WHAT THE DOCUMENTS REALLY SAY ABOUT THE OCCUPATION OF KOSOVO
By David Peterson

By far the most detailed and complete document to have been produced as a potential settlement to the Kosovo conflict was the Interim Agreement for Peace and Self Government in Kosovo (Feb. 23). This was the document that the Contact Group (the United States, Britain, Germany, France, Italy, and Russia) tried to impose upon both the Serb and Kosovar Albanian parties that met at the Chateau Rambouillet outside Paris from Feb. 6 to 23 of this year. But the Rambouillet "negotiations" really weren't negotiations at all. They were so-called "proximity" talks in which the two parties to the conflict were kept in separate rooms from each other, with Contact Group mediators moving back and forth between the parties, thus denying them the chance to hold face-to-face negotiations of their own. By the time the talks ended on Feb. 23, neither party was willing to accept the Rambouillet terms: The Kosovar Albanians because Rambouillet would have granted Kosovo nothing more than a limited degree of autonomy within Serbia rather than full independence, while continuing to recognize the "sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia" (Ch, I, Art. 2); and the Serbs because Rambouillet would have turned the whole of Yugoslavia into a zone of occupation by the powers of the Contact Group, with "free and unrestricted passage and unimpeded access throughout the [Federal Republic]" (Appendix B, Art. 8), and full legal immunity from Yugoslav law (Art. 6-7). One week before the talks at Rambouillet began, NATO's Permanent Council had authorized its Secretary General Javier Solana to initiate airstrikes against Yugoslavia, if the Contact Group decided that a negotiated settlement wasn't in the cards. "This is a green light for action," a senior NATO diplomat told AP at the time. "No one country has a veto now. Solana makes the judgment." In more real terms, however, NATO's activation order to Solana meant that one, and only one, country held the key over the eventual use of force: the United States. Thus throughout Rambouillet and the subsequent meetings in Paris in mid-March, the stench of NATO's cruise missiles and cluster bombs hung in the air. When the Paris talks broke down on March 18, and the head of the Kosovo Verification Mission William Walker announced to his staff that "The situation with regard to peace talks is stagnant. There is no way to break through the impasse other than a dramatically different approach, demonstrating, if necessary by force, that both sides must sign the agreement" (March 19), Washington's and Brussels' true intention was unambiguously understood by all sides.

What follows are parts of the three agreements of early June that laid down the terms of the settlement to the Kosovo conflict. Specifically, we reproduce here those sections that deal with the question of who will have legal authority to occupy Kosovo after a cease-fire is reached: the United Nations or NATO? As you can see for yourself, at no point does a single phrase in any of actual documents confirm the Washington interpretation that the Serbs agreed to "an international security force with NATO at its core" (President Clinton, June 9). Instead what one finds when one bothers to look at the actual terms of the three documents is an official affirmation of the priority of the U.N. Charter in the governance of international affairs. Of course, one need only look at the facts on the ground as they unfold in Kosovo to know that what Washington and Brussels were able to make of these documents is another matter entirely. But that is a function of the will and the power of the United States and its infrastructure in Europe--a.k.a. NATO--to impose a certain interpretation of these documents. Regardless of what their terms actually say.

 

Ahtisaari-Chernomyrdin-Milosevic agreement. (June 2. The Serb Parliament ratified this agreement on June 3. It was later incorporated into U.N. Security Council Res. 1244 as Annex II.)

"3. Deployment in Kosovo, under U.N. auspices, of efficient international civilian and security presences which would act as can be decided according to Chapter 7 of the U.N. Charter and be capable of guaranteeing fulfillment of joint goals."

"4. International security presence, with an essential NATO participation, must be deployed under a unified control and command and authorized to secure safe environment for all the residents in Kosovo and enable the safe return of the displaced persons and refugees to their homes."

 

Kosovo Military-Technical Agreement. (Signed by representatives of NATO and Yugoslav on June 9.)

"General Obligations "1. The parties to this agreement reaffirm the document presented by President Ahtisaari to President Milosevic and approved by the Serb Parliament and the federal government on June 3, 1999, to include deployment in Kosovo under U.N. auspices of effective international civil and security presences. The parties further note that the U.N. Security Council is prepared to adopt a resolution, which has been introduced, regarding these presences."

U.N. Security Council Res. 1244 (June 10). "Determined to ensure the safety and security of international personnel and the implementation by all concerned of their responsibilities under the present resolution, and acting for these purposes under Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations……." …. "5. Decides on the deployment in Kosovo, under United Nations auspices, of international civil and security presences, with appropriate equipment and personnel as required, and welcomes the agreement of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia to such presences…."

Annex I (the G-8 or Bonn Principles of May 6).

"Deployment in Kosovo of effective international civil and security presences, endorsed and adopted by the United Nations, capable of guaranteeing the achievement of the common objectives…."

Annex II (essentially the same text as the June 2-3 agreement).

"3. Deployment in Kosovo under United Nations auspices of effective international civil and security presences, acting as may be decided under Chapter VII of the Charter, capable of guaranteeing the achievement of common objectives.

"4. The international security presence with substantial North Atlantic Treaty Organization participation must be deployed under unified command and control and authorized to establish a safe environment for all people in Kosovo and to facilitate the safe return to their homes of all displaced persons and refugees."

The Helsinki Agreement (June 18--no text available yet).