- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- (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
- 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
- (The) only obstacle to political process,
which is going on despite the bombing, is bombing.