[This analysis by the Transnational Foundation of the entire agreement was published a month ago, but it bears on this discussion]
Read the Military Kosovo Agreement !
TFF PressInfo 58
March 18, 1999
"The military provisions in the Kosovo Agreement on the table in Paris
has nothing to do with peacekeeping. Neither the civilian nor the
military provisions will help bring about peace among Serbs and
Albanians. It will further antagonize the 10 million citizens of
Yugoslavia and the international community. There is simply nothing in
it for the Yugoslavs and that's why I am deeply afraid that we are
likely to see something very bad happen very soon. This whole affair
has nothing to do with violence prevention, the appropriate term would
Leading media, commentators, scholars and diplomats join in condemning
the Yugoslav side in the Paris talks on Kosovo and thus legitimate
subsequent NATO bombing and de facto NATO control over the territory.
Who can be so ungrateful, stubborn or scoundrelly to refuse an offer
of peace? However, no one asks: what does the Kosovo Agreement in
Paris, the "peace" plan, actually contain?
I don't think this is necessarily deliberate," says Dr. Jan Oberg,
head of TFF's conflict-mitigation team in ex-Yugoslavia since 1991.
"Rather, it proves that professional knowledge about
conflict-resolution, negotiation, mediation and peace politics in
general is virtually non-existing in the international discourse and
When someone presents an economic plan, economists can discuss its
pros and cons. When a document is presented as a "peace" plan,
everyone takes it for granted as such without even asking: What's in
it? What are the weak and the strong aspects? Why seems one side to
say yes and the other no? Will its implementation help the parties to
live in peace? What kind of peace, if any?
I have studied the early versions of the Agreement and the version of
February 23. The document has undergone remarkable changes over time.
My hypothesis is simple: this document has been adapted to be
acceptable to the Albanian delegates to such an extent that the
Yugoslav side - ready to accept the political parts at an earlier
stage - now find the changed document unacceptable both in terms of
political and military aspects. Why this change? Because worst case
for the international community would be Yugoslavia saying yes and the
Albanians saying no.
Did your media tell you that the document does not even mention KLA,
the Kosovo (Albanian) Liberation Army? It it called "Other Forces"
throughout the Agreement. You may wonder how parties can be held
accountable if they are not mentioned by name or actor in the
document. Worse, could it be that there is a KLA, or a fraction of it,
that is not represented at Paris and will NOT feel bound by this
Jan Oberg is puzzled: "As you will see below, the text gives plenty of
arguments for FRY President Milosevic to say no thanks, and for
Yugoslavia to mobilize and feel threatened, humiliated, isolated and
misunderstood. It will weld together everybody in Yugoslavia behind
President Milosevic policies - which is the opposite of what the
international community says it wants. However, could it be that
Milosevic anyhow says yes, last minute? In spite of his mastery of
brinkmanship, I don't find that likely anymore. If however he does, he
will sell that move to the people by saying that that was needed to
save the country from being bombed and then keep most of the
provisions of the Agreement secret or reinterpret them via loyal media
for the vast majority of citizens in Yugoslavia.
You see, no state wants to have foreign masters and sign a blind
date," says TFF's director. "If the international wanted Yugoslavia to
say yes, why is the maximum NATO presence in the sovereign state of
Yugoslavia not mentioned? Why is the 25.000 to 30.000 troops
circulating in the media? What is this figure based on? It's way more
than is necessary to secure the implementation of this Agreement IF
signed by both sides in good faith. In Eastern Slavonia, the United
Nations robust military forces of 5.000 disarmed some 17.000 Serb
regular troops as well as Serb and Croatian paramilitaries.
So, either 30.000 NATO troops + 10.000 in Macedonia and some 300
fighter planes around the country is a) a show of force before NATO's
50th Anniversary, b) a fighting force to secure occupation of Kosovo
if Yugoslavia says no, or c) a force that is aimed, sooner or later,
to move into other trouble spots such as the Voivodina province and
Sandzak, leading to the de facto dissolution of present Yugoslavia."
Here follows some examples of what I see as highly problematic
provisions in the February 23 Agreement text:
o In the document NATO is welcomed by the Parties to help ensure
compliance by establishing a force - KFOR - which may be composed of
ground, air, and maritime units from NATO and non-NATO countries;
neither the maximum number nor the countries is specified; KFOR is
headed by a Commander, COMKFOR, and is subject to the direction and
political control of the North Atlantic Council.
o The UN plays no role except that the Security Council is "invited"
to pass a resolution endorsing the Agreement - which can be seen as a
gross humiliation of the classical peacekeeper with much longer
experience and a highly successful mission in neighbouring Macedonia.
o NATO shall control the use of airspace over Kosovo.
o All aircraft, radars, surface-to-air missiles and anti-aircraft
artillery in Kosovo shall be relocated immediately to Serbia proper;
as KLA does not possess aircraft this provision is aimed to prevent
Yugoslavia from threatening NATO forces.
o A 5 kilometer Border Zone shall be set up around Kosovo including
with the rest of FRY and the border marked on the ground; apart from
border guards there shall be no soldiers on the border.
o Within 180 days "offensive" forces of the Federal Republic of
Yugoslavia, FRY, shall be completely withdrawn to other locations in
Serbia; the Border Guard is limited to 1500 members and up to 1000 C2
and logistics forces in predetermined cantonment sites. COMKFOR can
require further reductions. This means that Yugoslavia can no longer
decide for itself how it will defend the Kosovo part of the border
around its territory. A maximum of 2500 Ministry of Interior forces
shall be disarmed to have only civil police functions.
o Conspicuously, the Agreement holds no provisions as to prevent or
reduce military activity in neighbouring countries such as Macedonia
or Albania from where the KLA has operated, trained and received its
o Throughout the document there is no mention of KLA, the Kosovo
(Albanian) Liberation Army. It comes under the designation "Other
Forces." You may wonder how parties can be held accountable if they
are not mentioned by name or actor in the document. Worse, could it be
that there is a KLA, or a fraction of it, that is not represented at
Paris and will NOT feel bound by this document?
o While there is a very substantial demilitarization of the Yugoslav
forces, the KLA, or 'Other Forces,' must at the entry into force of
the Agreement "PUBLICLY COMMIT THEMSELVES to demilitarize
ON TERMS TO BE DETERMINED by COMKFOR, renounce violence, guarantee
security of international personnel, and respect the international
borders of FRY." (Our emphasis). In other words, the real commitment
of the Albanian side comes AFTER the signature in Paris and what they
shall demilitarize and how is a matter between them and the COMKFOR,
o It is true that, by signing, they commit themselves to refrain from
hostile action and to complete demilitarization; 30 days after the
agreement has entered into force all prohibited weapons shall be
stored and they shall stop wearing uniforms.But the difference between
demilitarization procedures for the two sides leaves the FRY without
what it may reasonably require in terms of guarantees - whereas the
Albanian side can be completely safe with the provisions for FRY
o It is emphasized twice: "COMKFOR WILL (our emphasis, in the future,
that is) establish procedures for demilitarization and monitoring of
Other Forces in Kosovo and for the further regulation of their
activities..." Why are the exact procedures not stated in the
o While FRY forces and weapons shall be taken out of Kosovo, there is
no mention that KLA/Other Forces weapons shall be taken out of the
region to where at least some if it may have come from. KLA weapons
will be brought to and registered in storage sites on the territory.
Only Other Forces personnel 'not of local origin' shall be withdrawn.
o It is characteristic of the KLA that it is a military force and a
structure of armed civilians; many Serb civilians have weapons, too.
This problem is not addressed in the document which only mentions
formal military Forces. Thus, localized violence and terrorist actions
- so typical for the region - is outside the scope of the Agreement.
Article VIII of Chapter 7 deals with the Operations and Authority of
the KFOR - mind you operating under strict respect for FRY sovereignty
and territorial integrity:
o KFOR will "operate without hindrance" and can take "all necessary
steps" to ensure compliance by the Parties. Nothing is said about what
defines NECESSARY steps and force. That is decided solely by NATO and
o FRY, again, has no say over this force on its territory but must
accept "that further directives from the North Atlantic Council may
establish additional duties and responsibilities for the KFOR in
implementing the Agreement." In other words, if the "international
community" agrees to expand the authority and military power of NATO,
no one can prevent it from doing so.
o "COMKFOR shall have the authority, without interference or
permission of any Party, to do ALL (our emphasis) he judges necessary
and proper, including the use of military force, to protect KFOR..."
Likewise, he can order or bring about the cessation of any activity he
judges to constitute a threat or potential threat to KFOR or any
o NATO's commander furthermore has the sole authority to control the
airspace over Kosovo and the airspace within 25 kilometers outward
from the boundary of Kosovo with others parts of FRY.
o A Joint Military Commission is set up with Parties "to address any
military complaints, questions, or problems that require resolution by
the COMKFOR" - that is, not by common decision-making.
o To be sure, when disputes about the interpretation of the Agreement
arise, "the KFOR Commander is the final authority in theater" - as is
the Chief of Implementation Mission on the civilian side.
o When the document refers to "NATO" it can mean all kinds of forces
"whether or not they are from a NATO member country and whether or not
they are under NATO or national command and control." For the host
country this is not exactly ideal; it's rather a blind date not
knowing who you host or how many "guests" will arrive.
o As to the behaviour or performance of the international military
forces: according to the Agreement they are not liable for any damages
to public or private property that they may cause in the course of
duties; NATO shall be immune from ALL legal process and "under all
circumstances and at all times, shall be immune from the Parties
jurisdiction." They are ensured free and unrestricted passage and
unimpeded access throughout the FRY including airspace and territorial
o In contrast to the UN elsewhere, NATO shall not pay anything to the
host country. It is exempt from duties and taxes and shall pay no
charges for navigation, landing etc. The Parties shall provide, free
of costs, such public facilities as NATO shall require to prepare for
and execute the operation.
o Finally, who is supposed to sign this Agreement? A representative
for the FRY, for Serbia and "for Kosovo." Given the composition around
the table this means that only civilian and military representatives
of the Albanians in Kosovo - and no other communities in that province
- will sign this future about their future.
Go to http://www.transnational.org, "Highlight" or "Links" to find the
Kosovo Interim Agreement!
© TFF 1999
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