Proposed Treaty to Stop Assault on Yugoslavia

The Houston Chronicle, on March 28, 1999, published an insightful article on the Kosovo situation. The article, by Dr Ronald L. Hatchett, Director of the Center for International Studies at the University of St. Thomas, was entitled "Would You Sign This Agreement?", and dealt with the peace accord on Kosovo put forward by the US and its allies at Rambouillet,France. The treaty which was put forward at the last minute was not what the Yugoslav Government had been told it would be. As a result, the Belgrade delegation had no option but to refuse to sign it, as was presumably the intention of US Secretary of State Madeline Albright. The uncompleted Rambouillet Accords noted:

  • "Kosovo will have a President, Prime Minister and Government, an Assembly, its own Supreme Court, Constitutional Court and other Courts and Prosecutors."
  • "Kosovo will have the authority to make laws not subject to revision by Serbia or the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, including levying taxes, instituting programs of economic, scientific, technological, regional and social development, conducting foreign relations within its area of responsibility in the same manner as a Republic."
  • "Yugoslav Army forces will withdraw completely from Kosovo, except for a limited border guard force (active only within a five kilometer border zone)."
  • "Serb security forces [police] will withdraw completely from Kosovo except for a limited number of border police (active only within a five kilometer border zone)."
  • "The parties invite NATO to deploy a military force (KFOR), which will be authorized to use necessary force to ensure compliance with the Accords."
  • "The international community will play a rôle in ensuring that these provisions are carried out through a Civilian Implementation Mission (CIM) (appointed by NATO)."
  • "The Chief of the CIM has the authority to issue binding directives to the Parties on all important matters as he sees fit, including appointing and removing officials and curtailing institutions."
  • "Three years after the implementation of the Accords, an international meeting will be convened to determine a mechanism for a final settlement for Kosovo on the basis of the will of the people."

The Accords, had they been signed by the Yugoslav Government, would have meant an immediate effective removal of Kosovo from Yugoslavia. The Yugoslav delegation had been prepared to hand over autonomy to Kosovars in day-to-day matters, including religious, education and health care matters and local government operations. The Yugoslav delegation,
however, was told: sign the "surprise" version of the Rambouillet Accords or face immediate NATO bombing. Could any Yugoslav have signed such an agreement?