G8 Kosovo Principles - Another Peace Plan Fraud

TFF PressInfo 67

May 7, 1999 


"The G8 foreign ministers' declaration of principles to resolve the Kosovo "crisis" is a mishmash of face-saving elements for the West and addresses none of the root causes of the conflict or the failure of the West as a mediator," says TFF director Jan Oberg. "This declaration may be used to justify continued bombing and, if implemented, promises a very sad future for the Balkans. But 'conflict illiteracy' abounds, so leading media call it a peace plan - repeating their treatment of Rambouillet." Here follows the full G8 text of principles as published by BBC on May 6. 

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"The following general principles must be adopted and implemented to resolve the Kosovo crisis: 

* Immediate and verifiable end of violence and repression in Kosovo. 

* Withdrawal from Kosovo of military, police and paramilitary forces. 

* Deployment in Kosovo of effective international civil and security presences, endorsed and adopted by the United Nations, capable of guaranteeing the achievement of the common objectives. 

* The establishment of an interim administration for Kosovo, to be decided by the Security Council of the United Nations to ensure conditions for a peaceful and normal life for all inhabitants for Kosovo. 

* The safe and free return of all refugees and displaced persons and unimpeded access to Kosovo by humanitarian aid organisations. 

* A political process towards the establishment of an interim political framework. An agreement providing for substantial self-government for Kosovo, taking full account of the Rambouillet accords and the principles and sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and other countries of the region and the demilitarisation of the UCK. 

* Comprehensive approach to the economic development and stabilisation of the crisis region."

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"Here are 10 reasons why this declaration can be seen as another peace plan fraud: 

1. The ministers call this a "crisis" and not a "conflict" or a "war." That indicates that their purpose is to create a face-saving formula for the crisis created by NATO's Balkan bombing blunder. People in Yugoslavia (FRY), the Kosovars in particular and the surrounding countries see it as a conflict that exploded in war and aggression. The principles grasp none of the deep roots of the conflict itself and focus on none of the needs of the peoples living in the region. 

2. They avoid reference to NATO's bombing and under what conditions it would stop. 

3. The ministers begin with withdrawal of FRY forces (which, all or some, from where to where?) and ends with a general reference to (later) demilitarisation of the UCK under the point "political process." This continues the lack of balance - introduced last year by ambassador Holbrooke - in dealing with two fighting parties/forces in a civil war. 

4. It does not state whether all or some FRY forces shall be withdrawn. It mentions 'demilitarization' of UCK, but can there be an Army without weapons? If so, is this an endorsement of the KLA-dominated 'government' recently formed outside the constitution and political framework of Kosova? 

5. The ministers avoid defining the international "presences;" but the wording 'international civil and security' does represent an important move away from "NATO alone" over "NATO lead" and "international security force with a NATO core." Good that the UN is, finally, to play a role, but will it be as leader or as a hostage holding the rubber stamp? 

6. Reference to the territorial integrity and sovereignty of FRY is not enough. The declaration does not mention that FRY shall be consulted about its own future. The UN Security Council shall decide about an interim administration and the interim political framework shall take full account of the Rambouillet accords. But they violated the integrity and sovereignty of FRY and were no 'accords.' 

7. The ministers seem to believe that it is an 'interim administration for Kosovo' rather than a socio-psychological, people-based peace-building process which will bring peace to the region. This continues the disastrous top-down 'engineering' or 'managerial' approach to conflict where a shift to consultation, trust-building, and regeneration of civil society is much needed. 

8. The declaration is most interesting for what it does not say a word about, namely: a) local and regional trust- and confidence-building, b) consulting with FRY and KLA/UCK and Dr. Rugova, c) negotiations between the conflict's core parties, and d) a Balkan regional approach and process. 

9. The ministers avoid mentioning any regret or apology to the peoples of Yugoslavia for the civilian deaths and damage caused - and thus fails pitifully to open the door to reconciliation between NATO countries and the 10 million citizens of FRY. Lacking both in self-criticism and empathy, the G8 believes that NATO countries can get away with first failing in violence-prevention, then in impartial mediation and now in aggression and then become a trusted, legitimate peacemaker! 

10. With so many crucial issues left out and so much vagueness, FRY is likely to ask for clarifications or say no - and then NATO can legitimate continued bombing of those who say no to 'peace principles.' 

This document fails to open a single door to genuine conflict-solution. It addresses neither the original roots causes of the Albanian-Serb conflict, nor the much worse regional and world crisis created by NATO's disastrous policies. 

The imprecisions, the omissions, the shortness, the contradictions and the absence of any expression of empathy with human suffering indicate the deep divisions among the drafters. Russia is 'on board' this - if they are - only because the West is more important to it than Kosovo. I would be surprised if Yugoslavia perceives it as anything but window-dressing. It is tragic that the most powerful leaders have learnt no lessons about conflict-resolution. To paraphrase Einstein, with NATO's bombings since March 24, everything has changed except the most powerful leaders' way of thinking about conflict and 'peace' and thus we drift towards more catastrophes," predicts Jan Oberg.


© TFF 1999

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