Hope on the Balkans Kosov@ Crisis 1999
of the Assembly of the Civic Alliance of Serbia
on Political Situation in Serbia
Aware of the gravity of the situation in Serbia and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia,
Bearing in mind the positions of the Civic Alliance of Serbia as regards the urgent opening of the FR Yugoslavia towards the world and towards its neighbours, the resolution of the burning problem of Kosovo and Metohija through political negotiations, vigorous democratic and economic reforms, and recalling ideals of the rule of law, respect for human rights and freedoms, minority rights and social justice,
The Assembly of the Civic Alliance of Serbia adopts the following
1. Once again, our country and its citizens are facing new sanctions of the international community, the military surrounding of the country and a further decline of living standard. The regime of Slobodan Milosevic and his collaborators not only refuse any responsibility for new misfortunes that will befall the country, but they have turned to their old methods of brutal populism, inflaming nationalistic hysteria and suppressing all reasonable and well-intended proposals for avoiding new sanctions and the isolation of the country.
Continuing with its policy of holding to power at any cost and facing dangerous consequences of having ignored all grave problems of the country for many years, especially the consequences of neglecting the problem of Kosovo, the regime of Slobodan Milosevic is forced to hide behind the people and call a referendum on the unacceptability of foreign participation in the resolution of the crisis at Kosovo and Metohija.
The referendum is not only lacking seriousness, being carried out without any control and with open manipulation of the public, but it is also unnecessary and dangerous. It is unnecessary because the problem of Kosovo has already been internationalised due to its significance for the stability of the region and due to the consent of the government itself. It will not influence the attitude of the international community. The referendum is dangerous since it will serve the president of the FR Yugoslavia as an alibi for arbitrary and adventurous policies and for asserting powers he does not possess according to the constitution. Voting will not be the decision on participation of foreign mediators, but providing the support to the regime. This so-called "expressing of the peoples will" is a deception that should divert the attention from economic disaster and prevent its discussion. The result will be, like at previous referendums, a fatal decision with tragic consequences. Therefore, one should not take part at such a referendum.
The Assembly deems that issues of vital importance, like the position of Kosovo and Metohija, should be dealt with in democratic political procedure. What Serbia needs first is serious discussion, with the citizens being fully informed, and negotiations on the Kosovo problem, and only subsequently vote on proposed solutions. However, every suggestion that Kosovo be discussed in state institutions has been refused by the very people that are now calling the referendum. They are seeking the blank support from the people for the catastrophic policies and not a democratic choice of informed citizens. The aim is to shift to the people the responsibility for a possible war, sanctions, poverty, famine and new refugees.
2. Following the fundamental policies of the Civic Alliance, the Assembly deems that nationalisms of big and small nations as well as nationalisms of majorities and minorities are equally dangerous, and that any extremism and digging into ones own nationalistic positions can lead to disastrous consequences. Resistance to totalitarian aspirations of nationalistic movements and opposition to war comprises the fight for the democratisation of the country, rule of law, respect for rights of all its citizens and open co-operation with its neighbours.
The Assembly confirms again the position of the Civic Alliance that it is necessary to commence without delay the negotiations on Kosovo, without preconditions and with the right of the parties concerned to present their proposals freely. All media manipulation and the inflaming of ethnic hatred should be halted.
All parties must unambiguously denounce terrorism and violent methods in solving the problem of Kosovo and Metohija and clearly opt for the use of peaceful and democratic means.
In order to establish trust between the parties concerned every benevolent mediator and witness is acceptable. Foreign mediation by no means entails a change of borders or the imposing of a solution only the citizens of Serbia can take that decision. It should be noted that all international organisations have declared their support for the territorial integrity of Serbia and Yugoslavia and have been against the secession of Kosovo. The Assembly of the Civic Alliance firmly believes that the only possible outcome of negotiations is a political compromise that will exclude extreme solutions: the preservation of status quo, on the one hand, and the change of borders of the Republic of Serbia, on the other. Any delay in the resolution of the "Kosovo knot" permanently prevents the democratisation of the country.
In case the government wishes to be deprived of mediators and advisers assistance, we demand that it immediately commences negotiations and finds an acceptable solution in six months. If the agreement is not reached within this period of time, and if, contrary to its proclamations, the government nevertheless invites foreign participants, we demand the resignation of the president and the government of the FR Yugoslavia, as well as of the president and the government of the Republic of Serbia. The National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia should also take responsibility, which means that it must be dissolved and new parliamentary elections should be held. If they do not attend the negotiations, representatives of Kosovo Albanians should also bear appropriate consequences.
3. The Assembly supports democratic and reformist processes in Montenegro and believes that Serbia should follow. The Civic Alliance will support the joining of democratic and reformist forces in Montenegro. This is the only way the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia can be preserved.
The Assembly demands from the federal and Serbian government to recognize all results of the elections in Montenegro, to establish normal cooperation with legitimate state institutions of the Republic of Montenegro and to discontinue the vicious and hysterical media campaign against them. The Assembly protests against the use of tax-payers money for these dangerous purposes, the money being given to the media financed from the budget, such as Radio-Television Serbia, the Tanjug News Agency and Borba newspaper.
4. Our country is facing the choice whether to take the road of war or the road of peace; the road of progress and integration into the European community of nations or the road of poverty and self-isolation. Therefore, the Assembly calls upon all democratic forces to cooperate responsibly and sincerely in this difficult situation in the efforts to take Serbia and Yugoslavia off the road of destruction along which the regime leads them. The Assembly appeals to all those able to contribute to this goal, to put aside their partial interests and ideological differences at this moment when the survival of our state and society is in peril. The Civic Alliance is ready, as it has always been, to offer its full and unselfish contribution to the unity of all democratic forces in Serbia and Montenegro, on condition that their cooperation is agreed upon beforehand and in precise terms as regards the programme and organisation.
Belgrade, 12 April 1998
The Assembly of the Civic Alliance of Serbia
Source: Civic Alliance of Serbia
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