For immediate release
May 28, 1999


Secretary of State Reacts To UN Indictment
Against Milosevic and Top Aides

Washington, D.C. -- Secretary of State Madeline Albright said Thursday night on NPR that Serbia has a responsibility to turn Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic over to the international war crimes tribunal if it wants to rejoin the community of nations.

In an interview with Robert Siegel on NPR®'s All Things Considered®, Albright said the Serbs "have an obligation to turn him over and I think that it is very important that we see a future for a democratic Serbia which could rejoin the community of nations if it followed through on its obligations … to turn an indicted war criminal over to the Hague."

Asked by Siegel if this was a condition for welcoming back a democratic Serbia into the European fold, Albright said, "Well one of them, absolutely - and they have a responsibility to turn over other war criminals and to abide by the various aspects of the war crimes, of Dayton, and also to come to an agreement about how the people of Kosovo can live within Serbia with a high degree of autonomy that respects their political and human rights."

Albright's interview with NPR followed today's indictment of Milosevic and four top aides by the United Nations Tribunal, which charged them with crimes against humanity.

"We believe that the indictment actually shows the validity of our campaign," said Albright. "…We had said all along that the behavior of the Serb authorities and Milosevic himself in Kosovo was unacceptable in terms of how we deal with situations like that at the end of the twentieth century."

Albright also said that the UN would continue to maintain contact with Milosevic's intermediaries while he remains head of state, and until he is turned over to the UN.

"I think the important point here is for us to pursue several of our goals," said Albright. "The basis here is we're trying to get the refugees back. We need to pursue our objectives in terms of dealing with the humanitarian crisis. We need to make sure that the air campaign continues and we need to continue on a diplomatic track to try to find a solution to this. And will deal with whomever is necessary for our national interest and to fulfill those goals."

Listen with RealAudio 14.4 or 28.8 to All Things Considered's host Robert Siegel's interview with Albright.