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Kosovo Commission III
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avgust 20, 2008

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


MISSING THE ESSENTIALS BY NOT LISTENING TO ALL

Fundamentally important aspects like these play no important role in the Kosovo Commission's report. They do not fit well with the kind of statement quoted above from its executive summary.

The report merely takes the position that Serbia has repressed the Kosovo-Albanians to such an extent that it does not deserve to keep Kosovo and that they are therefore entitled to independence. That is a moralising judgement that has nothing to with conflict analysis, international law or real politics. It also argues that Serbs and Albanians ought to be able to accept the proposals of the Commission. But is it realistic to thus ignore years of fear on both sides, hate and polarisation, repression against the Albanians and bombings against the Serb as well as mutual ethnic cleansing? To expect them to understand each other, respect each other and protect each other after all that has happened? I think the answer must be no.

Is it reasonable, given the complexities - a tiny part of which is hinted at above - for foreigners to spend a few days there speaking only with top leaders and then suggest one solution which expresses a lack of consideration of the standpoint of one side? Apart from a handful of NGO-based Serbs and one FRY ambassador, the Commission has not talked with a single person who could explain the official position and views of the Yugoslav and Serbian governments. By that I mean non-oppositional people who were not and are not pro-Milosevic but who might have been involved in politics at some point - with, let's say, the moderate government of Milan Panic 1992-93, advisers, intellectuals and former diplomats who COULD (and would have been glad to) give the Commission a complex historical background and present the issues and problems as they saw see them.

The Commission's methods also begs the question: is it acceptable to analyse Kosovo and suggest solutions to the conflict without really even trying to grasp the minority-nationality dimensions of other ex-Yugoslav conflicts, without comparing similar and related issues in Croatia, Bosnia and Macedonia? One wonders whether the Commission would have suggested that Krajina or Republika Srpska - both Serb minority areas - should become independent, had it been tasked with drawing the lessons from those areas?

Independence is certainly one option among many. In none of the articles and reports from TFF has this option been ruled out. In fact, TFF has never suggested a solution; we do conflict-mitigation, which means developing proposals for the parties to discuss based on analysis where we meet with and listen to all sides. We believe that the only sustainable and morally acceptable solutions are those, which the parties themselves identify. It takes time and is difficult, yes, but it is so much easier before than after violence.

One example was our report from 1996, UNTANS - A United Nations Temporary Authority for a Negotiated Solution (can be ordered from our Publications section) which was based on a sustained written dialogue between Belgrade and the Kosovo-Albanian leadership at the time. It outlines an international presence, partial demilitarisation of the province and the setting up of a professional negotiation facility to work for at least three years with all sides and all problems and with all peace proposals on the table.

CONDITIONAL INDEPENDENCE