Letter: Priorities in Kosovo

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Sir: We acknowledge that the situation in Kosovo was already bad at the point at which Nato started bombing Serbia, and nothing can excuse the "ethnic cleansing" which is taking place. However, bombing and violence were always likely to make matters much worse and have indeed done so.

As Nato moves into further phases of its bombing strategy, the plight of the Kosovan Albanians deteriorates further and faster, the region becomes even more unstable and the Serbians unite behind Milosevic. Surely this is not the intention.

In the post-Cold War world we need to find new ways of solving conflict within and among nations and we must remember that history and psychology need to be taken into account. Sometimes doing the right thing may involve loss of face, but history will judge us kindly for choosing this option.

A ceasefire must be called before the region becomes further destabilised, with more lives lost, more refugees, and the conflict spread. There is still scope for diplomatic activity to negotiate a settlement under the auspices of the United Nations in order to protect the people of Kosovo.

An open-ended commitment to a major presence of non-military international observers and a substantial economic development programme are urgently needed to help the resettlement of refugees. The priority now is not to extend the bombing but to concentrate logistical efforts on delivering rapid emergency aid.


and 12 others

Winston, Strathclyde