An Open Letter to the Heads of NATO Governments

We, the undersigned, wish to call for an end to the NATO military action against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.

In particular we note the following:

1/ Many other cases of repression in the outer parts of Europe and beyond have been conveniently ignored and thus the humanitarian principles which NATO espouses in this case are hypocritical.

2/ The legal basis for this action is highly problematic and NATO has violated both the UN's and its own charter.

3/ The intervention of a supposedly defensive regional organisation within a sovereign state sets a dangerous precedent in international relations. The constitutional situation of Kosovo within the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia cannot be compared to that of Bosnia and Herzegovina - indeed Kosovo is an integral part of Yugoslavia and NATO's actions seem designed to encourage possible (although illegal) secession from Yugoslavia.

4/ The action has alienated a number of states in eastern Europe, including Russia. Many of these states have been in dialogue with the West about joining or associating with NATO or the EU. This may have serious consequences for these organisations and the UN.

5/ The dominant West European and US view of the region is rooted in outdated 19th century notions of the 'nation state' and hangovers of 19th century prejudice which considers the Balkans as a 'powder-keg' containing people possessed by 'ancient hatreds'. The EU and NATO are in part responsible for the dissolution of former Yugoslavia and several EU states actively encouraged the succession of Slovenia, Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina from the Yugoslav federation. The current military action may well encourage further fragmentation in the region at the cost of political, economic and social stability.

6/ The withdrawal of the monitors from Kosovo followed by air strikes has encouraged the repression of Kosovo's Albanians.

7/ US policy towards the region has been contradictory at best - supporting democratic negotiations and then abandoning them. Military action has effectively 'pulled the rug' from under the democratic representatives of the Kosovo Albanians and instead given support to the unconstitutional and illegal Kosovo Liberation Army with the effect that NATO is now for all intents and purposes the air force of the KLA.

8/ NATO's actions have unified support behind President Milosevic of Yugoslavia and recast him in the role of 'defender of the faith'. What opposition remains has now been sidelined or repressed. The increased control of the universities and closure of independent media organisations are symptomatic of this hegemony. The use of German forces in the attacks is particularly insensitive given Yugoslavia's experiences under Nazi occupation.

9/ The flood of refugees fleeing Kosovo threatens the stability of the whole region. Many thousands have now crossed the Yugoslav borders into FYR Macedonia, Albania and, within Yugoslavia itself, Montenegro. In the short term, none of these regions will be able to deal with such large numbers (for which the West has been singularly unprepared). In the longer term, some states will experience severe difficulties. FYR Macedonia, in particular, is highly likely to witness an increase in nationalist sentiment which could well lead to an extension of the war.
 

Signed

Sheila Abdullah, Sheffield, UK
Denis Akhapkin, St. Petersburg State University, Russian Federation

John B. Allcock, Research Unit in South East European Studies, University of Bradford, UK
Panayiotes E Anastasiou, Indianapolis, USA
Michael Barratt Brown, UK
Rt. Hon. Tony Benn MP, UK
Rosemary Betterton, Sheffield Hallam University, UK
Dr. James Boardwell, Research Associate, Department of Geography, Loughborough University, UK
Stoya Bojanic-Wright, Sheffield, UK
Tony Bovaird, Aston Business School, University of Aston, Birmingham, UK
Wendy Bracewell, School of Slavonic and East European Studies, London, UK
Gill Branston, Sheffield Hallam University, UK
David Browning, UK
Laura Buffam, Moravia Quaker Meeting, NY, USA
Lynne Busby, Northampton Friends Meeting, Mass., USA

Svetlana Cicmil, Bristol Business School, University of the West of England, UK
W. Norman Cooper, Ojai Friends Worship Group, USA

Sarah Coote, Portsmouth & Southsea Quaker Meeting, UK
Tam Dalyell MP, UK
Michael Davie, CNRS "URBAMA" (Urbanisation dans le Monde Arabe), France
Lori Dawson, Saratoga Quaker Meeting, NY, USA
Dr. Sanya Dudukovic, DP Medical Engineering, Lugano, Switzerland
R F Evelyn, Portsmouth & Southsea Quaker Meeting, UK
Lucille Fandel, Northampton Friends Meeting, Mass., USA

Helen Flynn, Huddersfield, UK
Stephen Flynn, Cork Quaker Meeting, Ireland

Mary Furlong, Portsmouth & Southsea Quaker Meeting, UK
Alexander Valentinovich Fyodorov, St. Petersburg, Russian Federation
Annie Gerin, University of Leeds, UK
Konstantinos Giantsios, Santa Clara, California, USA
Dr. Jay Ginn, University of Surrey, UK
Christine A Gledhill, Sheffield Hallam University, UK
Sheila Gorst, Loughborough Quaker Meeting, UK
Joanne Grazide, Middletown, New Jersey, USA
Sheila Greaves, Loughborough Quaker Meeting, UK
Johanna Halbeisen, Southwick, Mass., USA
Colin Hamilton, Loughborough Quaker Meeting, UK
Samantha Harvey, Sheffield Hallam University, UK
Eileen Harvey, Loughborough Quaker Meeting, UK
Celia Hawkesworth, School of Slavonic and East European Studies, London, UK
Bruce Hawkins, Northampton Friends Meeting, Mass., USA
Denis Healey, House of Lords, UK
Jacob A. Hernandez, University of California, Berkeley
Priscilla Hickman, Ojai Friends Worship Group, USA
Professor Michael Holman, Department of Russian and Slavonic Studies, University of Leeds, UK
Jane Hubler, Ojai Friends Worship Group, USA
Bob Jiggins, Research Unit in South East European Studies, University of Bradford, UK
D Jutton, Portsmouth & Southsea Quaker Meeting, UK
Mussarat Khan, Socialist Labour Party, Huddersfield, UK
William Knox, Dehiwala, Sri Lanka
Dr. Raymond W K Lau, City University of Hong Kong
Dr Eric Laurier, Living Memory Project, Queen Margaret University College, Edinburgh, Scotland
Rema Laver, Research Psychologist, UK
Elizabeth Lees, Loughborough Quaker Meeting, UK
Marina Lewycka, Sheffield Hallam University, UK
Pete Lund, Bradford, UK
Alice Mahon MP, UK
Nemanja Marcetic, Editor, South Slav Journal, London, UK
James McGinnis, President, Institute for Peace & Justice, St. Louis, Missouri, USA
Cary McGraw, Ojai Friends Worship Group, USA
Mark McGuinness, School of Geography, University of Birmingham, UK
Françoise Mees, European Mountain Forum, Switzerland
Farieda Merchant, Ojai Friends Worship Group, USA
Bill Michie MP, UK
Margaret Middleton, Local Government Officer, UK
Simon Middleton, Computer Programmer, UK
Marko Milivojevic, Research Unit in South East European Studies, University of Bradford, UK
Valerie Mitchell, Sheffield Hallam University, UK
D Morton, Portsmouth & Southsea Quaker Meeting, UK
Dr David A. Norris, Department of Slavonic Studies, University of Nottingham, UK
Carmel O'Neill, Teacher, Sheffield, UK
Theo Papadopoulos , Lecturer in Social Policy, University of Bath, UK
John Pilger, London, UK
Dusan Puvacic, School of Slavonic and East European Studies, London, UK
Lutfer Rahman, Loughborough Quaker Meeting, UK
John Randall MP, UK
M Reynolds, Portsmouth & Southsea Quaker Meeting, UK
Dr Vladislava Ribnikar, Department of Slavonic Studies, University of Nottingham, UK
Judith Roads, Walthamstow Quaker Meeting, UK
Susan Robson, Huddersfield Quaker Meeting, UK
David M Robson, Huddersfield Quaker Meeting, UK
Senator Douglas Roche, Senate of Canada
Kapitolina Sergeyevna Sapunova, St. Petersburg, Russian Federation
Jennifer Scarce, Edinburgh, Scotland, UK
Dewey Val Schorre, Ojai Friends Worship Group, USA
Sir Alfred Sherman, Chairman, Lord Byron Foundation for Balkan Studies, London, UK
Akli Slimani, Sheffield, UK
Dr. Chad Staddon, School of Geography & Environmental Management, University of the West of England, Bristol, UK
Dr Alison Stenning, School of Geography and Environmental Sciences, University of Birmingham, UK
Anton Stepikhov, St. Petersburg State University, Russian Federation
Carl Stieren, Ottawa Quaker Meeting, Canada
Alec Strachan, Loughborough Quaker Meeting, UK
Dr. Erik Swyngedouw, Reader in Geography, Oxford University and Fellow of St. Peter's College, Oxford
D Taylor, Portsmouth & Southsea Quaker Meeting, UK
Manolis Terrovitis, University of California at Berkeley, USA
Lawrence Thackray, Huddersfield Quaker Meeting, UK
Ray Thomas, Social Sciences, Open University, UK
Joel Tobias, St. Martin Abbey, Washington, USA
Gregory Trakas, San Francisco, USA
Stavros Trypakis, University of Calfornia, Berkeley, USA
Nikos Vittis, composer, Athens, Greece
Carol Wade, Oaji Friends Worship Group, California, USA
J H Walters, Huddersfield Quaker Meeting, UK
John Ward, Portsmouth & Southsea Quaker Meeting, UK
Wendy Ward, Portsmouth & Southsea Quaker Meeting, UK
Margaret West, Loughborough Quaker Meeting, UK
Allan West, Loughborough Quaker Meeting, UK
John Wilkinson, Sheffield Centre Against Unemployment, UK
Roger Wilson, Leeds Quaker Meeting, UK
C D Wiseley, Huddersfield Quaker Meeting, UK
Phil Wright, University of Sheffield, UK
Rose Wright, Sheffield College,UK
Lilian Wrigley, Huddersfield Quaker Meeting, UK
Marlene Yeo, Loughborough Quaker Meeting, UK
Peter Yeo, Loughborough Quaker Meeting, UK
Mojdeh Zand, Civil Servant, UK
13 Friends present at Leicester Quaker Meeting, UK