Dietmar Hartwig, former head of the EU (EEC) Monitoring Mission in Kosovo and Metohija (ECMM) in his 2007 warning letter:
“MERKEL RESPONSIBLE FOR KOSOVO PRECEDENT AND DIVIDING SERBIAN PEOPLE”
It seems that the recent developments in Europe, and in particular the push of secessionism (Catalonia), rings a bell, or rather is reminiscent of certain events. The ensuing ones are shedding more light on the roles of the EU (EEC), the USA and Germany. To what extent have they been guided by the principles of the international law and democracy in the Kosovo crisis? How much did they appreciate the reports of their (expensive) missions in Kosovo and Metohija (КDОМ, КVМ, ЕCMM) depicting the realities on the ground? To what extent have they been defending the right to self-determination and human rights and to what extent abusing separatism for expansion of geopolitical interests?
As strategies are slow to evolve, recollections of the past may help better understanding of the interests and roles of the EU in the ongoing Kosovo negotiations in Brussels.
Over a longer period of time, the leading members of both NATO and the EU have been supporting the terrorist KLA in Kosovo and Metohija. Allied, they launched an armed aggression against Serbia (the FRY) in 1999 which, pursuant to the same principles of the international law (eagerly invoked these days by the EU officials), was tantamount to a crime against peace and humanity! To sum it up, the countries and integrations whose spokespersons swear to this day that they have always been upholding the same principles and rule-based policies, back in 1999 had provoked the strongest blow to the global legal order and to the United Nations since the end of World War II. The policies pursued by governments of those countries and by integrations thereof during the Yugoslav and the Kosovo crises have stimulated the spread of secessions, the expansion of Islamic extremism, Wahhabism and terrorism in Europe and the rest of the world. By disregarding and violating the principles enshrined in the Helsinki Final Act, in the UN Charter and in international conventions and treaties, they have induced a lasting instability in the Balkans as the most vulnerable part of Europe. Presently, they are exerting pressure against Serbia, the one they have been demolishing, deceiving and humiliating by recognizing the forcible capture of her state territory in the form of an engineered unilateral and illegal secession of Kosovo, and requesting that Serbia erases it all from track-record and forgets it all “for the sake of her European future”! What kind of future could possibly be built upon such foundations!?
The separatist and terrorist genie that the leading countries of NATO and the EU have unleashed from the bottle in Kosovo and Metohija back in 1998/99 for the purpose of furthering the geopolitical goals of the USA and some European powers, such as Germany and the UK, for example, keeps spreading over Europe, while the EU and NATO believe they would be able to push it back into the bottle and clear they names and revive their dented unity by scarifying once again (interests of) Serbia! The real tragedy for Europe is the reasoning that truth is only what the EU commissioners and spokespersons declare to be the truth. The dominance of such reasoning is preventing the genuine understanding of historical maelstrom that has engulfed the Old Continent!
“War on the FRY was waged to rectify an erroneous decision of General Eisenhower from the Second World War. Therefore, due to strategic reasons, the U.S. soldiers have to be stationed there.” This quote was the explanation given by American representatives at a NATO conference held in late April 2000 in Bratislava, and noted by Willy Wimmer, former State Secretary in the German ministry of Defense, in his report to Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder dated 2 May 2000.
The first point in this report is an explicit U.S. request that its allies (NATO members) recognize ‘independent state of Kosovo’ as soon as possible, whereas the tenth, last point, reads that ‘the right to self-determination takes precedence over all others”. Should one wonder any further about the present referendum on secession of Catalonia?
Wimmer’s report also notes the U.S. declared position at the Bratislava Conference was that the 1999 NATO attack on Yugoslavia without UN SC authorization is ‘a precedent to be invoked by anyone at any time, and which is going to be invoked’. This renders any allegations of a principled and rule-based policy utterly dubious, when the aggression executed in violation of the UN Charter is declared to be a precedent, and the unilateral secession of Kosovo directly resulting from such aggression is declared to be ‘a unique case’?!
In the eve of NATO 1999 aggression on Yugoslavia two major international missions had been placed in the Province of Kosove and Metohija. One was under auspices of OSCE known as Kosovo Verification Mission (KVM), headed by American diplomat William Walker and the other under the auspices of EEC (EU) known as European Community Monitoring Mission (ECMM), headed by German diplomat Dietmar Hartwig. The later conveyed the often repeated assessment of the leader of KVM and his entourage that: “There is no such thing as high costs to deploy NATO in Kosovo. Any cost is acceptable.”
After Kosovo Albanian leadership declared unilateral illegal secession in 2006, Dietmar Hartwig in 2007 sent four letters to the German Chancellor Angela Merkel urging her that Germany should not recognize such unilateral act. In his letter of October 26, 2007 to Chancellor Merkel, Hartwig, among other points, says: “Not a single report (of ЕCMM) submitted from late November 1998 up to the evacuation (of ЕCMM, KVM) just before the war broke out (1999), contains any account of Serbs having committed any major or systematic crimes against Albanians, and not a single report refers to any genocide or similar crimes… Quite the contrary, my (ECMM) reports have repeatedly communicated that, considering the increasingly more frequent KLA attacks against the Serbian executive authorities, their law enforcement kept demonstrating remarkable restraint and discipline. This was a clear and persistently reiterated goal of the Serbian administration – to abide to the Milošević-Holbrooke Agreement (of October 13,1998) to the letter so not to provide any excuse to the international community for an intervention. In the phase of taking over the Regional Office in Priština, colleagues from various other missions – KDOM, U.S., British, Russian, etc. – confirmed that there were huge ‘discrepancies in perception’ between what said missions (and, to a certain degree, embassies as well) have been reporting to their respective governments and what the latter thereafter chose to release to the media and the public of their respective countries. This discrepancy could, ultimately, only be understood as an input to general preparations for war against Kosovo/Yugoslavia. The fact is that, until the time of my departure from Kosovo, there has never happened anything of what have been relentlessly claimed by the media and, with no less intensity, the politics, too. Accordingly, until 20 March (1999) there was no reason for military intervention, which renders illegitimate any measures undertaken thereafter by the international community.”
“The collective behavior of the EU Member States prior to, and after the war broke out, certainly gives rise to a serious concern, because the truth was lacking, and the credibility of the international community was damaged. However, the matter of my concern is exclusively the role of the FR of Germany and its role in this war and its political objective to separate Kosovo from Serbia…”
“The daily political news reporting over the previous months (before October 2007) made it progressively more evident that Germany not only supports the American desire to see Kosovo independent, but also actively engages on its own in dividing the Serbs…You are to be considered responsible for this. The same goes for your foreign minister, in particular, who knows perfectly well what is going on in Kosovo, and is presently pursuing your political directives by tirelessly advocating Kosovo’s independence and, thus, its secession from Serbia. Instruct him, rather, to promote a durable solution for the Kosovo issue which is in line with the international law… It is only if all states choose to observe the applicable rights, we can have the foundations for the common life of all nations. Should Kosovo become independent, it will be perpetuated as the place of restlessness… Contribute to achieving the solution for Kosovo on the basis of the endorsed UNSC Resolution 1244 pursuant to which Kosovo remains a province of Serbia. American wishes and active efforts to see Kosovo secede from Serbia and see Kosovo and Kosovo Albanians achieve full independence, are contrary to the international law, politically deprecated and, on top of all, irresponsibly expensive…”
“Kosovo’s secession from Serbia guided by ethnic criterion would constitute a dangerous precedent and a signal for other ethnic communities in other countries, including in EU Member States, who could rightfully request the‘Kosovo solution’” – says Dietmar Hartwig in concluding his letter to Chancellor Merkel.
Enough said about the ‘humanitarian intervention’ and the concerns for the protection of rights of the Albanian population as the features of the “uniqueness of the Kosovo case”. American Military base “Bondsteel” in the vicinity of the town of Uroševac, surely by a pure chance, happens to be among the largest U.S. military bases outside the U.S.A! Perhaps their anxiety over being potentially spied on from the Serbian-Russian Humanitarian Center in Niš merely confirms that the “Bondsteel’s” ’mandate’ is strictly local, humanitarian and just for short time?!
It was the U.S.A, the EU and NATO, not Serbia, who froze the conflict following the armed aggression of 1999. They and kept it frozen for the past 18 years by not allowing complete implementation of UN SC resolution 1244. The forced Serbia to fulfill all its commitments insisting on the legally obliging character of the resolution while exempting themselves and the Albanians from any obligation stated therein. They realize that the full implementation of UNSC Resolution 1244 equaled preservation of integrity of Serbia, which is exactly what they do not want since it goes against their geopolitical concept of expanding to the East. Especially now, when the West is undergoing a transition from which it may not emerge as mighty as it was during the uni-polar world order.
At the present the West demands that Serbia ‘unfreezes’ Kosovo “independence procerss”. How? By compelling Serbia to sign a ‘legally binding agreement’ with Priština, to recognize a illegal unilateral secession, legalize illegal 1999 aggression, accept the consequences of violent ethnic cleansing of over 250.000 Serbs from Kosovo and Metohija and essentially assume responsibility for all that!
i The Author is President of the Belgrade Forum for a World of Equals, Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs of FR of Yugoslavia (1998-2000)
Autor Živadin Jovanović, Vidovdan