[Kosova / Kosovo] Open Letter to the Heads of NATO Governments [Peaceweb Home Page]

An Open Letter to the Heads of NATO governments<

We, the undersigned, wish to call for an end to the NATO military action against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.

In particular we note the following:

1/ Many other cases of repression in the outer parts of Europe and beyond have been conveniently ignored and thus the humanitarian principles which NATO espouses in this case are hypocritical.

2/ The legal basis for this action is highly problematic and NATO has violated both the UN's and its own charter.

3/ The intervention of a supposedly defensive regional organisation within a sovereign state sets a dangerous precedent in international relations. The constitutional situation of Kosovo within the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia cannot be compared to that of Bosnia and Herzegovina - indeed Kosovo is an integral part of Yugoslavia and NATO's actions seem designed to encourage possible (although illegal) secession from Yugoslavia.

4/ The action has alienated a number of states in eastern Europe, including Russia. Many of these states have been in dialogue with the West about joining or associating with NATO or the EU. This may have serious consequences for these organisations and the UN.

5/ The dominant West European and US view of the region is rooted in outdated 19th century notions of the 'nation state' and hangovers of 19th century prejudice which considers the Balkans as a 'powder-keg' containing people possessed by 'ancient hatreds'. The EU and NATO are in part responsible for the dissolution of former Yugoslavia and several EU states actively encouraged the succession of Slovenia, Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina from the Yugoslav federation. The current military action may well encourage further fragmentation in the region at the cost of political, economic and social stability.

6/ The withdrawal of the monitors from Kosovo followed by air strikes has encouraged the repression of Kosovo's Albanians.

7/ US policy towards the region has been contradictory at best - supporting democratic negotiations and then abandoning them. Military action has effectively 'pulled the rug' from under the democratic representatives of the Kosovo Albanians and instead given support to the unconstitutional and illegal Kosovo Liberation Army with the effect that NATO is now for all intents and purposes the air force of the KLA.

8/ NATO's actions have unified support behind President Milosevic of Yugoslavia and recast him in the role of 'defender of the faith'. What opposition remains has now been sidelined or repressed. The increased control of the universities and closure of independent media organisations are symptomatic of this hegemony. The use of German forces in the attacks is particularly insensitive given Yugoslavia's experiences under Nazi occupation.

9/ The flood of refugees fleeing Kosovo threatens the stability of the whole region. Many thousands have now crossed the Yugoslav borders into FYR Macedonia, Albania and, within Yugoslavia itself, Montenegro. In the short term, none of these regions will be able to deal with such large numbers (for which the West has been singularly unprepared). In the longer term, some states will experience severe difficulties. FYR Macedonia, in particular, is highly likely to witness an increase in nationalist sentiment which could well lead to an extension of the war.


Panayiotes E. Anastasiou, Indianapolis, Indiana, USA
Stoya Bojanic-Wright, Sheffield, UK
Tony Bovaird, Aston Business School, University of Aston, Birmingham, UK
Wendy Bracewell, University of Bradford, UK
Michael Barratt Brown, Baslow, Bakewell, Derbyshire, UK
Laura Buffam, Moravia Quaker Meeting, Moravia, New York, USA
Svetlana Cicmil, University of the West of England, Bristol, UK
Lori Dawson, Saratoga Quaker Meeting, Saratoga Springs, New York, USA
Mr. Dejan Djokic, Doctoral Research Student in History & History Tutor, SSEES, University of London, UK
Dr. Sanya Dudukovic, DP Medical Engineering, Lugano, Switzerland
Alexander Valentinovich Fyodorov, St. Petersburg, Russian Federation
Johanna Halbeisen, Southwick, Massachusetts, USA
Jacob A. Hernandez, University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA
Lucille Fandel and Wynne Busby, Northampton Friends Meeting, Northampton, Massachusetts, USA
Annie Gerin, University of Leeds, UK
Joanne Grazide, 6 Craig PL, Middletown, New Jersey, USA
Jay Ginn (Dr), Research Fellow, University of Surrey, UK
Celia Hawkesworth, School of Slavonic and East European Studies, University of London, UK
Bruce Hawkins, Northampton Friends Meeting, Northampton, Massachusetts, USA
Robert C. Hudson, University of Bradford, UK
Bob Jiggins, Research Unit in South East European Studies, University of Bradford, UK
William Knox, Kalubowila, Dehiwela, Sri Lanka
Dr. Raymond W. K. Lau, City University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong
James McGinnis, President, Institute for Peace & Justice, St. Louis, Missouri, USA
Dr David A. Norris, Department of Slavonic Studies, University of Nottingham, UK
Stevan K. Pavlowitch, Emeritus Professor of History at the University of Southampton, UK
Theodoros Papadopoulos, Lecturer in Social Policy, University of Bath, UK
John Pilger, London, UK
John Randall MP, UK
Judith Roads, Walthamstowe Preparative Meeting (Quakers), UK
Douglas Roche, O.C., Senator, Parliament of Canada, Ottawa, Canada
Kapitolina Sergeyevna Sapunova, St. Petersburg, Russian Federation
Dewey Val Schorre, Ojai Friends Worship Group, USA
Sir Alfred Sherman, Chairman, Lord Byron Foundation for Balkan Studies, London, UK
Dr. Chad Staddon, Senior Lecturer in Human Geography, School of Geography and Environmental Management University of the West of England, Bristol, UK
Anton Stepikhov, St. Petersburg State University, Russian Federation
Dr Alison Stenning, University of Birmingham, UK
Carl Stieren, Ottawa Quaker Meeting, Ottawa, Canada
Dr. Erik Swyngedouw, Reader in Geography, Oxford University and Fellow of St. Peter's College, Oxford
Manolis Terrovitis, University of California at Berkeley, California, USA
Ray Thomas, Social Sciences, Open University, Milton Keynes, UK
Joel Tobias, St. Martin Abbey, Washington, USA
Gregory Trakas, San Francisco, California, USA
Stavros Trypakis, University of Calfornia, Berkeley, California, USA
John Ward, Portsmouth and Southsea Preparative Meeting (Quakers), UK
Roger Wilson, Leeds Quaker Meeting, Crosby, UK

Originator: Bob Jiggins, Research Unit in South East European Studies, University of Bradford, UK. Tel: +44(0)7050 615511 Fax: +44(0)7050 644569 Email: rjiggins@bradford.ac.uk

(Signatures of more than 50 others from around the world are in the process of arriving.)

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