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Gorbachev on Yugoslavia bombing
CNN - Larry King Live - April 3, 1999
MIKHAIL GORBACHEV, GENERAL SECRETARY, SOVIET COMMUNIST PARTY (through translator): I think this is a big mistake because the political solution was possible and the possibilities for a political solutions were not used. As someone who has been involved in the politics for many years, as someone who was involved in similar negotiations, I was really amazed that during these negotiations, at all times the threat of force was used. And it was said by NATO that the talks will be more successful if this threat is -- or the use of force is used during the negotiations.
KING: Does the president...
GORBACHEV (through translator): The political part of the agreement was already agreed and negotiated and then suddenly, the so- called military part appeared in the form of an ultimatum.
KING: Does the president have any disagreement with Mr. Milosevic?
GORBACHEV (through translator): What happened was the result of mistakes made by all sides, and of course, first of all, Milosevic, who liquidated the autonomy of Kosovo.
KING: Does the president fear the possibility of ground troops? GORBACHEV (through translator): I think NATO has made a mistake and now this mistake must be corrected. The air strikes are mistake enough. Those air strikes were done without authorization from the United Nations. This regarding the view, the views of countries like Russia, China, India and this has placed the world in a very, very difficult situation.
So, I don't even want to think about the use of ground troops. I believe that, instead, the air strikes should be stopped because the situation is difficult enough now.
And Larry, I am really amazed at the kind of self-confidence -- over-confidence that is being shown by President Clinton and today's statement also by Tony Blair. They are too sure that the air strikes would achieve their goal. I believe that instead this will boomerang and they will certainly rue this and the view of the people, not just the Yugoslav people, but the people throughout the world, is very negative. Even in Europe, people are divided. And of course, other people are saying, "Well that's what Western values are."
KING: Mr. President, can Russia do any more to help?
GORBACHEV (through translator): I believe that Russia should stick to the position that it is for a political settlement. This is very important. We should not lose our heads. No one should lose their heads.
I believe that the signal -- the message -- that was carried by Primakov has now been confirmed in the talks between Milosevic and Rugova, the political leader of the ethnic Albanians. So that shows that there is a potential for a political solution. So, let us take advantage of this and let us find a political solution.
I believe that Russia alone without cooperation with the United States cannot change the situation readily for the better, cannot change this very dangerous situation alone. Because after all, we understand that if Russia acts alone, then the United States will perhaps fear that the U.S. credibility is being undermined.
So, the situation today is that every one should try and save face, but let us think above all about the sufferings of the people. Let us think about that, the people are suffering.
KING: If you were president now...
GORBACHEV (through translator): And Larry, I am very much concerned about the consequences of what is happening in Yugoslavia and what is happening with respect to this crisis. The international law has been (OFF-MIKE). Force has been used. The position of the U.N. Security Council has been undermined. And now Europe has been shown who's the boss. And I know this because I hear this from the Europeans. Russia is being humiliated.
And this will push a new arms race in every country in the world. People will be thinking we must have more weapons, because the time will come when we may, might have to use them. And there is a real threat that in many countries there will be an effort made to get absolute weapons. To get weapons of mass destruction. I believe this will also give impetus to terrorism.
We'll be dealing with terrible consequences and our attempt to create a new peaceful world order, will be made extremely difficult. And our attempts to create a new peaceful world order will be made extremely difficult.
So, we must stop. And a joint effort, particularly by the United States and Russia. The U.N. Security Council should also be given a role. And we must build a new security structure, a new security architecture in Europe. NATO cannot be the guarantor. NATO may participate but all Europeans should take decisions rather than NATO alone.
This is all very serious, and I would like President Clinton, and I would like the United States to take the initiative in doing this, preferably in cooperation with Russia, and other countries. Otherwise this process that we are seeing now cannot be held in check, cannot be controlled.
KING: Mr. President, I thank you very much. A very strong advocate of his country...
GORBACHEV (through translator): Thank you, Larry. Pleased to talk to you. I was very pleased to talk to you because I have confidence in you and I trust you, and respect you. I feel that you are as concerned as I am about what's happening, and I believe that what happened between our countries -- the improvement that happened after the end of the Cold War is now being threatened and I am very concerned about this.
KING: Thank you Mr. President.
Institute for Public Accuracy
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