Headlines While We Slept: Kosova Peace Deal
Prominent U.S. headlines Thursday morning focused on the Serbian parliament's acceptance of a Russian and European Union brokered peace proposal for the crisis in Kosova. While the agreement remains inconclusive until Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic gives his approval, the prospect for a speedy end to the 72-day bombing campaign seems closer than ever.
The New York Times on the Web, the San Jose Mercury News's Mercury Center and the Boston Globe's Boston.com all led with an Associated Press report which cited members of Serbia's parliament as saying that their assembly had accepted the proposal. WashingtonPost.com led with a Reuters report giving the same story of a victory for peace over ultra-nationalist groups in Serbia's parliament, although Reuters emphasized that Milosevic has shown no sign of "caving in" to the proposal.
As of Thursday morning, Latimes.com had yet to pick up on the news, but it did headline a story that gave details of the peace proposal before the parliament. All of the above- mentioned headliners told of Russia's bending to support NATO's demands of an immediate troop withdrawal before any cessation to the bombing. The solving of this key sticking point allowed Russia and NATO to present a unified proposal.
Latimes.com reported that Russian envoy Viktor Chernomyrdin described the two central elements of the proposal as the "withdrawal of Serbian forces and the timing of the deployment of peacekeepers." In other words, NATO's compromise in the latest plan is its silence on previous demands for a NATO patrolled sovereign state. According to the article, Milosevic does not trust NATO to disarm the KLA and wants to keep Kosova under Yugoslav rule. So while NATO troops, under United Nations supervision, would be allowed into Kosova for a short period to escort refugees home, Serb forces would be allowed to regain control over the province. The AP report carried by other publications mentioned briefly that the proposal is acceptable to Serbia/Yugoslavia because it coincides with its demands that "any deal respect Yugolsav borders ... [meaning] rejection of independence for Kosovo."
In a Mercury Center editorial, Bob Dole blasted U.S. President Clinton and NATO for compromising with Russia on the peace plan and said that America has compromised its moral authority by dealing with Milosevic, an indicted war criminal. While America's moral authority may have been in question long before this compromise, the article raises a pertinent issue concerning the fate of Kosova's Muslim refugees when they return home. Dole asked how the refugees could expect to live in safety and freedom when these precious rights are to be guaranteed, ultimately, by an indicted war criminal.
Zakariya Wright is a staff writer at iviews.com
Topics: Conflicts And War, Serbia, Slobodan Milosevic