Serbia’s case for Kosovo
Exerpt from Counterpunch magazine ( http://www.counterpunch.org/johnstone12122007.html)
The Serbian reasons to reject Kosovo’s secession are legal and moral:
1. International law. Even after NATO bombed Serbia into allowing Kosovo to be occupied, its sovereignty over the province was officially confirmed under international law. As the one-sided war ended, the United Nations Security Council adopted Resolution 1244 which reaffirmed “the commitment of all Member States to the sovereignty and territorial integrity” of Yugoslavia, of which Serbia is the successor State. Resolution 1244, which remains the existing basis for the legal status of Kosovo, also speaks of “substantial autonomy and meaningful self-administration”–which is what Serbia has agreed to and proposed. It does not speak of independence.
What has Serbia done since the fall of Milosevic to merit worse treatment than was prescribed in 1999?
2. The impossibility of abandoning the Serbian minority to almost certain persecution and expulsion. Nor can Serbia abandon its historic monuments, the precious medieval monasteries of Decani, Gracanica, Pec and many others.
3. The deep, truly painful sense of injustice and humiliation at the manner in which the Great Powers are orchestrating the amputation of this most cherished part of Serbia’s historic territory. Serbs are blamed for something they never did, something even Milosevic never did: the attempted “genocide” or at least “expulsion” of Albanians from Kosovo. This is no more than wartime propaganda, which by now is probably believed by most Albanians, since the Great Powers endorse it. The official line, criminalizing Serbia, echoed daily by more or less ignorant, but well-coached, editorialists and commentators, heaps unbearable insult on injury. Sometimes insult is harder to take than injury.
This last reason, which may be the strongest of all, is virtually invisible to Americans and Europeans who have swallowed whole the official line of wicked Serbs persecuting innocent Albanians, in willful ignorance of the complexities of history and culture of the region.
If these perfectly legitimate Serb concerns were taken into consideration, patient diplomacy could in all probability achieve a compromise settlement that would differ from the initial negotiating positions of both sides, but which, with international guarantees and incentives, could satisfy at least part of the demands of both sides.