AriRusila's Conflicts

Former Italian FM Lamberto Dini says the 1999 NATO military intervention against Serbia could have been avoided. According to this, the 78 days of attacks would have been averted “if a single word had been removed from the agreement which was offered at the Rambouillet conference”. The problem was one adjective and Serbia insisted that the word “military” be taken out of the agreement leaving only “international presence” in Kosovo, but the United States insisted that the NATO gets permission to enter the province, Dini said while addressing students at the Bocconi University in Milan. (Sources Tanjug and B92 Oct.28th2008)


Rambouillet negotiations were the decisive moment to go either for peace or war in Kosovo. The Rambouillet Agreement – Interim Agreement for Peace and Self-Government in Kosovo – includes two parts – the political part and the implementation part. The later part has two appendix A and B. By the end of the first round of Rambouillet in February, the Serb side had agreed to the essentials of a political deal. Agence France Presse (2/20/99) quoted a U.S. official as saying that the “political part” of a peace accord “is almost not a problem, while the implementation part has been reconsidered many times.” The situation was same to last days of peace.

If I remember right Serbs were accepting political part but not the Appendix B which in reality was giving NATO and the West unlimited access to move around the entire country – not only Kosovo province – , to use airwaves, and radiowaves etc like in occupied country. There is also some conspiracy theories about that negotiators were not even aware about Appendix B and when it came on table it was so designed that Serbs could only reject it. The idea with this was to show Serbs as the pro-war nation and to justify Nato aggressions with this cause.

Rambouillet agreement (draft) can be found from here .


Dini said also that in the crisis that followed, Italy advocated that the bombing be limited strictly to military objectives, but that Pentagon wanted a blank permission for all targets, Italy’s ANSA news agency has reported. Nato bombings hit in Serbia 33 hospitals and 480 education facilities as well one (China) embassy and a lot of civil infrastructure. Nato was bombing 78 days and one excuse to hit civilian targets was that bombings against military targets were so unsuccessful.

I could conclude that Rambouillet loaded the gun and firing started after – probably fabricated – Racak massacre. In Rambouillet Serbs were accepting UN peace presence, maybe the whole war could be avoided by selecting word peace instead military. But if there is no will and real motivations are hidden so maybe changing one word would not be enough.

More my articles about Balkans can be found from my Archive:Blog .


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  1. If you put this into a historical context, just less than 4 years after Srebrenica, where the Serbs have massacred thousands of people in front of lightly armed Dutch peace-keepers, and in a situation where thousands of Albanians were stripped of their personal identification in preparation for killing them in a similar manner, the countries that had been present in Bosnia did want to have a substantial military presence in Kosovo. Had the Serbs handed over Karadzic 10 years earlier, or had they given any other assurance that they do not plan another genocide, everything could have been avoidable. It might have been just a word, but a very significant word that later avoided the further spread of the Balkans war.

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