A rush in Kosovo  

  International Herald Tribune  Saturday, February 12, 2005 

Gareth Evans, in a strong endorsement of moving Kosovo toward early
independence ("It's time to talk independence for Kosovo," Views, Jan. 25),
says that if the Albanians' "frustration" isn't taken care of in the coming
months they may resort to violence, plunging the region into turmoil. But
aren't Serbs and Croats in neighboring Bosnia-Herzegovina also frustrated
and suffering economic despair? They would all opt out of the dysfunctional
federation if they could. The difference is that the Kosovar Albanians
continue to smuggle arms into the province and veterans of the Kosovo
Liberation Army are still ready and willing to fight again. Evans's plan for
early independence would empower Kosovar Albanians bent on violence and make
matters worse. Kosovo is not ready.
Nowhere in Evans's commentary is there mention of UN Security Council
Resolution 1244, which formed the basis for the end of NATO's war against
Yugoslavia, establishing the UN administration in Kosovo and calling only
for substantial autonomy for the province within that state.
Evans cavalierly urges a revived "contact group" to move forward on
independence with or without agreement from Serbia, Russia and,
astonishingly, with or without the Security Council's approval. Evans does
not state the possibility that, in rushing to independence, under Albanian
intimidation, international peacekeepers would be phased out and the former
KLA members who now make up the Kosovo Protection Corps would be phased in.
Naively, Evans trusts appointed foreign judges, "parties" and monitors to
protect the non-Albanian minorities. Evans does not address the likelihood
that Albanians in the Presevo Valley in Serbia, in Macedonia and even in
Montenegro would jump on the independence bandwagon.
Even with Evans's suggestions, a thin international presence would not be
able to contain an armed nationalist tide bent on the creation of "Greater
Albania." Belgrade and its battle-tested army would likely take action.
Bosnian Serbs may bolt from Bosnia-Herzegovina or perhaps Albania itself
would become involved in Kosovo in support of its ethnic kin. In my opinion,
Evans's plan for Kosovo is a recipe for renewed chaos.
Because of its past support of the KLA, the United States bears heavy
responsibility for helping to resolve the Kosovo issue peacefully. The Bush
administration should not attempt to stampede the international community
into early independence for Kosovo.
Wes Johnson, Athens

                           Srpska Informativna Mreza


                           Srpska Informativna Mreza



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