|HRH CROWN PRINCE ALEXANDER’s
on the Kosovo Talks
Reports on the Rambouillet talks on Kosovo indicate clearly that the tragedy of Serbia and the Serbian people is continuing and deepening. It is not only the fate Kosovo and Metohija that is in balance but perhaps even the very existence of the Serbian state. Rambouillet is not the cause of Serbia’s troubles but it is a result and a consequence of 50 years of Yugoslav communist rule and its anti-Serb policy with the present regime in Belgrade as its direct inheritor. This inheritance, which cost us the bloody break-up of Yugoslavia and the loss of centuries-old ancestral homes and Serbian lands, has now opened up a definitive process of destruction of what remains of Serbia. The problem of Serbian-Albanian relations in Kosovo is older than the current regime but it is this regime that is responsible for not doing anything at all to improve these relations in the period after the fall of Communism in Eastern Europe, and for allowing and even facilitating an internationalisation of the Kosovo question.
The balance-sheet of the entire policy pursued by the regime’s most responsible and most authoritative figure shows unequivocally that its sole motivation and interest is his desire to cling to power - power over anything, so long as power is absolute. From 1987 till today Kosovo and its central place in the Serb consciousness have been used to gain and maintain control over all levers of power. The Kosovo Serbs have been manipulated in order to seize power and establish total domination over Serbia’s political scene. The Serbs in Croatia and Bosnia were used for consolidating his position and reinforcing his personal rule. The manner is which these Serbs have been sacrificed is the best proof that the present regime does not recognise either God’s or man’s laws.
Last year when it became obvious that the internationalisation of the Kosovo question was imminent, the regime arranged a referendum against foreign interference. It did this not out of concern for Kosovo`s fate but solely because of the propaganda value of such a move. Despite the referendum result and soon afterwards, the regime not only acquiesced in but even facilitated a grave violation of sovereignty of the state in the shape of the Milosevic – Holbrooke agreement which marked the first step in Kosovo’s separation from Serbia. This was followed by the acceptance of mediation by the US ambassador Christopher Hill with the process culminating in convening an international conference in Rambouillet
The conference was held under extremely humiliating conditions for the Serbian people, in the shadow of threats of air strikes by NATO forces. The only possible victims of air strikes would be people, not the regime. At the conference, Serbia was represented by an extremely unrepresentative delegation with no representatives either of the Serbian Church or Kosovo Serbs. The conference failed to fulfil the expectations of its organisers not thanks to the skill or wisdom of Serbia’s state delegation, but because of disagreements among Albanian delegates and their extremism.
Rambouillet failed for a number of reasons, the most important perhaps being the fact that the organisers had underestimated the gravity and complexity of the problem. They intended to solve within only two weeks a problem whose roots are several centuries old! They wanted to solve it not through genuine negotiations but by force, a diktat establishing a NATO protectorate over Kosovo which would inevitably lead to the creation of a state within a state and, eventually, to a total loss of Serbia’s sovereignty over Kosovo.
What was especially regrettable were the threats to Serbia and the shameful vilification campaign against the Serbs all over the world. The West should know that the Serbian people cannot and should not be identified with the Belgrade regime. The Serbs, who were loyal allies of the democratic world in two world wars and paid for that with enormous human losses and the destruction of their kingdom, are today being threatened by their own allies in cahoots with their common enemies from the two wars! That is morally and politically unacceptable.
The Serbian people, in turn, must wake up and understand that this regime leads them to total ruin and perpetual isolation. The price they have already paid for the regime’s disastrous policy is terrifying. The Krajinas have remained without Serbs. In Bosnia-Hercegovina the process of a quiet elimination of the Republika Srpska is in progress. Relations between Serbia and Montenegro have never been worse with the regime deliberately fostering disunity and even hostility. A mafia society and a “new class have been created, a society in which honest people find it virtually impossible to work and live. Hundreds of thousands of young and qualified people are leaving the country seeking a better life and security elsewhere, refusing to allow be manipulating and using by the regime.
Being in total control of the media and through backroom political deals, the regime has facilitated the emergence of a pseudo-opposition using its leading figures for its own purposes. Concerned only about its own existence, it is systematically destroying the economy and finances, the civil service and judiciary, the laws and science, the armed forces and middle classes, the working class and the intelligentsia, the countryside and towns, young people and the old. The regime thrives on isolation and, instead of seeking friends abroad, encourages anti-foreign sentiment. The future of Kosovo and peace in the region depends on our ability to unite and get rid of that monstrous regime.
It is difficult to say today what are the prospects for a solution of the Kosovo problem. The Albanian terrorists will find it difficult to renounce terror, which has proved so successful up to now in realising their dream of a Greater Albania. The regime in Belgrade should understand that the problem cannot be solved by the use of excessive force. Violence against civilians, on both sides, can never be justified. A solution can be found only through genuine negotiations between democratic Serbs and democratic Albanians. In Kosovo there is enough land and bread for both the Serbs and the Albanians, and it is better for them to live as good neighbours than as enemies. We cannot escape our geography and it is our duty to find just solutions and to ensure decent life and human rights for all citizens of Serbia and Yugoslavia.
Kosovo is only part of the problem in the Balkans. The separation of Kosovo from Serbia will not create a peace zone in the Balkans but will become the source of new and lasting national and ethnic conflicts. These conflicts will generate new myths, and the new myths will in turn produce fresh hatreds and enmities. If there is a new conflagration all Balkan people will suffer, but especially the Serbs. There have been enough wars in our region, they have brought misfortune to the peoples of the entire Balkans while making the rulers stronger. Only peace, co-operation and wise solutions of grave problems will ensure a better future for everyone.
We are firmly convinced that the Serbs do not want to base their happiness on the unhappiness of other peoples. That would be contrary to Christian ethics, and history teaches us that policies, which infringe ethical principles never, bear good fruit. A democratic Serbia will be the guarantee and the precondition of an unfettered development and progress not only of Serbs but also of all citizens irrespective of ethnic origin, religion or party political affiliation.
The Serbian people should bear all these points in mind as the resumption
of the talks on Kosovo and Metohija approaches. At the talks, absolute
priority must be given to the defence of the Serbian national interest
and state sovereignty, as well as to the protection of the Serbian population
and the preservation of Serbian holy shrines in the region. They are part
of not only Serbia’s but of the world’s Christian culture and heritage.
London, 9th March 1999