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For Immediate Release
April 30, 1999

PRESS RELEASE

For More Information Contact:
Peter Gilmore, 412-471-8919


UE Declares,
‘End Ethnic Cleansing,
Stop the Bombing’

The Clinton Administration should immediately suspend air strikes against Yugoslavia and call on the United Nations to launch a diplomatic effort to resolve the Kosovo crisis, according to the United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America (UE).

In statement released by the UE General Executive Board on April 30, the 40,000-member, Pittsburgh-based national union strongly condemns the brutal oppression of the Kosovar Albanians and expresses support for U.S. military personnel on duty in the Balkans.

"However, this union has serious reservations about the NATO operation," the union leadership says. "We have concluded that the air strikes on Yugoslavia should be abandoned in favor of real negotiations, conducted by the United Nations, without which there can be no hope of any meaningful settlement or lasting peace in the region."

UE points out that ethnic cleansing has accelerated since the air strikes commenced. The union observes also that the bombing raids have strengthened the Milosevic regime, destroyed factories causing tens of thousands to be without jobs, and killed innocent civilians.

Questioning NATO’s role, the UE leaders declare, "Leaving the fate of Kosovo in the hands of a military alliance made military action virtually inevitable... Reinventing a role for NATO is not worth a single life, American, Serbian or Albanian."

"UE believes that the United Nations properly should have been given the opportunity to lead the international community’s search for a solution — and that the UN remains the best vehicle to bring a just peace to Kosovo. A UN-led effort could involve Serbia’s traditional ally, Russia, as well as other Balkan nations, all necessary to a genuinely negotiated settlement," the union says.

UE says it opposes "any offensive use of U.S. ground forces in this conflict," but would welcome U.S. military participation in a UN-led multinational peacekeeping force to protect the Kosvar Albanians. The union also calls for increased U.S. commitment to humanitarian aid to Kosovo refugees.

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UE News - 04/30/99


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