World reaction following the acceptance by the Yugoslav parliament of Nato's terms for an end to the bombing
IT IS beyond dispute that the Alliance is not guilty of the expulsion of Albanians. It is, nevertheless, also beyond dispute that the mass expulsions really began only with the war. The suffering of the people of Kosovo could scarcely be greater if Nato had not started bombing. This is not merely a military defeat. From high above, the Alliance has conducted a war, one that did not endanger its own people. All the risks were passed on to the Kosovars on the ground. Can this be morally justified?
New York Post
THE KOSOVO deal should have a warning label attached to it that reads: Danger Ahead. While in bold strokes the Serbs seem to have acceded to most of Nato's demands, the West must steel its resolve in these critical days. For it is still dealing with Slobodan Milosevic, and he will look for any chink in the armor to delay, obfuscate and cleanse. This war was badly begun and badly waged. Now Nato must ensure that, if this is the end of military hostilities, the peace that follows is a victorious peace - not a defeat for the West in the guise of victory.
FOR THE suffering citizens of Yugoslavia, whether in Serbia, Kosovo or Montenegro, the latest development is the first ray of hope after more than 70 days of relentless pounding of their homes, hospitals, bridges and infrastructure by the combined air forces of the Nato military alliance. Yet it would be a mistake to equate the Serb acceptance of the G-8 proposals with an immediate end to the Kosovo conflict. For there still remains many a slip between the proverbial cup and the lip, the biggest being Nato's decision to continue the bombing until the contingent envisaged for the job of peace-keeping arrives on Kosovo soil. What exactly Nato hopes to achieve by prolonging its air campaign other than for burning up some disposable ordnance is hard to fathom.
IMPORTANT DETAILS of the deal remain to be agreed, but everything indicates that Milosevic had to surrender to stop Nato's bombing. Peace is very near. But this cannot make us forget Nato's terrible errors. It planned its military actions badly, it underestimated the Serbian army's capacity for resistance, it caused the death of hundreds of civilians in an imprecise air war and, above all, it served as a pretext to unleash an "ethnic cleansing" operation that left more than 700,000 people homeless. Nato cannot cry victory because this deal represents a double moral abdication. No one will stop Milosevic from continuing in power. Secondly, the pact devotes not one line to demanding responsibility for the criminal "ethnic cleansing" operation. It will be lamentable if the assassins remain unpunished. Nato has won militarily, but the principles of international law and ethics have been damaged.
St Petersburg Times
THE SETTLEMENT plan is almost certain to be seen by Russians as a near- total capitulation to the Western military Alliance. The deal looks like a surrender of Russian demands for an immediate halt to the bombings and for putting the United Nations firmly in charge of peacekeeping. At least on the ever-growing anti-Western flank of Russian politics, the peace plan is perceived as Chernomyrdin's failure to defend Yugoslavia's and Russia's interests against heavy pressure from Washington and other Nato powers.
WHAT REALLY sticks in the craw is the suggestion that the Western taxpayer should pick up the bill for rebuilding Serbia. Generosity is a fine thing - but not indiscriminately so. Not for a country that deserves first, to stand in the dock; second, to undergo political re-skilling; third, metaphorically speaking, to serve a period in the salt mines, where it is welcome to work for, and finance, its own reconstruction. There must be compensation for victims, penalties for war criminals, a political purge in Serbia, and a fresh start. And to ram the message home and exert peer pressure, we should treat as friends, and with exemplary generosity, those of Serbia's neighbours who helped us fight fascism.
IT WILL have taken 10 weeks of bombardments for Nato to obtain Milosevic's capitulation on paper. While we wait for it to take effect in situ, the war isn't yet over. But already, the entire world is finding it difficult to hide its relief.Reuse content