Clinton leaves Balkans hailed a hero by Kosovar Albanians
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He wrapped up his busy day praising
"You have repeatedly put your lives on the line to save the lives of innocent civilians and turn back the tide of ethnic cleansing," said
Earlier, he thanked
"No one ever, ever should be punished and discriminated against or killed or uprooted because of their religion or ethnic heritage," Clinton told hundreds of cheering, chanting refugees at the Stenkoveccamp, less than 16 kilometers (10 miles) from the Kosovo border.
The refugees gave Clinton a hero's welcome as he and his family toured the muddy tent city. Stenkovec housed some 30,000 refugees at the height of Operation Allied Force, NATO's bombing campaign against
Since the end of that campaign and the withdrawal of Serb troops from Kosovo, about 20,000 ethnic Albanians have returned home from Stenkovec.
"I don't want anyone else to lose an arm or a leg or a child because of land mines," he said. "Please be patient with us ... you are going to be able to go back. I want to make sure it is a happy return."
After his visit to the refugee camp,
He told the largely American group of military personnel that it has "a big, big job" ahead to "show that people can lay down their hatreds."
"People who come from different ethnic and religious backgrounds can live together if they simply respect each other's God given dignity,"
"The war in
Clinton, who also met with President Rexhep Meidani of
"NATO could not have achieved its mission without you," he said, speaking at the Macedonian parliament. "The people of Kosovo would not be going home to security and autonomy without you. I came here as much as anything else to say thank you."
Monday's trip marked
"We must build a