Serb Withdrawal Begins, NATO Suspends Bombing
By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, June 10, 1999 NATO suspended air attacks against Yugoslavia June 10 after intelligence reports showed the Serbs evacuating Kosovo as agreed.
All Yugoslav armed forces have 11 days to get out of Kosovo, according to the terms of a military technical agreement signed June 9 in Kumanovo, Macedonia. NATO Secretary-General Javier Solana suspended the air campaign but said the alliance is ready to resume bombing if Yugoslav forces deviate from the agreement.
Solana said international security forces might move into Kosovo as early as June 11.
Members of the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit began landing in Thessaloniki, Greece, and have moved to Camp Able Sentry in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. Army elements from Task Force Hawk have moved to the camp also from their bases near Tirana, Albania.
The two U.S. components will become lead elements of Task Force Falcon, under the command of Army Brig. Gen. John Craddock, assistant division commander of the 1st Infantry Division, based in Wurzburg, Germany. Task Force Falcon ultimately will comprise 7,000 U.S. service members. Pentagon officials said service members will come from Germany and that they are already arranging to ship equipment from Bremerhaven, Germany.
Defense Secretary William S. Cohen called the agreement "sound," and said it meets the five conditions NATO set in March. They are: a stop to the fighting, a verifiable withdrawal of all Serb forces, the deployment of an international security force with NATO at its core, return of the refugees, and the creation of an autonomous government for Kosovo within Yugoslavia.
"If the Serbs live up to what they have signed, this will end the killing and begin the peace," Cohen said during a June 9 Pentagon news conference.
The agreement divides Kosovo into three zones to be administered by the British, French and Americans. By Day 6, Yugoslav forces must be out of Zone 1, the province's western and southern border areas with Albania and Macedonia. The Serb forces should be out of the center of Kosovo by Day 9 and out entirely from the province by Day 11.