MONITOR: THE WAR IN THE BALKANS

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The war in the Balkans US airmen taken hostage Russian intervention The Kosovan refugees

Rarely was victory needed so badly

ABC

Spain

THE ESCALATION of the allied offensive is the only possible response to the terrible resurgence of repression imposed by Slobodan Miosevic. Rarely was a victory so urgently needed. With each day that passes the Kosovar Albanians step further into the darkness of the holocaust. The image of interminable caravans of refugees stripped by Milosevic of all their papers, escaping the death decreed by the authorities of their country and defying hunger, cold and sickness proclaims the urgency of vanquishing this will to commit genocide.

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Borba

Yugoslavia

THE JOINT criminal demons of the USA, Great Britain, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Belgium, the Netherlands and Canada have attacked the territory of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. They are not choosing targets in their brutal strikes. They are not sparing holy places, which are the pride of civilization. They are bombarding monasteries, churches and mosques. Cemeteries are not sacrosanct to them. They want just one thing - to do us harm and subjugate us.

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Liberation

France

CAN ONE reasonably wait for "gestures" of goodwill from a man who, for almost 10 years, has engaged in ethnic cleansing, assassinations and massacres, as a consequence of which more than 200,000 are dead and millions displaced? Kosovo will be empty of its Albanian population in a few weeks. No Kosovars will remain other than petrified corpses. The members of the Western coalition who decided to act last Tuesday underestimated the Milosevic problem. It is time to radically modify the coalition's rules of engagement if one does not want the "peaceful solution" proposed by Jacques Chirac to be nothing else than the peace of the cemetery.

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Suddeutsche Zeitung

Germany

AFTER ALL that has happened, even the Albanians will hardly want to return to the Rambouillet accord and to a promise of autonomy. A changed agenda for new negotiations is now conceivable. It could contain words which have so far been unmentioned, such as "independence" for the Albanians and "partition". The Serbs might even get a piece of Kosovo if the West were forced to agree to this in order to prevent an even worse scenario.

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Haaretz

Israel

THE EVENTS in recent months in Kosovo are more than a mere internal conflict between the nations of the former Yugoslavia. What is occurring there borders on genocide. No country or society may remain indifferent in the face of these horrific actions. It is the responsibility of Israel's official institutions, the government and the Knesset, to give real expression to their support for the policy of Nato and the United States. They must do so not reluctantly or halfheartedly, but rather by making a clear, resolute stand and by taking the necessary diplomatic steps. This is the responsibility of the entire people of Israel - the children of a nation that has suffered so much persecution - to another persecuted nation.

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Moskovskiy

Komsomolets

Russia

THE SERBS are stubborn and ready for sacrifice. They are used to unequal struggle against unquestionably stronger adversaries: Turks, Austrians, Germans. Apart from that, even though Milosevic's fellow clansmen in Kosovo constitute a minuscule minority, the province is still looked on as the cradle of the Serbian nation. Thus, giving Kosovo away to the Albanians is for them like severing the right hand. That is why nobody can guarantee today that, in the very near future, Belgrade will give in and fall to its knees before Nato.

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The Straits Times

Singapore

THE QUESTION is what Nato must and can do to ensure that Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic does not get away with the programme he has embarked on: to use the cover of the wider war to carry out a pogrom of Kosovo and of its ethnic Albanians by killing them and destroying their property or driving them across the border as refugees to Albania, Macedonia and Montenegro. If the genocide were to continue, Nato's military mission of destroying Mr Milosevic's ability to wage war on the Kosovars would have failed to attain its political objective, which is to make him accept a settlement based on the Rambouillet accord, which includes the stationing of 28,000 peace-keeping troops in the province. In war, the political goal is the only prize worth winning.

The Times

UK

SLOBODAN MILOSEVIC made his first offer to Nato last night. His demands would have been unacceptable before he put Kosovo to the torch. They are both offensive and inadequate now. Mr Milosevic knows that; this is no surrender, but a feint designed to split the alliance. His timing is, as usual, tactically shrewd. The accounts given by the battered, traumatised refugees streaming out of Kosovo are evidence that an entire people is being persecuted with racist cruelty. Nato's weaker minds must thus be tempted to pause and explore. Nato, and Western publics, should keep the past decade of broken Milosevic pledges clearly in mind and keep their nerve.

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St Petersburg Times

Russia

NATO SHOULD call off air strikes and return to the negotiating table. Nato stumbled into this war, making promises to protect the Albanians that it knew it couldn't keep and then lashing out impotently to maintain its credibility. But Nato's credibility has been irrevocably damaged anyhow. It has attacked a sovereign country with the flimsiest of justifications. Its policy should now be aimed at saving lives.

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Mainichi Shimbun

Japan

THE CURRENT air strikes against Serbia differ from the Bosnian campaign in many important aspects. They are being conducted on shaky legal grounds and raise many questions of international law. The scale of the bombing is also questionable. The current Nato bombing campaign targets Yugoslavia, a sovereign nation. Furthermore, Nato decided to begin bombing without seeking the approval of the United Nations or of the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe.

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