Hope on the Balkans Kosov@ Crisis 1999
Civic Alliance of Serbia:
Proposal to begin negotiations on the Kosovo crisis
The crisis in Kosovo and Metohija is one of the most difficult, if not the crucial problem, Serbia is confronted with at this point in time. The Civic Alliance of Serbia is of the view that it is essential to begin, as soon as possible, a process of resolution of this issue, since it is one of the requirements to overcome the overall crisis in our country and for its re-integration in the world. Therefore, the CAS is offering to the public its proposal to commence serious dialog and negotiations on Kosovo.
For the last ten years authorities of Serbia and Yugoslavia have ignored the problem of Kosovo and used repression to deal with the issue, a method that as such cannot bring any results whatsoever. At the same time, the regime is deceiving Serbian public by suppressing the facts about the extent and seriousness of the crisis. Kosovo is being used only for immediate political and propaganda purposes of the regime. In the process, however, the issue of Kosovo has developed into an important international problem which is being discussed by many international institutions and which became a pre-condition for re-integration of Serbia and Yugoslavia into international community. However, without the initiative of state authorities, it is impossible to break present stalemate.
On the other hand, the Kosovo Albanians, as citizens of Serbia, completely ceased to participate in the economic, political, educational and cultural activities in the country. They are developing a parallel life, parallel economy, educational institutions, including the parallel political system. While the crisis in Kosovo is escalating, Albanians are more and more moving away from Serbia and Yugoslavia as their country. They are looking for the new identity, either through integration with Albania as their "Piedmont", or through the establishment of a new independent state. Terrorism started to emerge recently, necessitating immediate steps to resolve the crisis.
If we look into the recent history of Kosovo, we will find that political elite of both nations were trying to establish their own supremacy positions were only changing at different points in time, at one period Albanians were on top, in another Serbs.
Prerequisites for Negotiations
The Civic Alliance of Serbia is convinced that negotiations on Kosovo must begin without further delay. A solution should be based on realistic premis and should satisfy legitimate aspirations of all nations there to live in freedom and equality. Obviously there are values shared by both Albanians and Serbs: peace and stability in the region; rule of law and respect of fundamental human and civil rights; economic cooperation with neighbors and in the Balkans; integration into regional and other international organizations (Council of Europe, OSCE, European Union, United Nations, IMF, etc.). However, to begin dialog and negotiations it is necessary, as an expression of good will and of a desire to establish mutual confidence, to meet the following prerequisites:
1. To respect equal rights of all participants in a dialog to present freely, without preconditions and prejudices, their proposals for the solution of the Kosovo crisis;
2. To condemn in strongest terms all acts of terrorism and all attempts to resolve the crisis through violence;
3. To abolish all repressive measures and all forms of discrimination, in particular discriminatory laws. Human rights and freedoms guaranteed by the Constitutions of Serbia and Yugoslavia and by international covenants ratified by Yugoslavia must be fully respected in practice;
4. To reopen trials against Albanian political activists in case of doubt that their fundamental rights were violated, including the prohibition of torture and the right to fair trial;
5. To agree on mediator who would facilitate dialog. OSCE could, for example, suggest suitable personality.
6. To create appropriate atmosphere in public and raise the awareness, in particular through RTS, of the urgency of the matter. Any attempt to use Kosovo for renewed nationalistic and ideological public campaign would certainly block all rational initiatives for the solution of this paramount national problem.
Participants in negotiations on both sides must have full legitimacy. All parties concerned and political groups should be represented. Negotiations should be transparent.
Two sets of issues should be discussed. On the one hand, the status of Kosovo, on the other specific problems education, health care, public information and human rights.
Clearly, the outcome cannot be neither of the extremes maintenance of the status quo on one side and independent Kosovo on the other. All other options should be carefully examined, without prejudices. The solution must be based on compromise. The Civic Alliance of Serbia, therefore, does not want to offer concrete solutions. However, the CAS supports all proposals envisaging substantial autonomy for Kosovo and full respect of human rights for all, as well as appropriate mechanisms for the protection of rights and interests of Serbian and other non-Albanian population.
Participants in negotiations themselves would guarantee implementation of an agreement. They would also agree on mechanisms for its implementation and for genuine confirmation of the will of the citizens of FR Yugoslavia.
The Civic Alliance of Serbia is suggesting that, at the very beginning of negotiations, a commission be established to monitor human rights situation in Kosovo. This commission should be composed of most prominent lawyers and other public personalities.
Agreement reached in a dialog between legitimate representatives of Serbs and Albanians should be for a period of at least ten years. Both sides would make commitment not to reopen the issue of the status of Kosovo during that time, if such an agreement is honored. The objective is to prevent that extremists, individuals and groups, harm the agreement. That period should be utilized to re-integrate Yugoslavia into regional and other international organizations and to embark on a path to democratization and reform of our political and economic system.
Belgrade, January 1998.
Source: Civic Alliance of Serbia
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