A retired American general Wesley Clark, the NATO commander during the 1999 bombing of the then Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, said on Tuesday, it was early for the NATO-led international peacekeeping force, KFOR, to leave Kosovo.
Clark, who was on a visit to Pristina, added that the Alliance's intervention was not aimed at taking lives.
“We did not want to kill anyone during the bombing. We did not want anyone to die, we even did not want to bomb, what we wanted was an ethnic cleansing to stop,” Clark said.
The 19-member NATO bombed the then Yugoslavia, comprising Serbia, Montenegro and Kosovo, to halt Belgrade’s army and police actions against the ethnic Albanians.
Clark added he wanted Kosovo to become a European Union member state, but that it was not the time for the NATO forces, that have been deployed in Kosovo since June 1999, immediately after the bombing, to leave.