Thursday, June 10, 1999 Published at 17:30 GMT 18:30 UK
Milosevic congratulates Serb army
President Milosevic: "We did not give up Kosovo."
Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic made an unexpected address to the nation on Serbian radio and television on Thursday, praising the Yugoslav forces and his own policies which he said showed that Yugoslavia had the greatest army in the world. He called for unity to rebuild the country. The following is the text of the address:
[Milosevic] Dear citizens: the aggression is over. Peace has prevailed over violence. Dear citizens, long live peace.
At this moment our first thoughts must be dedicated to the heroes who gave their lives in defence of the fatherland, in the struggle for freedom and dignity of their people.
All their names will be made known in full, but at the moment I want to tell you that 462 Yugoslav Army members and 114 policemen of the Republic of Serbia died in this war which lasted exactly 11 weeks, from 24 March until today.
We shall never be able to repay them. We have to do what we can, that which is our duty, which is to help their families, and we shall repay this debt by always being ready to defend the freedom, dignity and independence of this country for which they laid down their lives.
'Kosovo has not been lost'
The entire people took part in this war: From babies in maternity wards and the seriously ill in intensive care, to the troops of the air defence forces in their trenches and the border guards on the borders.
No-one will forget the heroism of the defenders of the bridges, the citizen defenders of the factories, markets, of their jobs, their state, their people.
The people are the heroes. Perhaps that is what the shortest conclusion of this war should say.
The people are heroes, and therefore they should feel like heroes and act like heroes: That means in a dignified, noble and responsible manner.
At the beginning of this year, all around our country there were many demonstrations at which one slogan was heard: "We shall not give up Kosovo."
We did not give up Kosovo.
The G8 group of most industrialized nations of the world and the UN are guaranteeing the sovereignty and territorial integrity of our state. That guarantee is also included in the draft of the [UN] resolution.
Open questions such as the possible independence of Kosovo, from the time preceding the aggression, have been resolved in the Belgrade agreement [signed last week].
The territorial integrity of our country is not in doubt.
We stood fast and defended our country while we laid the entire problem before the very summit of the world pyramid of authority, the UN, under the auspices of the UN and in accordance with the UN Charter.
'We have the best army in the world'
The international forces, which will be deployed in Kosovo with the task of ensuring safety for all citizens, will be under the UN auspices.
A political process, which will be based on the principles stemming from previous discussions and equally from the sovereignty and territorial integrity of our country, will be held under the UN auspices.
This means that only autonomy and nothing else can be discussed in this political process.
By going to the UN, we have not just defended our country, but also we have again put the UN onto the international scene, the UN which was not functioning for about 80 days before the start of this aggression.
This is our contribution to the efforts of the entire freedom-loving world. This is our contribution to tendencies to create a multilateral world, not to accept the creation of the world led by the dictate of force from one centre.
I believe that this will be an enormous contribution to history and that heroism of our nation in the resistance to the much more powerful and stronger enemy will mark the end of the 20th Century. I am convinced of this.
We have shown that we have an invincible army and, I am certain, the best army in the world.
When I say army, then this should be understood in the broadest possible sense: The army, the police and all state defence forces.
They showed before the entire world how to defend our nation and how they are united because the army was the same as the people and because the people were the army.
Never before were people so united like we were in this war, and never before had we fewer cowards, who fled the country to await the end of the war in safety.
At this moment, many fresh problems are arising, and these problems will open pose numerous tasks at the end of the aggression and at the outbreak of peace.
These are above all: To look after those most in need, to look after the families of the killed, wounded and partially incapacitated to carry out their jobs, and to look after all those workers, farmers, citizens of all professions, whose [livelihoods] were affected in the war and who should be helped according to their needs, and everyone should be helped.
We are facing the tasks of reconstruction of the country. We shall start to build again our bridges right away. We shall right away start to build again our roads, our factories, we shall embark upon the road of an enormous development, which will express the ability and vitality of our people, our citizens, our country and all its citizens.
When I speak about our people, I refer to all citizens of Yugoslavia and to all nationality.
We have defended a multinational community, the only surviving multinational community, the former Yugoslavia. I believe that this is also one of the great achievements of our defence.
The forces, which will come to Kosovo, will serve peace regardless of where they are from.
Armies always carry out their orders and the order is to protect citizens and preserve peace.
Enormous tasks awaiting us will require a high level of mobilization. I think that the unity forged in these difficult times is a major achievement, which we must preserve also at the time of reconstruction because we will need unity and mobilization to achieve reconstruction and start a new development successfully.
I wish all citizens of Yugoslavia a lot of happiness and joy in this.