Peace In The Balkans: `Happy Peace To Us All'

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The Independent Online
This is an edited version of President Slobodan Milosevic's televised address to the Yugoslav people yesterday.

DEAR CITIZENS. Happy peace to us all! At this moment, our thoughts go out to the heroes who have given their lives for the defence of the fatherland in the struggle for freedom and dignity of our nation.

All their names will be announced in full but at this moment I would like to inform you that in the war which lasted exactly 11 weeks, from 24 March until today, 462 Yugoslav army soldiers and 114 police were killed.

We shall never be able to repay them. We have to do what we can.

Our duty is to care for their families and repay them by being for ever ready to defend our freedom and dignity of this land for which they laid down their lives.

No one will forget the heroism of the defenders of the bridges, the citizens who defended the factories, the squares and the cities ... their state and their people. The people are the heroes - this may be the briefest conclusion of this war.

Throughout the rallies in this past year in our country, one motto was often heard: We will not give up Kosovo. We never gave up Kosovo.

Today, the territorial integrity and sovereignty is guaranteed by the G8 nations, the United Nations. This guarantee is in the draft resolution.

The territorial integrity of our country can never be questioned again ... The troops due to be deployed in Kosovo will be under UN auspices ... We have shown that our army is invincible ...

Never before have our people been so united and never in our history did we have fewer cowards who fled the country to await the war's end abroad in safety.

At this moment, we face many new problems ... We face the reconstruction of the country...

We have defended the only multi-ethnic society left over as a remnant of the former Yugoslavia - this is another great achievement of our defence ... I wish all citizens of Yugoslavia much joy and success in reconstruction of our country!