May 2, 1999 – Sighs Of Relief – Release Of US Servicemen In Kosovo
May 2, 1999 – Sighs of relief, this day in 1999. Three U.S. servicemen, captured by the Yugoslav Army in Kosovo, were released after negotiations between Yugoslav officials and Jesse Jackson were successful. The three servicemen; Staff Sergeants Andrew Ramirez and Christopher Stone, along with Specialist Steven Gonzales were released to Civil Rights/Humanitarian leader Jackson after formal documents were signed. Jackson told the three they could remove their hands from behind their backs, as the servicemen broke into smiles and hugged Jackson before being escorted out of the Yugoslav Army Press Room to waiting buses for the ride from Belgrade to the Croatian border and the flight to Rammstein for de-briefing and then the flight home. Jackson phoned President Clinton, who was delighted at the news. The released ended the ordeal which began on March 31, when they were captured while on patrol along the border between Kosovo and Macedonia. The Serbian authorities maintained that they were inside Yugoslavia when they were seized. The soldiers were kept in isolation and received their first visits from outsiders only earlier in the week; first from representatives of the International Red Cross and on Friday from Mr. Jackson, Congressman Rod D. Blagojevich of Illinois and two journalists. After winning Mr. Milosevic’s promise on Sunday to release the men, Mr. Jackson urged NATO to reciprocate by immediately halting further air strikes and opening negotiations on Kosovo.
Meanwhile, Despite news of the release of the servicemen, NATO continued its bombing campaign of military sites across the country. The intense assault was focused on cutting off Yugoslav troops inside Kosovo. President Clinton was traveling to Europe this week, where he was planning on focusing on the issue of Kosovo. He was scheduled to meet with NATO officials in Belgium and then stop in Germany to visit U.S. Air crews who have been helping support the NATO strikes against Yugoslavia.
And British Police were continuing to question a suspect in connection with the terrorist bombings in London. A Fascist group called The White Wolves claimed to have set off three nail bombs in mainly Gay and Ethnic neighborhoods of London the past few weeks, the latest attack coming only days earlier at a Gay Pub.
And that’s just a little bit of what happened, this May 2, 1999 as presented by NPR News from Weekend Edition.