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June 22, 1999

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"To all the people of Kosovo, who have suffered so much in the face of Mr. Milosevic's savage campaign of ethnic cleansing...Until all of you can return in safety, we will provide aid in Albania and Macedonia. And we will not forget the kindness of the nations that have given you shelter, or their own needs for assistance and stability."

President Bill Clinton
June 12, 1999

Today, in Macedonia, President Clinton spoke to Kosovar refugees at the Stenkovic I refugee camp in Macedonia. The President announced an increase in aid to help Albania, Macedonia, and other Southeast European democracies deal with economic dislocation caused by the crisis in Kosovo.

Offering Economic Assistance to Macedonia and Albania. Today, President Clinton promised more economic aid for Albania, Macedonia, and other Southeast European democracies to help them deal with the effects of the Kosovo crisis. The President also announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture will donate 40,000 tons of wheat to Albania and 60,000 tons of commodities to Macedonia. These donations will help boost their economies while helping to meet the needs of their displaced populations.

Providing Humanitarian Aid. In addition to economic assistance, the President remains committed to providing humanitarian aid for the Kosovar refugees. The State Department and USAID have provided over $10.4 million in aid to Stenkovic I and other refugee camps in Macedonia for food and relief supplies, water and sanitation services, health education programs, and other support services. The U.S. commitment to aid the Kosovar refugees includes:

  • providing over $220 million in humanitarian assistance since March 1998, including over $150 million since the major expulsion of Kosovars began in late March of this year;

  • enlisting numerous international non-governmental organizations to provide relief, and supporting them with close to $175 million in aid contracts; and

  • procuring over $5 million in emergency humanitarian supplies for returning refugees in Kosovo since the peacekeeping mission began.

Refugees Returning Home. Refugees are continuing to leave Albania and Macedonia and return home to Kosovo. The UNHCR estimates that as of June 20, close to 135,000 refugees have crossed the border to return home. The number of refugees in Kukes, Albania has dropped from 112,000 to less than 35,000 in just one week, with fewer than 5,000 left in camps.

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