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Kosovo deal draws GOP fire

June 11, 1999|By DAVE McMILLION

The White House may be celebrating a victory in Kosovo, but two Republican members of Congress from the Tri-State area are worried how the United States will now deal with the fallout of the conflict.

U.S. Rep. Roscoe Bartlett, R-Md., said he does not believe U.S. troops should be a part of the peacekeeping effort in Kosovo because "we are hated by the Serbians."

"We should not be a part of that," Bartlett said Friday.

Bartlett also said he is worried about U.S. troops being in Kosovo for extended periods of time. He is concerned about the cost of keeping troops there and draining the country's "more and more hollow military force."

A spokesman for U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa., echoed Bartlett's concerns.

This is the first time in recent history that the United States has had to deal with the leader of a country who is an indicted war criminal, said Santorum spokesman Robert Traynum.

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"It's going to be interesting to see how the Clinton administration will handle this," Santorum said.

Bartlett said he never supported the bombing. The military efforts are being funded by the country's Social Security surplus, "and I don't think American's want that," said Bartlett.

U.S. Rep. Bob Wise, D-W.Va., took a more postive outlook.

"The settlement is a credit to the troops who made the prospects for peace possible. The NATO countries must now coordinate the efforts to make this now-fragile peace a lasting one," Wise said in a written statement.

Clinton proclaimed Thursday that victory has been achieved in Kosovo, but he told Serbs that the United States will not help them rebuild from bombing as long as their country is ruled by Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic.

The White House was euphoric on the day bombing stopped and Serb troops began withdrawing from Kosovo. But Clinton was somber as he warned of the dangers still facing peacekeeping troops, which includes 7,000 American forces.

Clinton said "bitter memories" from the conflict will still be fresh and there could be casualties.

Other members of the area's congressional delegation could not be reached for comment Friday.

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