|TRAFICANT, James A., Jr.,|
Monday, October 26, 1998
Youngstown, Ohio – U.S. Rep. James A. Traficant, Jr. (D–OH) today issued the following statement to be read at a rally in New York City being held later today by a coalition of Albanian American organizations:
"I regret the pressing business in my congressional district prevented me from being with you today. Please know that I am with you in spirit! I want to commend the Albanian American Civic League, the Vendlindja Thrret and the other Albanian American organizations for working together on this important rally. I especially want to thank my good friends, Joe DioGuardi and Shirley Cloyes, for their tireless efforts to achieve justice for the Albanian Kosovars.
Let there be no mistake about what is going on in Kosova. The Albanian Kosovars have had all of their rights – political, civil, social and religious – stripped away over the past several years by a brutal, inhumane regime. What is going on in Kosova is not a war. It is a struggle by the Albanian Kosovars against an evil power bent on ethnic cleansing. The Serbian government has engaged in the widespread, systematic, intentional and heartless killing of women, children, old men and noncombatants. What has happened to the Albanian Kosovars cannot, and must not, be written off as simply the tragedies of war.
But that, in effect, is what the Clinton Administration has done by pursuing a strategy of appeasement with the Serbian government. That is why I felt compelled today to convey this message of solidarity with your cause.
Slobodan Milosevic is a dictator. He is a war criminal.
He is not, by any stretch of the imagination, a peacemaker. Instead
of appeasing this thug, the United States should be leading the charge
to have him arrested and brought to justice by the international courts
for his many crimes against humanity.
That is why I introduced a resolution in Congress urging the Clinton Administration to publicly declare that the Albanians of Kosova have a legal right to self-determination and independence from Serbia. The Clinton Administration has repeatedly failed to deal forthrightly with the serious situation in Kosova. It is clear that diplomacy has failed in stopping Milosevic's dirty campaign of repression against the Kosovar Albanians. The time has come for the United States to support, in no uncertain terms, independence for Kosova.
Instead of letting Milosevic off the hook, the United States should be engaged in a full court press to end the Serbian occupation of Kosova, and begin the process for an orderly and peaceful transition to Kosova's independence. Sadly, Richard Holbrooke has led the U.S. down a path I fear will lead to more massacres, more ethnic cleansing and more tragedy.
I intend to keep fighting in Congress to reverse the Administration's ill-advised policy of appeasement, and get the United States to fight for freedom, human rights and justice in Kosova. God bless you. Keep fighting the good fight!"2009