Title

Peace Plan—Or A Formula For Conflict?

Document Type

Newspaper Article

Publication Date

5-9-1999

Published In

Boston Globe

Abstract

We will all breathe a sigh of relief if the emerging peace plan for Kosovo brings an end to the bombing and the ethnic cleansing. But few political leaders publicly recognize how rocky the road to peace is likely to be. A settlement might change the dynamics and lessen the bloodshed in the region, but for the Balkan antagonists, any settlement will simply be a new framework for continued conflict by other means. Autonomy versus independence? It is unlikely that a peace agreement will settle the issue of Kosovo's independence from Serbian-dominated Yugoslavia. The last attempt at an agreement, at Rambouillet, France, in March, papered over this issue: Kosovo was slated to remain in Yugoslavia and be granted autonomy, but the residents could vote in three years on independence. The Serbs rightly saw this as a de facto partition of Yugoslavia, and balked at giving away Kosovo. Rambouillet fell apart and Slobodan Milosevic went to war against the ethnic Albanian Kosovars. It is still unlikely Milosevic would sign an agreement that openly granted Kosovo its independence -- although he will be forced to grant Kosovo far more autonomy than he would like. But this will settle little. Moderate ethnic Albanians will struggle to expand autonomy towards independence. The Kosovo Liberation Army guerrillas will want to use any accord to strengthen their military might and push for an independent Kosovo -- and a greater Albania.

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