Letter: Kosovo's tragedy

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The Independent Culture
Sir: Considering that every nation of the ever-turbulent Balkans has significant minority populations who desire unification with their "mother" countries, Rupert Cornwell's support for "mono-ethnic states" ("Can anyone keep peace between the Serbs and Albanians in Kosovo?", 28 December) in the Balkans is ludicrous and would set a dangerous precedent the world over that terrorism can indeed change the borders and ethnic compositions of nations.

A Western military presence in Kosovo will be a de facto occupation of Yugoslavia (reminiscent of the Nazi German occupation during the Second World War) if it is not condoned by the Yugoslav government and will have to be open-ended because injustice is not easily forgotten in this part of the world.

By preventing the Yugoslav government from combating the terrorist actions of the KLA, the West will in fact be supporting the continued persecution and ethnic cleansing of Kosovo's non-Albanian population which includes not only Serbs, but also Gypsies, Serbian Muslims, and other ethic groups who number over 400,000 (according to some estimates) and are generally counted as "Albanian" but who in fact are mainly loyal to Yugoslavia.

Western-imposed solutions will not offer any long-term remedy to the Yugoslav tragedy. The devastating sanctions which cripple all Yugoslavs (Serbian and Albanian alike) must be lifted to boost the economy so that Serbian and Albanian leaders will no longer have a scapegoat to rouse their respective peoples against one another.

Only then can we hope that at least some of the irresponsible leaders who destroyed the former Yugoslavia will be replaced.

Dr MICHAEL PRAVICA

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