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The BBC's Paul Reynolds
"Whoever is president next year might face a restless Congress"
 real 28k

The BBC's Defence Correspondent, Jonathan Marcus
(Lord Robertson's letter) is an indication of the gravity of the situation
 real 28k

Thursday, 18 May, 2000, 20:41 GMT 21:41 UK
Senate rejects Kosovo withdrawal
US troops in Kosovo
US troops to stay in Kosovo... for now
The US Senate has narrowly rejected a proposal that would have withdrawn American troops from Kosovo next year.

On Wednesday, the House of Representatives approved a similar, though weaker, proposal.

It called for a US withdrawal from Kosovo unless Washington could certify that other Nato countries were meeting their obligations in the province.

In response, the Secretary-General of Nato, George Robertson, warned that a unilateral deadline for withdrawing US troops would send a dangerous signal to the Yugoslav President, Slobodan Milosevic.

Nato lobbying

Before Thursday's vote, Lord Robertson set out his fears in letters to key members of the Senate.

The BBC's defence correspondent, Jonathan Marcus, says he was worried that such a deadline could jeopardise the whole operation in Kosovo.

George Robertson, Nato secretary-general
The Nato chief fears the entire operation is at risk

Analysts say that the proposals reflect concern about the open-ended commitment the US is making towards peacekeeping in a number of countries.

They also coincide with an emerging American belief that regional powers should take the lead in solving crises.

In an attempt to address these concerns, Lord Robertson pointed out that European countries provided 80% of the ground troops in Kosovo.

He said they also bore the largest burden in providing assistance for reconstruction.

US critics

Both withdrawal proposals were opposed by the Clinton administration and the Republican presidential candidate, George W Bush.

Villager and cow
Europe pays for most of the reconstruction

The Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright, has made a strongly worded speech opposing the restriction on US involvement in Kosovo.

She said that it would be seen as a weakness which would attract the vultures.

And Governor George W Bush has told Senate Republicans that the plan by Congress would threaten presidential rights over foreign policy.

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Kosovo: One year on
Click here for in-depth coverage and latest news
Key stories:
Nato's incomplete victory
The view from Kosovo
Serbs fear new war
Nato strikes: The untold story
An Uneasy Peace
Talking Point
Is the West losing the peace?
Is Nato guilty of war crimes?
See also:

17 May 00 | Americas
Pressure to quit Kosovo
28 Feb 00 | Europe
Kosovo: What happened to peace?
16 Mar 00 | Europe
Kosovo one year on
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