Peace Talks: I Say Kosovo, You Say Tomato

  • Share
  • Read Later
Last week’s victory celebrations notwithstanding, Slobodan Milosevic did not simply surrender to NATO. That much is clear from the diplomatic arm-wrestling among the G8 industrialized nations over the text of a U.N. Security Council resolution drafted Tuesday. While the spin from Madeleine Albright and her minions was that the resolution gives Washington everything it asked for, Moscow claims it has disabused NATO of the notion, evident in last Sunday’s talks at the Macedonian border, that it could simply issue marching orders to the Yugoslav army. The deal agreed by Belgrade last week was based on the G8’s Bonn Accord, which called for a U.N.-authorized peacekeeping force "with an essential NATO component" to enter Kosovo following a Serb withdrawal. Belgrade –- firmly backed by Russia –- insisted that it would not hand the territory over to foreign troops before a U.N. Security Council resolution had authorized the whole shebang.

"A Security Council resolution allows Milosevic to say he’s not surrendering to NATO but simply complying with the wishes of the international community," says TIME Central Europe reporter Dejan Anastasijevic. "That’s important to him, and perhaps to Russia, even if in reality that still means NATO has effective military control over Kosovo." Like Belgrade, both Russia and China -– out of domestic as well as international concerns –- are reluctant to see Kosovo simply turned over to NATO. While Washington claims that the resolution’s "international security presence under U.N. auspices," which involves "substantial NATO participation" and "a unified command and control," effectively means a NATO-run peacekeeping operation, Moscow continued to demur and warned that its troops would not be answerable to the Western alliance. Although the text has been forwarded to U.N. Security Council members for discussion, the next stumbling block to its formal adoption may be NATO’s bombing campaign. China has warned that it will veto any formal discussion of the resolution at Security Council until NATO calls off its planes. Meanwhile, as the peace deal is taking its first tentative steps, NATO is keeping up a vigorous bombing schedule as a kind of insurance policy.

Discuss the issues >>