THE primary justification
for our military strikes against Yugoslavia is its refusal to sign the
Kosovo peace agreement put forward by the United States. and its allies
at Rambouillet, France. The president told us that the Albanians chosepeace
by signing the agreement even though "they did not get everything
they wanted." The Serbs, he said, refused to negotiate, even though
the agreement left Kosovo as part of Yugoslavia. However, as in several
other instances over the past months, the president is telling us only
part of the story. Most Americans assume that the deal we put together
at Rambouillet was evenhanded, offering advantage to neither side, but
including the core concerns of both Albanians and Serbs alike. But few
of us have taken the time to look at the actual agreement the president
is condemning the Serbs for not signing. I urge you to do so.
The agreement is available
in its entirety on the Internet (www.transnational.org),
or in a U.S. State Department summary (www.usia.gov).
a look at it and you will see that the "peace plan" actually
gives the Albanians precisely what they want: de facto independence now,
with guaranteed de jure independence in three years. For the Serbs, signing
the Rambouillet agreement would actually be signing away all Serbian sovereignty
over Kosovo immediately.
Under the agreement, "Kosovo
will have a president, prime minister and government, an assembly, its
own Supreme Court, constitutional court and other courts and prosecutors."
"Kosovo will have the
authority to make laws not subject to revision by Serbia or the Federal
Republic of Yugoslavia, including levying taxes, instituting programs of
economic, scientific, technological, regional and social development, conducting
foreign relations within its area of responsibility in the same manner
as a Republic."
army forces will withdraw completely from Kosovo, except for a limited
border guard force (active only within a 5 kilometers border zone)."
security forces "police" will withdraw completely from Kosovo
except for a limited number of border police (active only within a 5 kilometers
border zone)." The parties invite NATO to deploy a military force
(KFOR), which will be authorized to use necessary force to ensure compliance
with the accords."
international community will play a role in ensuring that these provisions
are carried out through a Civilian Implementation Mission [CIM] "appointed
Chief of the CIM has the authority to issue binding directives to the Parties
on all important matters he sees fit, including appointing and removing
officials and curtailing institutions."
"Three years after the
implementation of the Accords, an international meeting will be convened
to determine a mechanism for a final settlement for Kosovo on the basis
of the will of the people."
the Kosovo Albanians, the Rambouillet agreement gives them total control
over the province immediately. The only sacrifice required of them
is to wait three years before the arrangements are made legally permanent.
For the Serbs, the Rambouillet agreement means that immediately upon signing
they lose all sovereignty over Kosovo. Total political control would be
in the hands of the Albanians and the NATO Civilian Implementation Mission.
Yugoslav laws would no longer apply in Kosovo. Neither would Yugoslavia
be able to exercise police powers in Kosovo. After three years, these arrangements
would be made permanent by the "will of the people" - not the
people of the whole country of Yugoslavia of which Kosovo is supposedly
a part, but only by the will of the people of Kosovo, who are mainly Albanians.
Yugoslavian delegation at Rambouillet agreed to give the Albanians autonomy
in Kosovo - control over their day-to-day lives including religious, education
and health care systems, and local government operations. But they
tried to negotiate changes to preserve the right of the Yugoslav federal
government to determine economic and foreign policy, for Yugoslav national
law to continue to apply in Kosovo, and for any international presence
in Kosovo to be limited to observation and advice, not control.
The Serbian negotiating efforts
were summarily dismissed and the Serbs were told they had only two choices:
sign the agreement as written or face NATO bombing.
would you have done if you were on the Serb delegation?