PRESIDENT SLOBODAN MILOSEVIC'S ADDRESS TO THE
10 June 1999 - Belgrade, Yugoslavia
Dear citizens, the aggression is over. Peace has prevailed over violence. Dear citizens, I wish you a happy peace!
At this moment, our first thoughts should be with the heroes who gave their lives in the defense of the motherland, in the struggle for freedom and the dignity of the people. All their names will be made public.
However, at this moment I wish to inform you that since March 24 until today, 462 members of the Yugoslav Army and 114 members of the police of the Republic of Serbia were killed in the 11-week war. We will never be able to repay them for this. We must do what we can and what is our duty, and that is to take care of their families and to be always ready to defend the freedom, dignity and the independence of this country for which they gave their lives.
All the people participated in this war: ranging from the babies in maternity wards and seriously ill patients in intensive care units, to soldiers in trenches, in the anti-aircraft defense and in border units. No one will forget the heroism of those who defended bridges, the citizens, those who defended factories, squares, their cities, their jobs, their state, their people. The people are the hero - this is maybe the shortest possible conclusion about this war. The people are the hero and this is why they should feel heroic and act heroically, meaning in a dignified, noble and responsible manner.
Early this year, numerous rallies were held throughout the country. Their united message was WE SHALL NOT GIVE UP KOSOVO. We have not given up Kosovo.
The Group of Eight most developed countries of the world and the United Nations guarantee the sovereignty and territorial integrity of our country. This guarantee is also contained in the draft resolution. The Belgrade agreement has closed the open issues of the possible independence of Kosovo at the time prior to the aggression. The territorial entirety of our country cannot be threatened. We have preserved and succeeded in defending the country because we brought the entire problem to the summit of the world authority - the United Nations, and handed its resolution to be sought under U.N. auspices and in keeping with the U.N. Charter. The international forces being deployed in Kosovo with the task of equally ensuring the safety of all citizens will be under U.N. auspices, as will be the political process which will be based on the principles which stem from previously conducted discussions, but are also equally based on the sovereignty and territorial integrity of our country. This means that only autonomy, and nothing else outside that, can be mentioned in this political process.
By emerging before the United Nations we were not only defending our country, but have returned the United Nations to the world stage as it was not functioning since before the start of the aggression 80 days ago. This is our contribution to the efforts of the entire freedom-loving world, to the tendencies to create a multi-polar world, and not accept the creation of a world which will be ruled by the dictate of a single power from one center. I believe that this contribution to history will be great and that the heroism of our people in resisting a bigger and stronger enemy will mark the end of the 20th century. I am certain of that. We have demonstrated that our army is invincible and the best in the world. When I say army, this should be taken in a general sense to include the armed forces, police and all state defense forces. They have shown the entire world how the people should be defended, how to stand firmly and united because the people were the army and the army was the people.
Never before in the entire previous history, have the people been so united as in this war. We have never had so few cowards who fled the country to wait for the end of the war in safety.
At this moment, we are facing many new problems which will open up many new tasks at the end of the aggression and at the start of peace. These are primarily problems regarding the provision for those who are in the greatest need, the full provision for the families of those who were killed, but also those who were wounded and partially disabled to carry out their functions, provision for all those workers and farmers and citizens of all professions who suffered damages in the war and who need to be helped according to criteria which start from those in the greatest need. Everyone needs to be helped.
We face the reconstruction of the country. We will immediately start rebuilding our bridges, our roads, factories, and revive a huge development which will express the readiness and vitality of our people, our citizens, our state and its entire population.
When I speak about our people, I have in mind all the citizens of Yugoslavia and all nationalities. We have succeeded in defending the multinational community, the sole multinational community which remains from the former Yugoslavia.
I consider this also one of the great achievements of our defense.
The forces which are coming to Kosovo will be in the service of peace, regardless from which countries they are coming from. The army always carries out orders, and the orders here are - to protect the citizens and preserve peace.
The great work which we are facing will require large-scale mobilization. I view the unity achieved in this difficult period as a big achievement which we must preserve during the reconstruction period as well, because we need unity and a large mobilization to successfully carry out the reconstruction and successfully start a new development. In this, I wish much luck and happiness to all the citizens of Yugoslavia.
Belgrade - 10 June 1999