YUGOSLAVIA TIRED OF WAITING AND THREATENS TO RESTORE LAW AND ORDER AS UNO CRITICISES NATO - 20 February, 2001

As Carla del Ponte accuses Belgrade of a lack of will to cooperate and NATO forces in Kosovo prove incapable of stopping (or have a lack of will to prevent) violence against Serbs by Albanians, the Yugoslav authorities in Belgrade react: “All measures will be taken to protect the life of the citizens, policemen and soldiers in the region”, stated the Yugoslav Interior Ministry. Carla del Ponte, Chief Prosecutor of the International Penal Court at the Hague, claims that she is “clearly worried” about “the lack of will to cooperate” from Belgrade. Belgrade has already stated that it is perfectly capable of resolving its own legal issues within its own sovereign frontiers, something which NATO and its lackeys seem not to understand too well these days. Apart from which, Serbs continue to be murdered in Presevo and Kosovo without the degree of protection expected from the NATO forces stationed there. Why should Yugoslavia cooperate with NATO when NATO does nothing in return? After an attack on Friday by Albanian separatists from the UCPMB against a bus, in Kosovo, killing 10 and wounding 43, last Sunday three Serbian policemen were killed by a mine near Bujanovac, an area controlled by the UCPMB. This is a guerrilla movement which arose when the Kosovo Liberation Army was disbanded (supposedly) and claims independence for the enclave of Presevo-Medvedja-Bujanovac in the south of Serbia. The Yugoslav Foreign Affairs Minister, Goran Svilanovic, has already sent a letter to NATO Secretary-General, Lord Robertson, asking for NATO to take concrete measures to stop the climate of chaos and unruliness sewn by the Albanians in the region. If not, he stated that “Yugoslavia will be obliged to assume its responsibility and start to resolve the problem in an appropriate manner”. Zoran Zivkovic, the Yugoslav Interior Minister, went further: “We will not allow our police and our citizens in the territory to be the target of Albanian terrorists. We have already given proof of a maximum of tolerance, patience and political will to resolve the problem without causing victims, even among the terrorists. However, their reaction proves that they are not interested in peace. All measures will be taken to protect the life of the citizens, the police and the soldiers…the measures are not for the knowledge of public opinion”. Kfor has proven itself totally incapable, or unwilling, to stop the violence. It seems that there is a will to use the old maxim “divide and rule”, while at the same time important pressure groups have taken advantage of the chaotic situation to involve themselves in drugs, weapons and human trafficking rings. The UNO has criticised the “culture of impunity” which reigns in Kosovo and complains against “a wall of silence which allows the extremist elements of society to continue to perpetrate brutal acts”. Once again, two weights and two measures are used by western powers when dealing with elements outside their control or understanding. If they had left the local players alone, the problem would have already resolved itself by now. What NATO did was to defy hundreds of years of Balkans history, and in the midst of the atrocities they committed, sowed the seeds for future centuries of unrest. TIMOTHY BANCROFT-HINCHEY, PRAVDA.RU, LISBON