Serbian Unity Congres letter about Kosovo

Jonathan Clarke (
Mon, 22 Jun 1998 14:29:23 -0400

June 22, 1998

The Honorable Madeleine Albright,
Secretary of State,
United States Department of State
2201 C Street, N.W.,
Washington, D.C. 20520

Dear Madam Secretary:

We note that you have decided to send Ambassadors Richard Holbrooke and
Chris Hill to Belgrade to convey a tough message to President Slobodan
Milosevic about Kosovo. While we are of course pleased that two such
experienced diplomats are involved in the search for peace, I am dismayed
that all the U.S. demands seem again to be directed at the Serbian side.
When will the Administration hold the Kosovo Albanian side responsible for
their share of the upheaval?

In the very brief reference to Kosovo (page 357) in his recently published
book To End a War, Mr. Holbrooke states "when groups of Albanians began to
mount guerrilla attacks against the Serb occupiers, Milosevic cracked down
ruthlessly." Leaving aside the tendentious distortion of the word
'occupiers' (how can the Serbs 'occupy' their own country? Does the U.S.
'occupy' New Mexico?), Mr. Holbrooke's statement shows that the first spark
came from the Kosovo Albanian side through 'guerrilla attacks.'

That being so, the demands on Milsoevic must be accompanied by equal
pressure on the Kosovo Albanians to rein in those who seek to decide the
outcome by force. If Milosevic is to reopen negotiations (as we hope he
will), the other side must feel under a equal obligation to negotiate in
good faith. This does not seem to be the case. Today's New York Times
contains an article by Chris Hedges that sets out clearly that the Kosovo
Albanians are looking to the terrorist tactics of the KLA as their main
weapon. Why does the Administration not make absolutely clear that
negotiations cannot continue under the threat of terrorism? Why is it only
the Serbs who are subject to pressure to end the violence?

In Northern Ireland, peace became possible when the 'hard men' in the IRA
and UVF were isolated from the political mainstream. At no time did we
insist on the 'pull-out' of British troops. The peace effort took sustained
effort over many years, including a very creative input from our government.
We do not see anything of the kind in Kosovo. Instead, we see one-sided
demands on the Serbs and an accommodation with terrorism in favor of the
Kosovo Albanians. We do not, for example, see any pressure whatever on
Ibrahim Rugova and his associates to renounce terrorism, precisely the
action we took with Arafat and the PLO. The result of U.S. partisanship on
Kosovo is, in effect, to encourage the Albanian side to accelerate the cycle
of violence. This in turn will drag the U.S. into a mess largely of its own

I hope that Ambassadors Holbrooke and Hill can see that a less one-sided
message is needed when they speak to Milosevic. The Serbian Unity Congress
neither defends Milosevic nor is it happy about the current round of
killings. The SUC is doing what it can to foster a political climate in
Serbia that is more conducive to negotiation that violence. Please see the
enclosed copy of Section 1814 of House Resolution 1757 passed on March 10,
1998, calling for more democracy in Serbia. But our task is made impossible
if Serbia and the Serbs are singled out to make all the concessions when
their own soldiers and policemen are being assassinated and kidnapped.

I am copying this letter to the other members of the Contact Group,
Security Council, and other interested parties in the Congress and elsewhere.


Vojin Joksimovich

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Jonathan Clarke
tel (202) 785-8430
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