Voinovich: You've dealt with a lot of the major issues that are on everyone's mind. But I think you know I have a particular interest in Southeast Europe, where I spent probably more time than any member of the Foreign Relations Committee. And we've made some progress there.
We've gotten rid of Milosevic. We've gotten rid of Tudjman. Stjepan Mesic just got reelected president of Croatia. Slovenia has joined NATO and the E.U. And there's some real progress being made.
But I am very concerned about what's going on in Serbia- Montenegro today. I'm very concerned about what's happening in Kosovo. Because I really believe that, unless things are stabilized in Serbia-Montenegro and we stabilize things in Kosovo, that we could very well have another crisis on your hands this year, particularly because we're discussing the final status of Kosovo, what's going to be happening there.
I'd like to say that Mark Grossman has done a good job. I'd like to know, where is that on your priority list? And are you familiar with it? And what do you -- you know, we've got our NATO forces over there.
VOINOVICH: They haven't got the job done.
You recall on the 17th of March last year, 4,000 refugees, 900 homes burned, 30 churches. There's some real problems in that part of the world. We've invested a lot of money. I'd like to know what do you think you're going to do about that?
RICE: Yes, I think it's a high priority, Senator, because it would help complete the European construction if you think of it that way, that in effect, until the Balkans is settled it's going to be hard to think of Europe as truly whole and free. So we need to resolve the remaining Balkans issues.
And on Bosnia-Herzegovina we've made a lot of progress. We've been able to end the SFOR mission there and to have the E.U. take that mission over.
But you're right, in Kosovo, in Serbia, Montenegro, we have a thorny set of problems.
One of the issues in Kosovo has been to try to get some energy into UNMIK. And I think we've got now in the leadership there, strong people who are looking to try to improve the coordination on economic and political affairs there.
We definitely need the Serbs to continue their democratic process. I think we were all somewhat heartened about the election there of Mr. Tadic, and I hope that they will take the opportunity that that provides to make progress on the further democratization of Serbia.
And, of course, we do need their cooperation in the international tribunal for Yugoslavia, and we continue to press that case.
Ultimately, on Kosovo, as we've had this standards before status approach, we recognize that the standards are going to be important to the future of that region. Meeting those standards is going to be important to the future of that region.
And I notice that Mr. Jessen-Petersen has put a lot of emphasis on those standards that are about minority rights and the need to deal with the Serbian minority there, so that we can move on then to discussions in the review conference that's coming up about status (ph).
VOINOVICH: I'd just like to say that I hope that we really give it the priority it needs. Because last year when Secretary Powell was here, I said to him, "I don't think we're doing the job we're supposed to be doing."
He said, "I know. I think things are fine." And then we had the blowup there.
But I'm just telling you, we have a situation there.
Now you've got the new prime minister of Kosovo who may go to The Hague, Selana (ph), and our people have encouraged the Kosovars not to put that person in and he's still there.
So you've got a real problem there that needs to be taken care of in addition to getting the other countries to give up their caveats in terms of what they can do. Because we had all these burnings of homes there and they just watched the homes and monasteries burn down and said, "We can't do anything about it because our orders are we only protect people, not property."
RICE: I take the point, Senator.