TFF PressInfo 57
March 17, 1999
"Read the so-called Kosovo Peace Agreement being discussed these very hours in Paris and you are in for a few surprises," says TFF director Dr. Jan Oberg. "I do not think that any recognised, sovereign state would accept all the CIVILIAN provisions and the MILITARY implementation on its territory of a plan like this. No state likes to receive "sign or be bombed" ultimatums - particularly not when the said plan implies the de facto end of its status as a sovereign state with territorial integrity.
The standard story with CNN, BBC, and leading papers conveys the impression that the Serbs are just stubborn and stall the peace negotiations, whereas the Albanian side is co-operative, as evidenced by a letter from their delegation leader of March 15. Yugoslavia deserves punishment while Albanians are praised for their "courage to compromise for peace." That's virtual reality and virtual truth. Real reality is way more complicated," says Oberg.
"You must have noticed that no one has raised the simple question: Could there be some REASONS why Serbs say no and Albanians indicate that they will say yes? Ask yourself why media and diplomats discuss the game and the blame, not the substance. Did YOU know," asks Jan Oberg, "that the document on the table, among other things, decides that:
the self-governing Kosovo can influence Yugoslav politics while the authorities of FRY, the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, are barred from influencing Kosovo's internal affairs? The Constitution and laws of Kosovo can not be modified by FRY or by Serbia while Kosovo citizens shall be elected to the Federal and Republican assemblies and governments and to its courts;
there is no definition of the term "national communities" - used throughout the document as a basic category - but talks about their "fair representation" and their "additional rights."
the Agreement prevails over any other legislation, i.e. of that of FRY?
there shall be equal rights and equal access to employment in public services but does not stipulate what that means for the 10-20 per cent of the people in the province who are NOT Albanians;
the Implementation Mission, IM, shall have its own radio and television in Kosovo;
FRY is prevented from prosecuting crimes related to the conflict and holds that past political and resistance activities shall not be a bar to holding office in Kosovo;
the decisions of the Kosovo Supreme Court shall be executed by all FRY authorities;
the communal boundaries can be changed - which, in its consequences, will permit gerry-mandering to create majority compacts;
OSCE will supervise an election program in consultation with the Parties; FRY is not considered capable of holding elections;
the Chief of the OSCE/EU Implementation Mission, CIM, has the authority to issue binding directives to the Parties on all important matters he sees fit; like in Bosnia he can dismiss public security personnel and he can remove and appoint officials and curtail existing institutions - meaning he can overrule election results; there is no mention of FRY veto in any area;
Kosovo shall function as a free market economy, as laid down in its "constitution;"
FRY shall give Kosovo an equitable share of of benefits derived from international transactions while the economic resources and profits of the province shall be reallocated with "the distribution of powers and responsibilities set forth in this agreement." This hardly clarifies what to do with the province's considerable natural resources and industrial facilities;
Substantial economic aid and a donor's conference is promised. There is no mention of help to normalise the Yugoslav economy, suspend sanctions or otherwise help the 650.000 refugees in FRY, the largest number in Europe;
three years ahead an international meeting shall be convened "to determine a mechanism for a final settlement for Kosovo, on the basis of the will of the people, opinions of the relevant authorities" etc. It does not state who shall convene this meeting; the Contact Group could have changed or been dissolved or replaced by then. Why is the word "referendum" not used? If 85 per cent of Kosovo's citizens are Albanians, one may guess that the will of the people means an independent Kosova. The Serbs in Kosovo and FRY of course know this, and the document states nothing about such conditions, e.g. that an independent Kosova can not unite with Albania.
Finally, the civilian parts of the document lacks every reference to civilian peace-keeping, trust-building, civil society-based reconciliation, conflict-resolution training, support for NGOs, peace education or human rights training etc. So the chances that Albanians, Serbs and other citizens should begin to build trust and learn to live peacefully side by side during these three years is nil.
Concerning these - civilian - provisions, Jan Oberg summarises:
"There are two types of semantic tricks in this text: One is that the sovereign, recognised state of Yugoslavia is treated in terms of language and provisions on an equal footing with the Albanian self-proclaimed, non-recognized Kosova and its military unit, the Kosovo Liberation Army, KLA. But this is a legal document, so it implies that - in practical terms - 70-80 per cent of the provisions and requirements are directed at the FRY, not at Kosova, since only the former has the institutions, legal means and enforcement capacity to comply. So, in most cases when the document states what "the Parties" shall do, it applies actually only to the FRY.
The second is that the document repeatedly states respect for FRY's sovereignty and integrity while grossly interfering with it in two ways: a) by establishing clearly asymmetric relations of influence and obligations between FRY and the self-governing Kosovo, and b) by making the Civilian Chief of Implementation Mission, CIM, the de facto ruler of the province, modelled upon the Dayton Accords and its Office of the High Representative.
This document is freely available on the Internet. Why are these things not analysed? Why do we not have a qualified debate about whether or not this is a fair, trust- and peace-building settlement? Why only the focus on the game and NOT on what the problems and issues are? This is not a sports event, what is at stake is the lives of around 10 million people and future generations.
According to my best judgment NO state in the West - least of all those of the Contact Group - would even consider granting self-government along these lines or being bullied into it by military threats and a military implementation," says Dr. Oberg who has worked with TFF mitigation-team in this conflict region since 1992. He concludes:
"Chapter 7, the Military Implementation of the Agreement, is most interesting. We are happy to provide you with insights into that, too. Did you know, for instance, that the Agreement does NOT mention the word KLA? That it makes NATO the highest military authority on that territory of sovereign Yugoslavia? That FRY is barred from defining its border defence, and that KLA's demilitarisation is not defined in the agreement? More about that in TFF PressInfo 58..."
Go to http://www.transnational.org, "Highlight" or "Links" to find the Kosovo Interim Agreement!
© TFF 1999
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