Letter: Inertia on Kosovo

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The Independent Culture
Sir: Nato's belated decision to call for action against Slobodan Milosevic ("UN summit to decide on Kosovo air strikes", 1 October) does little to negate the inertia that has characterised its stance on Kosovo. The serial human rights abuses of the past year have been greeted with muted protestations, but still the suffering of innocence endures.

Nato's position is underpinned by one overwhelming factor - a wish to placate Russia and maintain the regional status quo. Any hawkish manoeuvres would almost certainly have led to a Russian withdrawal from the "partnership for peace", driving it further away from rapprochement with the West.

Given the delicate regional balance of Eastern Europe (not to mention Central Asia and the Middle East), such a breakdown could have catastrophic repercussions for the post-Cold War world.

PAUL BURTON

Thornton Heath, Surrey

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