The Peace Plan: What It Says and What It Means

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1.Immediate and verifiable end of violence and repression in Kosovo.

How soon is immediate? Milosevic has seven days to leave, which could mean one more week's ethnic cleansing. What is meant by verifiable? Will international forces be permitted free movement?

2.Verifiable withdrawal from Kosovo of all military, police and paramilitary forces according to a rapid timetable.

Does this mean all of Milosevic's official and unofficial killers will have to leave, or does it leave room for unofficial repression to continue?

Serbian irregulars could remain within Kosovo, waging guerilla warfare.

3.Deployment in Kosovo under UN 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.

How large will this force be, and will it have the capacity to take on Serbian armed forces, if Milosevic changes his mind and sends them back in?

In Bosnia, UN peacekeeping forces had to watch while civilians were slaughtered because they had neither the manpower nor mandate to intervene.

4. The international security presence with substantial Nato participation must be deployed under unified command and control and authorised to establish a safe environment for all people in Kosovo and to facilitate the safe return to their homes of all displaced persons

What constitutes a safe environment? The refugees, many of whom have watched friends and family beaten, raped or murdered, will not return unless they are sure Milosevic can never harm them again. A crucial factor will be the size of the Nato participation in the international force. And if Nato is in charge, will Russian troops be prepared to take orders from U.S. generals?

5.Establishment of an interim administration under which the people of Kosovo can enjoy substantial autonomy within the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.

Interim administration to provide transitional administration while establishing development of provisional democratic self-governing institutions.

'Substantial autonomy' is unlikely to be enough. It implies that Kosovo will remain part of Yugoslavia, under Milosevic's authority. Moreover, if the example of Bosnia is anything to go by, the transitional arrangements will soon become permanent, as free elections prove impossible to organise.

6.After withdrawal, agreed number of Yugoslav and Serbian personnel will be permitted to return to perform the following: liaison with international civil mission and security presence; marking, clearing minefields; maintaining a presence at Serb patrimonial sites; maintaining presence at key border crossings. …