05 March 1998
(Approaching breaking point in Kosovo, NATO commander says) (320) By Rick Marshall USIA Staff Writer Washington -- "We're rapidly approaching the breaking point in Kosovo," General Wesley Clark, commander in chief of the U.S. European Command, warned the House National Security Committee March 5 during a hearing largely devoted to manpower and procurement issues. The moderates are on the verge of losing control of the situation in Kosovo, Clark said. "We're coming to a very decisive point." "It is very important that the repression stop now," he continued, referring to Serbia's heavy-handed treatment of the ethnic Albanians who make up the vast majority of Kosovo's inhabitants. General Clark also warned of the danger which could ensue if the mandate for the United Nations peacekeeping forces currently stationed in Macedonia is not renewed in August. Russia has said it would veto the extension, he said, something the United States should work with the international community to prevent. General Anthony Zinni, the commander in chief of U.S. Central Command, told the committee that he was sure that Saddam Hussein would break the agreement U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan brokered in Baghdad late last month as well as try to divide the allied coalition arrayed against him. Zinni also warned of the threat that the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and increasingly sophisticated weaponry pose to the Gulf region. Asked specifically whether there had been any communication between Iraq and other states about such weapons, Zinni said: "We suspect there has been some, particularly in the case of Sudan." At the same time, he said he was unable to confirm that specific weapons of mass destruction had been transferred to Sudan. Asked similar questions about Libya, General Clark said that Libya does possess chemical weapons and that he suspected that there has been "collusion between a number of countries in the region" on such weapons.