country started and when the bombs started dropping, there were no refugees. When the bombing started, refugees appeared as the result of the bombing and everyone knows that.
Connected with the bombing, you drop not only bombs from your aircraft, but also leaflets with NATO messages explaining something to our people. You know what we did with those leaflets. They assumed that we would hide them from our citizens, that we would collect them – it was, of course, in our language. We showed it on TV, both sides of those leaflets, with no further explanation. Because eleven million citizens of this country know very well what the truth is, we are not afraid to show NATO propaganda being showed before us with those disgracing leaflets. But the problem is in the United States. You have no protection. Our protection is the truth. The fact is that people know what is going on. In the USA, an average American doesn’t know what is going on around here. He has to believe the propaganda. That pile of lies being broadcasted every day.
Question: Yes, about the media, we had Will Rogers during the twenties and the thirties. He said: I only know what I read in the paper. Today’s Americans only know what they see on TV and the images they see there. How do you explain the fact that a great number of refugees from Kosovo and Metohija say that Serbs banished them from their houses, that Serbs knocked on their doors and took away their property and made them leave? How do you explain the fact that Jamie Shea shows images on TV in the NATO and says – these are satellite photographs of what we believe to be a mass grave?
Answer: Those featured on your television were told to say something like that.
Question: Who told them to say that?
Answer: The KLA – murderers, rapists, kidnappers, who terrorize not only Serbs and other non-Albanian population in Kosovo and Metohija. They also terrorize Albanians. I have to tell you that the situation of Albanians in Kosovo and Metohija is tragic. They are being manipulated. They are being terrorized. By those murderers and kidnappers, those rapists and drug dealers.
I’ll give you a simple fact. When you look at the number of peaceful citizens murdered by the KLA in Kosovo and Metohija, the number of Albanians murdered by that so-called Kosovo Liberation Army is two times bigger than the number of Serbs murdered. They killed Albanians in order to discipline them, in order to send them the message that they must all support the KLA, that they must pay them by stated prices and that they must become recruits or pay when called under the KLA’s so-called flag.
So what can an average, peace loving and peaceful Albanian do? He must go, unless he wants to get killed or say what they want him to say. He will say what ever they want. But that is not the truth. We have seen many explanations on TV.
On Macedonian territory they are asked – why do you come here? They all explained – because of the bombs. How can we stay there? That was the explanation. But, as much as CNN is concerned, you know, I personally saw on CNN at the beginning of this war poor Albanian refugees walking through snow and suffering a lot. You know, it was springtime at the time in Kosovo and Metohija. There was no snow. And that is the explanation for the information from CNN. We watch CNN. Practically everyone can see CNN at all times – CNN, Sky, BBC, it can all be seen here. Nothing special. They are paid to lie.
I believe that, today, the media are the most powerful weapon, more dangerous than bombs and missiles. They are the most dangerous weapon, and they started this media, that is to say, propaganda war much before they started a military war. But we have publicly said that we have organized the return of these refugees. But we can’t count on the bombing to stop and the people are afraid.
A significant number of people trying to get back were bombed by NATO aircraft, which killed 75 citizens. All the killed were Albanians and a few dozen were severely wounded. So how can we regain their confidence in safety if they are prone to bombing in this fashion?
No one could make a mistake in a sunny day, to get confused and not recognize an ordinary tractor and peasants and mix them up with a tank or military target. That is not the question at all. I believe that this was done on purpose so as to send them the message that they should not go back.
The NATO creates refugees. It is their tactic. To create as many refugees as possible, to empty out Kosovo and Metohija if possible, to have a lot of refugees outside of Kosovo and Metohija and to say that this is an alibi for the NATO to come here in order to help, in order to help the refugees go back and to give them humanitarian aid. They can go back at once. The only obstacle is the NATO bombing. The only obstacle to a political process, which has been going on even without the bombing, is the bombing.
Question: Let us talk a little of the political process. There are obviously people on two sides. Even the people of America are worried because of the NATO’s maximalist attitude that is trying to solve all this through military ways. They consider the economic as well as the human price for both your and our countries to be much greater then our people are willing to pay. I think that everyone would like to see a political solution for this problem, but if everyone hold on to their maximalist attitudes, there may be no progress or it may come too late. So what do you see as a possibility of a political solution for this problem through negotiations?
Answer: I believe that it will be very easy to continue the political process after the aggression stops, after the bombing stops. But, bearing in mind the Rambouillet and Paris experience, it is quite clear that the negotiations have to be direct and between those who will live in Kosovo and Metohija, between representatives of national communities that will live in Kosovo and Metohija. Not between the Yugoslavian and the Serbian government and, let’s say, the representatives of the International Community. We have clearly said that we would welcome a civilian mission of the UN to testify what had happened there, to be a witness to the political solution. We will always remain open.
Look at the facts. Before this war we accepted and greeted the verification mission of the Organization for European Security and Cooperation. It was the greatest such mission in the history of OSCE. Two thousand of them, along with the High Commission of the UN for refugees and the international Red Cross, along with the mission for the surveillance of the situation in Kosovo and Metohija, which was made up of all diplomatic representatives in Yugoslavia. So who can ever tell us that we are not open towards the International Community. On such a small territory as Kosovo and Metohija, such a big verification mission, the mission of the UNHCR, the international Red Cross, reporters, diplomats, every road was open to anyone. But that wasn’t the goal. The goal was to ruin stability and start the bombing. In Rambouillet, as I have said, we didn’t talk to Albanians, but to Americans who would want to have our territory for themselves and for the NATO. The Albanians were just an excuse. They were held in a side room as an alibi for these crimes your government committed against our country and our people. And the victims were not chosen selectively. Everybody’s a victim. Mostly children, women, older people, civilians.
A: The civilians too. That is how it is.
Q: Are you willing to restore, within the framework of the agreement, a form of economic autonomy in Kosovo and Metohija that would be similar to that in 1989?
A: Of course. We are not going to change our position because of the simple fact that it has never been our intention to deprive the Albanians or any of our citizens of a single right. We do not want to do them any harm. However, it is clear that if they live in this country, they cannot take a part of this country away and turn it into an independent state. If the formula, whose implementation has been attempted here, becomes general practice throughout the world, I do not believe there will be a single state in the world that is going to survive. Take a look at Europe, take a look Spain, France, Belgium, Italy, take a look at Africa. There is not a single country that would be able to survive if such separatist movements were allowed to obtain legitimate legal support. If that should become practice, none of the countries will be safe. Therefore, we are not confronting the big powers by defending only ourselves. I believe that we have the right to be free and independent, and that we have the right to live in peace and that is exactly what we have been doing.
Q: Are you willing to accept some kind of international presence, within the framework of a political solution, which would be verified by the international community, with respect to the autonomy of the Albanians and the rights of all the citizens of Kosovo and Metohija?
A: Of course. We are willing to accept a UN civilian mission. Of course, without representatives of the countries which have taken part in the aggression against us. We have said this clearly. We are willing to accept a solution of this kind and we have nothing to hide.
Q: Are you willing to also allow international humanitarian organizations to perform their tasks in Kosovo and Metohija?
A: Absolutely. They may come here immediately. However, they are scared. We did not chase them away.
Q: They have been scared by the bombing.
A: This is one of the explanations why they did not stay in Kosovo and Metohija. The International Red Cross, for instance. They have remained everywhere during conflicts. But, how could one feel safe facing bombardment. They have fled from Kosovo and Metohija just like the civilians. No one has chased them away. They have simply left to save their lives. Who can find protection from bombardment?
Q: You mean that even now, while the bombing goes on, the Red Cross and other humanitarian organizations which are willing to return to Kosovo and Metohija, would be allowed to do so at this very moment?
A: The International Red Cross and the UNHCR may return immediately. I cannot say whether this applies to each and every humanitarian organization, as there have been certain so-called humanitarian organizations which have been organized to support terrorism or the separatist movement and which have functioned under the mask of the so-called humanitarian operations. Our police have arrested several so-called humanitarian activists of the Australian “Care” organization because of their espionage in Yugoslavia. They have confessed before the cameras. They said they were very sorry that they had caused great damage to our country. They have spied in favour of NATO to explain to them the position of the sites that were to be bombed. They have even explained that they had abused Yugoslav citizens who had been working for that organization.
We believe that the UNHCR and the International Red Cross can meet the needs of the refugees if they are willing to help. That has never been brought into question. They can come here whenever they wish.
Q: There are other things that have caused concern among the American people. Three Americans have been kept here as prisoners of war. Can you reassure the American people that they are in good health and that all three of them have been treated humanely?
A: In the circumstances in which we are now, I think that the question should be – what has happened to the civilians who have been the victims of your soldiers and pilots. I hope your reasoning is going to shift in this direction.
But, let me answer your question – we are a very old European people with a long tradition and we respect our prisoners of war. Nothing will happen to your soldiers. They are being treated well, they are healthy and the Geneva Convention is respected in every way. We are a civilized nation. We do not want to do any harm to your boys who have been captured.
Q: One of the major criticisms expressed by President Clinton in relation to this issue is his statement concerning the refusal of your government to have the Red Cross come here and visit the prisoners, in line with the Geneva Convention. Why has this visit been denied?
A: I believe the Red Cross may visit them. I am not familiar with the claim that they have been denied this. Where is that Red Cross which has asked for such permission? If there is a Red Cross mission, the visit is allowed according to the Geneva Convention and they may come to visit them. This is not brought into question at all.
Q: I am not an expert in the Geneva Convention, but as far as I know, they may get mail from their families, they have medical care, and it is also your position the Red Cross would be allowed to visit the prisoners.
A: The Red Cross is always authorized to visit prisoners of war. Of course, not every day, but from time to time, in accordance with the regulations of the army. The regulations applied by our army are in line with the Geneva Convention and I do not see any problem in this respect.
Q: We have heard rumours from different people in Belgrade that the number of the downed aircraft is much greater than the figures the journalists and the American administration are ready to admit – that the figure may be as much as 80 aircraft and that there are also other pilots from the USA and other countries who are prisoners of war. We have heard rumours that your forces in Kosovo and Metohija have already had clashes with special troops from the USA and Great Britain and that they have killed more than 20 such “specials” who have come to Kosovo and Metohija, up to now. Are these only rumours or are they facts?
A: This is not in black on white. I could not tell you: this is a rumour and this is a fact. Some of this are facts and some of it are rumours. It is logical that NATO will not admit to that. They have even tried to avoid admitting to having killed those refugees. But, when they realized that they would have to face it, they said that something of the kind had happened. Therefore, it is logical. For the time being, we do not have foreign troops in our territory. Not even the “specials” you have mentioned. There were several attempts by Albanian army soldiers to cross the border and penetrate the territory of Kosovo and Metohija in 1,000 or 1,500-strong units which included those bandits from Kosovo and Metohija. Our army stopped them. They suffered heavy losses. They are not an army, I can tell you. And whoever is having these designs and recruiting these criminals in an effort to create some kind of military units, does not know much about them. They would flee and disappear for ever after the first shot. And this is what they have done. Every time they tried to cross the border, they had to run back. Therefore, this has happened several times. If there have been foreign instructors among them – we have not seen them. However, they train them in Kukes, in Tropoya, and in other places. They, of course, violate the resolution of the UN Security Council on the basis of which arms deliveries are prohibited. This is a logical thing in a situation when your country has practically banned the UN. However, the United Nations Charter prohibits aggression, even military intervention without the resolution of the Security Council.
Therefore, in this case, you have abolished the UN. Your first bombs have destroyed the UN. They have destroyed the truth. And what is the saddest thing for us, they have been killing our civilians, they have been destroying our factories, bridges, homes, residential blocks. Fortunately enough, a message has appeared in the demonstrations against you in the whole of Yugoslavia, and I have seen it in other countries as well, for instance, in Salonica, there were a million people demonstarting, in Athens – approximately the same number, and so on, in Hamburg, in Duseldorf, in Vienna and many other places. And the message was very illustrative – stop the bombing, stop the lies. These two acts have been committed in conjunction with each other and that is the explanation for the two wars you have been waging against a small sovereign and independent country 5,000 miles away from your coast. For what reason? Can you explain to me why? And what American national interest is involved here when you are trying to explain to us that your national interest is greater than our ancient territory and our national interest and national territory. You have been doing this. Why? What is the reason for that?
When our soldiers die, they know what they are dying for – for their homeland, for their fatherland. And are your soldiers dying for, 5,000 miles away from their homes. They are killing children in their sleep, they are killing women, young girls, peaceful citizens, they are destroying everything we have built up in the five decades since World War II. And to add to the absurdity, we were allies in those wars. However, in spite of this, you have decided to support a separatist movement which is Nazi by its character. I will tell you why. It is very clear. They have stated very clearly, in public, that their goal is an ethnically pure Kosovo. That is a Nazi concept.
We in Yugoslavia know that very well. We have 26 different national communities. The only basis for a successful life in this country is respect for national equality. There is no other way. And this is the only principle in this country where 26 different national communities live. And, of course, ethnically pure Kosovo is an illustration of the Nazi character of the separatist movement of the Albanians.
In the historical sense, they are relying on what Mussolini created during World War II – Greater Albania. That was a fascist product. At the same time, he took away a part of Kosovo and Metohija, a part of Macedonia and a part of Greece. And that was the so-called Greater Albania that was created by Mussolini. Therefore, their Nazi fascist character is quite clear.
I believe in the future. I believe in peace, in equality and in freedom, not only in this country but in all the countries, without the domination of the powers. The super powers are dominant enough. They do not need any additional domination over the rest of the world.
So, I believe we have used up the time we have had available, at least one hour, I think.
Hatchett: President Milosevic, I would like to thank you on behalf of the American people for sharing your views with us and we hope that we shall settle this problem peacefully and very soon. Thank you.
President Milosevic: You are welcome