Tuesday, March 23, 2004

Question of the Day

Beta News Agency in Belgrade reports that Czech diplomat Jiri Dienstbier is saying that the West must dispel its illusions about the Albanians. Writing in the daily Lidove Novini, he said that NATO fell into a trap by bombing Yugoslavia, especially by allowing the Kosovo Liberation Army to get itself into place and form its organizations before the international forces were set up.

"Western representatives have a hard time understanding that the elections they've organized, the institutions they've formed, the laws that they've passed or allowed to be adopted by provisional officals do not ensure democracy if real power is left in the hands of terrorists," writes the former UN envoy for human rights in former Yugoslavia.

As early as the summer of 1999, he said, when he asked the KFOR commander why Serbs were being evacuated to Serbia instead of being provided with security guarantees in Kosovo, the commander replied, "We have to be realists."

"Representatives of Kosovo Albanians are rejecting everything that might bring independence into question," Dienstbier said. "The extremists want to see the unification of all Albanians. It was only a question of time when they would provoke a conflict to obstruct reconciliation efforts and the return of one quarter of a million refugees, as well as expelling the remaining Serbs from Kosovo," emphasized Dienstbier.

He believes that the only hope for peace is cantonization of Kosovo.

"The illusions of the Albanians must be dispelled that their rights will be realized by changing European borders. It is unlikely that the Security Council would permit this without an agreement between Belgrade and Pristina," he said.

The prize-winning question: "If NATO and UN can't defeat terrorism in an area the size of one-eighth of the Czech Republic, how do they expect to confront global terrorism?"

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