Letter: Priorities in Kosovo

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The Independent Culture
Sir: In supporting Nato action, Branka Magas writes (letter, 1 April): "Nato's determination to humble - and hopefully remove - the Butcher of the Balkans is a precondition for the region's return to peace." She is right about the need to remove Milosevic and she may be right about Nato's determination to humble him but her hope that Nato may remove him is a hope without reason.

From 1993 onwards, I and many others (including Branka Magas) worked to support an undivided multi-ethnic Bosnia. Through experience in that war I drew the conclusion that the Western governments need Milosevic. They need a "strongman" of the Balkans. The rights of Bosnians, Kosovar or Serbs are of little or no consideration. They need a Milosevic and if, from time to time, they cut him down to size, they also quickly shore him up again.

For 10 years Kosovo Albanians have suffered a growing hell. Any democrat who knows their situation will support their right to self-determination. But Blair, Cook and Clinton have resolutely refused to support this right and their present military actions only make sense if judged, not from the claimed humanitarian purpose, but from their strategic goal - to stop the emergence of an independent Kosovo.

The people of Europe are going to have to find other means than Nato to stop ethnic cleansing. Thousands of young Albanians are joining the KLA but by themselves they will be slaughtered. What needs to be discussed is by what means we will all come to their assistance. Only this kind of international movement of solidarity will remove Milosevic and all those who think like him.