Letter: Reconstruction not destruction
Sunday 18 April 1999
TWO CHEERS for Nato considering the idea of a Marshall Plan for the Balkan region; better still, why not under the auspices of the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) or the UN?
This idea should also mean cancelling the bombing (it has failed, is counterproductive, may escalate and is illegal) and replacing it with the alternative of an imaginative and generous social, economic and political plan for the region as a whole.
If the offer was well publicised it would encourage Slobodan Milosevic (for self-interest reasons) to change his policies, especially if Russia was involved as part of an OSCE or UN peace process. If he did not change his policies the Balkans and the rest of the world would then be united in isolating Yugoslavia, making military and social sanctions effective.
If he accepted then his country could enjoy the benefits of a Balkans reconstruction plan. But any plan must include human rights and the principle of self-determination within what Milan Panic (the one-time Prime Minister of Yugoslavia) called a "Balkan commonwealth".
But the war must be stopped as a precondition for success, not only to demonstrate our sincerity, and the urgency, but also because it is probably impossible to bomb Milosevic into "surrendering". He may well continue the war until his country and his people are devastated.
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