Monitor: Richard Holbrooke's peace agreement for Kosovo

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The Independent Culture
THE BELGRADE compromise, the outcome of Holbrooke's second Balkan campaign, is incomplete, just as the Dayton accord was. Because it was not negotiated with the Kosovans: it is being imposed on them on the assumption that what's good for Milosevic is good for them too. It's a very dangerous bet.What will happen if Milosevic does not respect the deal? What will Nato do, with 2,000 potential hostages down there? With the Belgrade agreement, everyone has gained time; it is right to be glad that peace had a chance. But the biggest mistake the West can make now would be to let up the pressure on Milosevic, to forget Kosovo like we forgot Dayton and wait for the next explosion. With our hands tied.

La Repubblica, Italy

THE AGREEMENT seems to fall short of Nato's original goals. The West has taken on Slobodan Milosevic as its partner, and once again will be relying on him to keep his word, a risky proposition. Just yesterday, Milosevic's goons shut down two independent daily newspapers, citing the threat of Nato bombing as an excuse. There has been little protest from Washington. So far, in other words, he has enjoyed the benefits of being a victim of Western threats while paying none of the costs.

The Washington Post, US

MILOSEVIC MUST emerge from these negotiations weakened. He must appear to the Serbs as the advocate of a thoroughly risky political policy, not as "the peacemaker" he was dubbed after the war in Bosnia. The discredit he will experience at home a result of this will be the most efficacious way of ensuring that we avoid another offensive.

Le Monde, France

PEACE AND reconciliation are not coming to Kosovo, but at least the displacement and killing of civilians may abate. The deal can save lives if it is vigorously enforced by the United States and its allies. Milosevic is incorrigible, and we have gained only a respite from his atrocities. Even as he retreats in Kosovo, his men have threatened the lives of journalists, scholars and politicians in Serbia who question his autocratic rule. But the killing and intimidation may stop in Kosovo - at least for now.

The New York Times, US

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