Letter: Support for Nato

Sir: Nato's aim has been to impose a settlement on the region by bombing the Serbs into submission. As the conflict intensifies, more and more Kosovan Albanians who give refuge and support to the KLA - now supported by Nato - either leave or are forced by the Serbs to leave.

Unfortunately, throughout the former Yugoslavia ethnic cleansing has been all too prevalent. When 500,000 Serbs were ethnically cleansed by the Croats a few years ago, Nato voiced no concern.

However well-intentioned Nato's motives in engaging Yugoslavia, its actions have resulted in Nato's transformation from a defensive into an aggressive alliance against the statutes of its own charter.

This has led to a breakdown of military cooperation on world security between Nato on the one hand and Russia and China on the other. It has also formed a new justification for non-Nato countries to acquire nuclear weapons as the only means of defence against an aggressive Nato.

Nato, whose role was so purposeful in successfully defending Western Europe from the Soviet Union during the Cold War, is now lost in its new aggressive role. For Nato, negotiation has become a dirty word and only complete capitulation by Milosevic is acceptable. In order to achieve that, civilian collateral damage is seen as OK, provided it is not intentional.

Count ANDREI TOLSTOY

London WC1

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