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Politika, November 19, 2004

Aleksandar Lojpur

Kosovo - Independence- only reasonable solution*

 

President of Serbia Tadic and Prime Minister Kostunica have a historical chance to pull Serbia, Kosmet and the wider region out of the quicksand by their wise state policy and bold political moves.

They could launch an initiative and tell Rugova: Serbia is proposing Kosmet’s independence but as a member of the two-member federation, that is with an Albanian and a Serb entity. Let the Serb Orthodox monasteries, churches and other monuments in the Albanian entity have an extraterritorial status, and citizens in both entities enjoy equal rights, let the joint bodies be duty-bound to encourage repatriation of refugees and displaced persons and to protect the highest -standards human rights.

 

Then they should jointly tell the West: We have resolved the most difficult crisis in Europe, now give us the state guarantees that your largest companies shall make investments to the tune of 500 billion Euro in the region! If the West Germany invested so much in the overhaul of East Germany in a decade-long period, your 25 states can invest as much in the whole region of the West Balkans.

 

It shall be possible to use the above mentioned chance until spring 2005, so we still have several months.

 

Unfortunately, in all likelihood, Kostunica and Tadic shall not avail themselves of that opportunity. In that case, the only hope is that the West shall take the matter entirely into its hands and impose a sensible solution. But then, instead of 500 billion Euro worth investments we shall have an “industry of aid,” with a series of conferences on various topics and with “advisory teams” and thus remain a good training and employment ground for many, second-rank Western experts.

 

Nearly two years ago I espoused my views on the topic of status of Kosmet. Just after publishing of several texts of mine, the late Prime Minister Djindjic launched an initiative geared towards the resolution of status of Kosovo. Unfortunately Milosevic forces assassinated Prime Minister Djindjic and since March 2003 the trend of slowing down reforms, and in some segments even of revival of the old regime, continued.

 

Silence reigned over the issue of status of Kosovo until recently. The issue suddenly re-emerged as the deadline for holding referendum under Resolution 1244 approached. I shall give you one simple reason for the independence of Kosovo. Survival of Kosovo within Serbia is today factually impossible.

 

I would like to ask all those who keep saying that independence of Kosovo is unacceptable, to present their constitutional model of Serbia with 2 million bellicose Kosovo Albanians in the country.

 

If we want to exclude a possibility of having an Albanian political leader as our Prime Minister, President of Parliament or ambassador to the United Nations, with the policy and national interests totally opposed to the interests of Serbia, then Kosovo cannot remain within Serbia, if Serbia wants to be a democracy. And if Serbia does not want to be a democracy, Kosovo shall be even less willing to remain within its framework, for then the West shall doubtless back secession of Kosovo from undemocratic Serbia.

 

Some figures in the West urge a three-member State Union, composed of Serbia, Montenegro and Kosovo. They say that from the European angle is it a sensible solution which does not touch on the issue of the existing borders. And I say: that is not good, we have already had such an arrangement.

 

Firstly, it does not prevent ethnic-cleansing of Serbs in Koovo.

 

Secondly, it opens the way for taking the wrong and non-judicious decisions on ethnic, and not economic and useful grounds, at the level of the state union through political representations which shall remain ethnically homogenized for long.

 

Aspiration of Kosovo Albanians to secede from Serbia shall persist until its realization. Political leaders of Kosovo  Albanians are even ready to wage a war against Serbia in order to effect that secession. That is understandable from the 19th century viewpoint shared by the majority of Albanian (and unfortunately) Serb politicians. Has not Karadjordje’s Serbia in the same way effected its secession from the Otoman Empire?

 

Moreover leaders of Kosovo Albanians have to date showed that the war option is closer to their hearts and minds than a peaceful resolution of the dispute. And they favor that option because through it they could get the whole Kosovo cleansed of Serbs.

Striving of leaders of Kosovo  Albanians to provoke a war with Serbia and their readiness for war, makes that war very probable, unless a peaceful solution leading to a formal secession of Kosovo from Serbia is swiftly found.

 

The 17 March events are indicative of the foregoing. Scenario was obvious, it has been already enacted in Croatia, when that country through its campaign “Storm” expelled nearly all local Serbs in August 1995. Albanian leaders who had orchestrated the 17 March violence expected the West to calmly watch a massive exodus of Serbs, like it had done during the “Storm.” And that would have happened, if the then Defense Secretary Tadic, had not reacted swiftly and managed, after lengthy discussions, to convince General Johnson that at play was ethnic-cleansing. Only when General Johnson in his statement condemned the Albanian violence, other Western leaders followed up, by issuing serious threats to Albanians. And Albanians stopped the violence. The reform standstill in Serbia, revival of Milosevic’s forces and their political comeback, and the possibility of electoral victory of some anti-Western and anti-European forces, suited some leaders of Kosovo Albanians. They are guided by the following idea: the worse the situation in Serbia, the sooner an independent Kosovo cleansed of Serbs.

If the Serb political representatives fail to grasp that that an independent Kosovo, with the Serb entity as an equal member of the state of Kosovo, organized as a two-member federation, is in the Serb interest,

and if they continue to spitefully resist the West, it is most sure that the Albanian political leaders shall anew opt for the war. The 17 March events have been quickly forgottenn and Serbs are again portrayed as the bad guys in the Western media, for having boycotted  provincial elections in the face of Western efforts and recommendations. It is easy to stage a new provocation and spark off the war. In that case the West would calmly watch the expulsion of the remaining Serbs and accept independence of

Kosmet as a fact.

 

Because of the Russian or Chinese veto in the Security Council perhaps a forcibly seceded and ethnically cleansed Albanian Kosovo would not be universally recognized as an independent state, but that would not prevent a complete erasure of the Serb presence there. Taiwan has never been universally recognized as an independent state, but it does not prevent it from acting as such. Therefore a stubborn Serb stand “We shall never accept independent Kosovo” is the shortest route for Serbia to lose Kosovo for ever and totally.

 

I think that President Tadic and Prime Minister Kostunica should urgently propose to Kosovo President Rugova and other political representatives of Kosovo  Albanians that the province be arranged as an independent, two-entity state, composed of the Albanian and of the Serb entity.

 

We don’t need any international conference for the foregoing. At an international conference, instead of Albanians and Serbs reaching the most favorable solution, everything would be watered down, and every side would try to win over Western politicians for their “cause” and Western politicians, guided by policy of non-interference, would then opt for preservation of status quo, and continuation of the “industry of aid”, before jump-starting development of industry in Serbia and in Kosovo.

 

Would not it be wiser if we maintained our influence in the province through the Serb entity in an independent Kosovo, than to lose the whole Kosovo because of the paper-style sovereignty similar to the sovereignty of the Queen Elisabeth over Canada?


 * English translation taken from web site 

http://www.helsinki.org.rs/doc/Files20.pdf (Helsinski odbor za ljudska prava u Srbiji)