One Year After
|It was a year ago that NATO started air operations against Serbia in order to prevent a humanitarian disaster and force Milosevic into signing the Rambouillet peace accords. But things turned out somewhat differently...
A year ago, there was the belief that limited military action would more or less immediately force Serb president Milosevic into agreeing on the proposed peace agreement for Kosovo.
I did not belong to those that believed this, but warned instead that there would be a rapid escalation of fighting that could cause up to a million refugees and thousands of dead.
In the end, the bombing campaign went on for nearly three months, there was close to a million refugees as fighting and ethnic cleansing accelerated dramatically inside Kosovo and a solution could come only after diplomatic intervention also by the Russians.
Since then, we have seen the tables turned. All Serb forces have been withdrawn, and Kosovo is now under the authority of the UN with KFOR responsible for security. More than a million Kosovo Albanians have returned. But perhaps up to a qaurter of a million Serbs and other minorities have fled or been driven away since the UN and KFOR took over.
Kosovo is the most complex operation the UN has ever been asked to undertake. With limited means and unclear goals, the UN has to deal with a situation in which tension is running sky high.
We have no reason to be satisfied with the situation in Kosovo today. There is far more of the rule of thugs than the rule of law.
This leads to frequent violations of basic human rights, primarily of all the now heavily dimninished minorities, but also of ordinary Kosovo Albanians.
We intervened in Kosovo to safeguard human rights and a multi-ethnic society. We have a long way to go until we are in the vicinity of saying that these goals have been achieved.
And we intervened in Kosovo in order to secure a peace agreement concerning the future of the province. Also here, we have a long way to go until this might be possible to achieve.
There are no quick fixes in the Balkans, and there are distinct limits to what you can do with military force alone.
We will have to stay involved in Kosovo for a long time. And we must be prepared to be firm in our defence of human rights for each and everyone.
We must improve - if we are not to loose the peace.
|Bildt Blog Comments
In addition to this webpage, and the email letters ongoing since 1994, I have now started a blog as well.
You find it at http://bildt.blogspot.com.
At www.bildt.net you will continue to find articles, speeches and different documents.
At the blog there will be the shorter and perhaps somewhat faster comments.
And the e-letter continues to give at the least an attempt at analys.