President Milosevic Exclusive
Interview By Houston TV
News Analyst
KHOU-TV - The Milosevic Interview
Houston, Texas
KHOUMilosevic Speaks Exclusively To 11 News
HOUSTON - KHOU-TV Channel 11 broadcast the first interview since the start of the NATO conflict the world has seen with Yugoslavian President Slobodan Milosevic, Wednesday, April 21.
The exclusive interview was conducted by KHOU News Military Analyst Dr. Ron Hatchett inside the Yugoslavian "White Palace" in Belgrade Monday April 19. Dr. Hatchett has been reporting for KHOU from Belgrade since shortly after NATO forces began air attacks last month.
Dr. Hatchett serves as a military analyst for KHOU-TV and is currently a professor and director of the Center for International Studies at The University of Saint Thomas in Houston, Texas. He also served the United States in military and governmental capacities including senior positions with the U.S. Air Force, Department of Defense, and the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Here is a partial transcript of the interview:
(Dr. Hatchett)
President Milosevic I want to thank you for agreeing to meet with me today at a time when there are great difficulties between our two countries. I think that our conversation today will help the American people understand a little better what is happening here in Serbia and what the Serbian point of view in this conflict is.
As you know, in the American press, you're not pictured very well. President Clinton says that you are the butcher of the Balkans, he says that you're another Hitler, that you're a madman that you're the cause of all the problems that we've here in the Balkans for the last 10 years. Who are you really? Who are you as a person?
(President Milosevic)
Well, good question. It gives me the opportunity to explain to American audience what the problem is.
And the problem is following. Your government is running two wars against Yugoslavia. Against our people. One is military war and the other war is media war or if you like it better, propaganda war. Propaganda war started long before military war and its goal was to (demonize) this country, our people, leadership of this country, individuals, and whatever was needed to create artificially of course, public opinion in United States which will be supportive to aggression they committed later.
And uh, that media war is showing clearly that their intention to commit aggression for having the long preparation before. So, we are victims of both of those wars. In first case in military war, victims are just for now our civilians and our country everywhere but in media war, victims are not only us. Victim is as well American democracy. If you're lying your citizens and if you're continually trying to create artificial public opinion based on uh false informations, on wrong informations you cannot call it democratic. You cannot tell to the world that you are doing something fair and fine.
So I believe that uh, this kind of contacts and more than that the presence of a lot of journalists from abroad in this country will help to the world to know the truth about our country.
(Dr. Hatchett)
I think the American people would like to know a little bit more about you as a person though. Have you always been a politician, have you always been in politics?
(President Milosevic)
Oh no, I was not politician. I professionally I was professionally working in industry for a long time and then I was banker for 8 years. I was President of largest Yugoslav bank at that time we were dealing with a lot of American banks and I had a lot of friends in the United States from that time.
(He goes on to talk about how the bank was successful and opened a lot of joint ventures etc in other countries)
(Dr. Hatchett asks about Yugoslav economy then the conversation returns to the NATO conflict)
(Dr. Hatchett)
The immediate cause of the problems between our two countries, according to President Clinton, is the failure of Yugoslavia to agree to the terms of the negotiations in France, first at Rambouillet then later at Paris. Uh, why was it that Yugoslavia did not sign that agreement?
(President Milosevic)
(Hmmph!) You use the term negotiated. There were no negotiations at all. And your audience have to know that. In all those three long weeks, two in Rambouillet and one in Paris, there was no one single meeting between delegations to talk to each other. Albanians and Serbs and others in state delegations couldn't exchange one single word, so there were not any negotiations.
And look to delegations. On one side, you have delegation of Serbia composed of everybody who was living in Kosovo and who lives in Kosovo. Representatives of all national communities. Serbs, Albanians, three Albanian parties were represented in Serbian delegation. They are citizens of this country of course and that's so normal. Serbs, Albanians, Turks, and Muslims, Gypsy, Egyptians, (unintelligible), All seven of different national communities were represented in the delegation.
On the other side it was delegation of separation movement, not Albanian delegation. Albanians are in a delegation of Serbia as well. Delegation of separation movement purely Albanian and that's something which can explain the major differences in our approach.
Our approach from the very beginning of talks was that Kosovo problem can be solved on the basis of principle of equality for all citizens living in the region and of all national communities living in the region. So our approach is multi-ethnic, multi-cultural, multi-religious insisting upon equality of national communities that regardless to their number. On the other side, that is approach of your state department in alliance with those guys from separation movement which is favoring Albanians. Which is giving to them the right to be the monsters of rest of population and you must know was the structure of population is, in Kosovo.
There are Serbs in (unintelligible) Quarter million of them who are living there and their grandfathers of their grandfathers uh live there before one single Albanian came from the mountain. That is ancient Serbian territory with thousands of Serbian monasteries and monuments and so on. But so a quarter million of Serbs, 200,000 of Muslims, 150,000 of Egyptians, about 50,000 of Turks. Even Turks who are our smallest national community in Kosovo they have their schools they have their radio and TV program. They have their editing house Something in Turkish language.
So what is the problem if there are only 50,000 comparing with let us say 8 to 900,000 Albanians? In terms of equality, they must have same rights as national community and they must participate in the institutions of Kosovo in a equal footing on the basis of that, and that was crucial difference between those two approaches.
And, uh practically what was tried to be imposed in Rambouillet was not autonomy at all that was independence. And I really don't believe if you show it to any honest American that there is one single honest American that will tell you if they were in the place of our delegation would sign it. We are talking on autonomy, we are talking on quality, on equal approach to interest of all national community, not on independence of Albanian separation movement which had by that agreement, so called agreement. Practically the right to organize new state within Serbia. They have their state, that is Albania that is their national state. In Serbia they are national minority they are living everywhere in Serbia and I want to add to you something very important. In Serbia there are 26 different national minorities.
There was never any problem with any of national minorities in Serbia, including Albanians, the problems were only with separation movement of Albanians in Kosovo and we were making a big difference between separation movement in Kosovo and Albanian people which is honest, and good ??? (Unintelligible) which was equal people in Yugoslavia.
Even the separation movement was not using the arms before you came. Before your representative came to tell them, to supply them, and to make the alliance with those killers, rapists, kidnappers and drug dealers who are collected from the underground around Europe to be organized as so-called Kosovo liberation army which never existed.
That was a kind of Hollywood you know uh, just to explain that they are having some kind of military force and so on. They were never able to attack any sort of police or military unit they were able to kill somebody only from the ambush and they were clear terrorists. What else they could do they were killing people from the ambush they were putting bombs under cars or in front of markets they are taking hostages, civilians, workers from the open mine near Pristina for example. We never saw those hostages. We're afraid that all of them are killed. We don't know their destiny, where they were at the end.
So there was no one single act of them which couldn't be clearly defined as terrorist act.
And uh, I was real surprised that NATO downgraded its' dignity making alliance with those killers and drug dealers and uh, I think that uh, that kind of alliance cannot help the future.
(Dr. Hatchett)
The American people, every day, see on their television all of these heart-wrenching scenes of Albanian refugees. The United Nations says now that there are over five hundred and 32-thousand that have left Kosovo. And they appear to be in a very traumatized type of condition. Is it your policy to expel all Albanians from Kosovo?
(President Milosevic)
There was never policy of this country and my policy to expel any citizen of Yugoslavia from any part of this country. I must tell you when there was a war in Croatia, we protected all Croats in Serbia. We protected when there was a war in Bosnia we protected all Muslims in Serbia. We preserved all the multi-ethnic States within former Yugoslavia that is Yugoslavia the republic of Yugoslavia today with 26 different national communities. And many visitors including high level visitors visiting our country we're always saying that we are example good example of positive treatment of good treatment of national minorities. And we always have in mind that test for any democracy is treatment of minority not treatment of majority and that's the practice that,s the policy in Yugoslavia.
And to answer your question about Albania refugees, you are right, there are lot of refugees but they are a result of bombing and they are not only Albanians.
Everybody's running away because of bombing. Serbs, Turks, Gypsy, Muslims, of course, Albanians their number is biggest. Everybody's running. Deers are running, birds are running everybody's running away because of bombing. Bees are running everybody's running away and who can who can really ask to understand that civilian population cannot play the role of heroes staying in their places when bombs are getting down. That is not possible.
And uh, you know that before 24th of march when they started damn bombing they started their dirty aggression against this country there was no one single refugee. When they started bombing, refugees appears of course as a result of bombing and everybody knows it. Uh, but uh, connected with that bombing you're not throwing only bombs from your aircraft, you are throwing small piece of paper with the messages of NATO explaining that to our people.
Do you know what we did with those small leaves with messages of NATO? They expected we would collect that and hide it from our citizen not to see that, that was in our language of course. We presented that on t-v from both sides, all those leaves. We presented that on TV without any uh further explanation because of fact that 11 million of citizens of this country they already know the truth. We are not afraid to broadcast uh propaganda of NATO thrown through those humiliating leaves, for them humiliating from their aircrafts.
But problem is in United States, you don't have protection. Our protection is the truth and the fact that people knows what the situation is. United States, average American cannot know what really is here he must believe to propaganda to those piles of lies which are broadcast every day.
(Dr. Hatchett)
You know, that's one of those things about the media. We have a comedian in American in the 1920's, 1930's named will Rogers that said all I know is what I read in the newspapers. Well, to modernize that, all the American people know is what they see on TV and the images they see on TV so how do you explain the fact that many of these refugees from Kosovo are talking about (being) driven out of our homes by the Serbs?
The Serbs come and knock on our door tell us that we have to leave within ten minutes and they take all of our possessions and we have to leave. How do you explain when the NATO briefer, Jamie Shea says and shows pictures on television that says here are satellite pictures of what we believe to be mass graves, how do you explain these things?
(President Milosevic)
Well, those who you saw on TV were told to say that. And, by the people, by those killers, rapists, and kidnappers who are not terrorizing only Serbs and other non-Albanian population in Kosovo they are terrorizing Albanians as well. I must tell you it is a tragic situation with Albanians in Kosovo.
They are manipulated. They are terrorized by those killers and kidnappers, those rapists those narco dealers uh, I will tell you a simple fact, when you look to the numbers of peaceful citizens killed by (unintelligible).
In Kosovo, the number of Albanians who were killed by that so-called Kosovo Liberation Army is twice bigger the number of Serbs. They were killing Albanians to discipline them. Uh, to send a message to them that they all have to support them that they all have to pay to them fees, and they all have to pay if they are called under their so-called flag, so what, what simple peaceful Albanian average Albanian can stay if he is told to stay otherwise he will be killed he will stay with terror.
They want for them to stay but that was not the truth. We saw a lot of their explanations on TV just leaving country on territory or republic of Macedonia lot of them saying lot of them were asked why you are getting here. Everybody was explaining, bombs are falling down how to stay there? That was explanation.
But CNN, you know, I saw my own eyes at the beginning of this war on CNN, poor Albanian refugees walking through the snow and suffering a lot and you know, in Kosovo there was spring, no snow. And that,s explanation for uh, uh, information from CNN.
We are looking to CNN practically everybody can see CNN all the time. CNN, sky, BBC, everything you see here, so uh nothing special they are paid to lie. That is in nowadays media I believe is even most dangerous arm than those bombs or rockets, that is most dangerous arm and they started with that media war or that propaganda war long before they started military war.
But, we uh said publicly we have organized return of those refugees that we cannot count with ending of bombing and people is afraid. One pretty big number who was getting back was bombed by NATO aircraft 75 citizens all Albanians were killed. And uh, several dozens were wounded badly.
So, how to restore uh, their confidence in safety if they're exposed to be bombed that way. Nobody could make the mistake in sunny day to confuse between ordinary tractors and peasants with tanks and military units that was out of question. And I uh believe that was done by purpose to send message to them it's not their business to come back.
NATO is creating refugees. That is their tactic to create as much refugees as possible to empty Kosovo if possible. To have a lot of refugees outside and then to say, that is the alibi for NATO to get here, to help to deliver humanitarian help to helpthose refugees to get back. They can't get back immediately only obstacle to them is NATO bombing.
(The) only obstacle to political process, which is going on despite the bombing, is bombing.