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1244 – A Key to Peace in Europe

Defending Serbia’s right to the province of Kosovo and Metohija

by Marina Colic, Belgrade Forum for a World of Equals

The oldest Serbian Publishing House – Serbian Literary Cooperative – has recently promoted the book “1244 – A Key to Peace in Europe”, authored by Živadin Jovanović, a former foreign minister of Yugoslavia (1998–2000). Other promotions which followed in Belgrade, Novi Sad, Subotica, and other places in Serbia, have aroused attention and interest for the book among scholars of international relations, security, analysts of contemporary geostrategic tendencies, of the roll of international public law, and of  stability and cooperation in the Balkans, and Europe.  
The book is a collection of the author’s articles, interviews and public speeches related to the Autonomous Serbian Province of Kosovo and Metohija which have been published in the past 20 years (from 1997 through September 2018).
This includes a number of interviews with  renown  international medias such as: Le Monde, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, L Soire, Pravo, ABC, Nezavisimaya Gazeta, Al Ahram, Elite, as well as radio and TV networks, such as BBC, CNN, CBS, Chinese Central TV, Al Jazzera and others.
The book (890 pages) comprises 5 Chapters: The Time of Terrorism, The Time of Aggression, The Time of Illusions, The Time of Waking up, and The Documents.  The reviewers are Academician Vlado Strugar, Prof. Dr Milo Lompar, and Prof. Čedomir Štrbac and the editors Ambassador (retd) Dragomir Vučićević  and the writer Dragan Lakićević. The publishers: The Belgrade Forum for a World of Equals, and the Serbian Literary Cooperative.
According to Professor Milo Lompar the book reflects continuity of the author’s views on statehood and national interests of Serbia and the Serbian people, readily recognisable in his decades-long career in diplomacy and in his public engagements up to the present days. The author’s continuous advocacy for the full respect of the basic International Law Principles and UN Security Council Resolution 12441 in resolving the problem of the Serbian Province of Kosovo and Metohija reflects both – the author’s understanding of the long-term and current importance of Kosovo and Metohija, not only for Serbia and the Serbian people, but also for the peace and stability in the Balkans and Europe. With over 1,300 Serbian medieval monuments, headquarters of the Serbian Orthodox Church Patriarchy – Kosovo and Metohija are deeply interwoven in the state, national, cultural and religious identity – considers professor Lompar. He concluded that the book of Mr. Živadin Jovanović reaffirms the statehood roots and tradition of the Serbian nation re-established in XIX century as well as the right to equality and self governance of all citizens and national communities living in the Province regardless of their nationality or religion. He particularly praised the high documentary value of the book as its special feature.
Ambassador Dragomir Vučićević singls out the need for Serbia to dedicate much more reflection on herself and her long-term interests, and to a lesser extent on the current expectations by the international stakeholders, since the latter, in their positioning vis--vis Serbia, are guided solely by their own geopolitical interests. Serbia should adhere to the fundamental principles of the international law and the UN SC resolutions, regardless of who may or may not find it suitable, and develop balanced relations with all key international actors, particularly with proven, long term friends who did not partake in the 1999 NATO aggression and have not recognised the ensuing illegal, unilateral secession. Vučićević also highlights the author’s thesis principled that Serbia needs the European Union only to the extent the European Union needs Serbia, and that EU membership is a legitimate goal insofar it is not conditioned by surrendering her sovereignty and territorial integrity. A just and durable solution for Kosovo and Metohija is only possible on the basis of observing the principles enshrined in the UN Charter, the OSCE Final Act (1975), UN SC Resolution 1244 (1999) and the Constitution of Serbia. Attempts to impose solutions on Serbia which legalise violations of the basic principles of International Law and of European Security and Cooperation as well as UN SC resolutions would only pave the way to the spreading of instability and the build-up of conflict potential in the Balkans and in Europe – warns Vučićević.
Renown Serbian historian, member of Serbian academy of science and art Vlado Strugar, underlines that this book is a unique thesauri of documents and analyses to be researched by historians and all others researchers devoted to establishing the truth about Kosovo and Metohija, the most important national and state issue of Serbia, as well as about attempts of certain Western powers to exploit this issues for expansion of their hegemony toward East.
General (retd) and professor Radovan Radinovic considers that the author refuted the chief argument of the West, that Kosovo and Metohija was lost in the war, and that Serbia was defeated and thus left without the right to claim the end of occupation and reinstitutions of own constitutional order.
Western geopolitics are well aware that 1999 NATO aggression was not aimed at protecting human rights of the Albanian national minority. Real objectives have been and remain up to present times, geopolitical expansion towards East, instate full control and lasting presents of US troops in the Central Balkans. “Kosovo and Metohija are not an issue of human rights, but of the Western geopolitics” – says General Radinovic and concludes: “This book helps better understanding the recent history. Those who govern history are the same who govern the present and the future”.
The most renown Serbian islamologist, Serbian ambassador at UNSEKO, professor Darko Tanaskovic considers that the book “1244 – a key to peace in Europe” is precious well of documents, facts, and unavoidable testimonies of the dramatic history of the Balkans and Europe, at the crossroads of the 20th and 21st centuries. He underlines that the author is witness and direct participant of the crucial efforts not only to resolve all the problems in Kosovo and Metohija by peaceful means, but also of the forces whose geopolitical aims have been quite different. “All those who study today, or who will be studying UNSC Resolution 1244 in the future, will find this book very useful, resourceful and even guiding towards a better understanding of processes in the Balkans and great powers relations” – considers professor Tanaskovic.
The author recalled that UN SC Resolution 1244 (1999) was the outcome of extremely difficult two-month negotiations under Russian mediation, while the NATO aggression was unfolding. According to him, it is quite improbable that the present day narrow and closed Brussels’ negotiations format would produce a balanced, just, and sustainable solution to the Kosovo and Metohija problem. If the West was unable to end the NATO War in 1999 without the key role of Russia (Viktor Chernomyrdin) how realistic is it now, 20 years after, to resolve the issue of the status of Kosovo and Metohija being the main consequence of that war, keeping Russia outside of the whole process! Is the Russia of Putin today less relevant, less capacitated for the peaceful solution of international problems, including the problem of Kosovo and Metohija?! Or, to put it differently, is the West a stronger, dominant player in the global and European arena today than it was in 1999!? Jovanović added that UN SC Resolution 1244 (1999) comprises the positions and interests of all key actors in European and global relations, Russia and China included. Taking that this was true back in 1999 – at the peak of dominance of the unipolar world order – it follows that today, under the backdrop of multipolar global relations, this is no less than imperative. A bid to resolve it within an EU-only format reveals the intention to exclude Russia and China and to resort to blackmailing in order to impose geopolitical interests of the West, namely, the EU and NATO. Acceptance of such attempts would go against the global trends, and would result in further destabilisation of relations in the Balkans and in Europe rather than in introducing a balanced and sustainable solution.
Jovanović recalled of the coming 80th anniversary of the Munich Agreement on Sudetenland ostensibly to “protect” the rights of the German national minority and “save” the peace in Europe. We all know who took part in, and who was intentionally excluded from, this “agreeing” and what was the outcome of this “comprehensive legally binding agreement” of 30 September 1938 – warned Jovanović.     •
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After the end of the war against Yugoslavia in 1999, the UN Security Council adopted Resolution 1244 (1999) of 10 June 1999, also known publicly as the Kosovo Resolution. Almost 20 years have passed since then. 20 years ago, in October 1998, in a fateful vote in the German “Bundestag”, the German participation in the war was decided – with an overwhelming majority. You read the shorthand report of the 248th session of the German “Bundestag” on 16 October 1998 (Plenary Protocol 13/248).
German experts in international law and lawyers’ organisations filed criminal charges against the war-mongers of the time. The then Federal Prosecutor General Nehm dismissed these charges on the justification that the term “war of aggression” should not be understood too narrowly as a military operation. The Federal Government used the construction of “humanitarian intervention” to justify this war, but this was also done without the decision of the UN Security Council.
Illegally according to international law remains illegally according to international law, one turns and turns it as one wants. It seems that this process has neither been sufficiently dealt with politically, legally nor morally. How else would it be possible for the German warmongers to escape so cheaply, without much fuss, without loud outcry, without internationally devastating criticism? In any case, too little of it could be heard.
The present Merkel government now openly admits that it is advising and financially supporting its then foster children – the KLA – in transforming them into a regular army in Kosovo. What is the point of this? As soon as the dead of 1999 are buried, the next bestiality arises before our eyes: the building up of an army in Kosovo means nothing other than: “We are continuing”.
The former Foreign Minister of Yugoslavia Živadin Jovanović (1998-2000) now publishes – together with the „Belgrade Forum for a World of Equals“ – a new comprehensive book dealing with the peace policy in Europe and in particular with UN Security Council Resolution 1244 and its far-reaching consequences. An overview in English is already available, the translation of the entire book from Serbian will probably follow.

Barbara Hug

Resolution 1244

This resolution, adopted by the UN Security Council on 19 June 1999, ended the 78-day NATO aggression against Serbia (Federal Republic of Yugoslavia), enshrined the guarantee of sovereignty and territorial integrity of Serbia and substantial autonomy for the province of Kosovo and Metohijen within Serbia. Nonetheless, in 2008, the provincial leadership proclaimed the unilateral secession of Serbia, which in return was recognised by NATO and EU members, with the exception of Spain, Romania, Slovakia, Greece and Cyprus.