NOT TO FORGET - 20 years since NATO aggression on Yugoslavia

Activities - Comments



The Interview of Zivadin Jovanovic, to Enrico Vigna, Italy

zika1. Twenty years after the NATO 1999 bombing on RFY, have revealed the real geopolitical and geostrategic reasons of the aggression, (military, political, economical). What is your opinion?
A. Now, 20 years after so called “humanitarian intervention“ or “merciful angel” it is clear that it was an illegal blatant aggression with geopolitical objectives. First, to get justification for the deployment of USA troops closer to Russian borders. Kosovo planes became land carrier of US troops. After “Bondstil” USA established a chain of basses in Bulgaria (4), Rumania (4), and so on up to the Baltic Sea. Second, objective was to create a precedent for the future illegal interventions all over the globe – Afghanistan 2001, Iraq 2003, Libya, “Arab spring” , Ukraine, Syria and so on. Using the same pattern, now they are openly threatening Venezuela, Nicaragua, Cuba, Iran... So, we can say that the bombs and missiles thrown in 1999 on Yugoslavia have thorn into pieces agreements of Potsdam, Teheran, Yalta, UN Charter, and Helsinki Final Document. Generally, their target has been the global world order based on the outcome of the Second World War. Is that sane?

2. What is the political, social, economic situation in Serbia?
A. In spite of the opposition presently boycotting the Parliament and weekly demonstrations, I would say that the Government is legitimate and still stable. Whether there will be early elections soon does not depend on the strength of the opposition but mainly on the tactical needs of the ruling SPP (SNS) party related to Kosovo negotiations. Economically Serbia is moderately recovering with about 4% GDP rise in 2018. However, unemployment of the youth, brain drain towards Germany, Austria and Switzerland, poverty, deepening of social differences, high corruption remain great problems which the present neo-liberal corporative system favoring the richest by all means, seems unable to resolve. Serbia democratized by NED standards is still behind of the living standard of the 80-es of the last century.

3.    I know well the situation in Kosovo Methoija, directly and through continuous communication with our partners, such as SOS Kosovo Methoija and SOS YU. We are the only Italian Association operating in the Serbian Province. The situation there is very tense, with risk of new violence and conflicts. In your new book “1244 Key to Peace in Europe” (we introduced on, you advocate implementation of the UN Security Council’s resolution 1244 as the only base for peaceful and sustainable solution. What is real future of Kosovo and Metohija?
A. NATO 1999 aggression ended by UN SC resolution 1244 (June 10th, 1999) guarantying, among other, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Yugoslavia (Serbia) and wide autonomy of Kosovo and Metohija within Serbia. This is the legal universally binding document agreed upon by all permanent members of UN SC. To have lasting, sustainable peace it is necessary to fully implement this document. Not only parts binding Serbia but all. Not because of Serbia but because of global governance and peace in Europe. This resolution is consolidated compromise of interests of Serbian and Albanian peoples but at the same time compromise of interests of all relevant international factors. If in the meantime there has been a change of circumstances, it would be difficult to prove that such a change has favored privileges, or exceptionality of any particular power, or uni polar concept of domination. The opposite.

Offering Serbia “a deal” to recognize theft of the state territory in exchange for EU membership in quite gloomy perspective, would definitely lead to further accumulating conflict potential, regionally and globally. Have we already forgotten the example of how the leading western powers were “saving peace” in Munich 1938? Destruction of SFR of Yugoslavia 1992-1995 was the price of keeping the unity of EEC. Would Serbia with all experiences of the past decades accept now own dissolution for the sake of unity of EU? It is strange and worrisome indeed if anybody might believe Serbia can be persuaded to join NATO going to the Russian boarders, or accept USA made EU sanctions!

4) How do you see the future of Kosovo Metohija and the Serbian people living there?
A. In my opinion, Kosovo and Metohija should enjoy wide autonomy within Serbia, as envisaged by the UN SC resolution 1244. Albanians there should have the widest self governance in all spheres of their life from culture and education to the economy and finance. This excludes secession, recognition of independence or unification with any other state. All provisions of UN SC resolution have to be fully implemented, including the right of about 230.000 displaced Serbs and other non-Albanians to freely return to their homes and properties in safety and dignity. Together with about 130.000 Serbs who now live in the Province, they should enjoy self governance within Provincial autonomy. Community of Serbian districts within the Province may be the framework providing executive power.

5)    What is the situation of the NATO and EU integration process in Serbia?
A. I believe that neutrality is in the best interest of Serbia. NATO is offensive military alliance intervening all over the world for the interests of multinational corporations and imperial domination. On the other side, Serbia is small, peace loving country with quite different tradition. It has never belonged to any blocks. Finally, Serbia cannot forget crimes of NATO aggression, human victims, use of depleted uranium and economic damages of over 100 bilion US dollars. What NATO did to Serbia in 1999 is historic mistake, unforgettable shame for Europe and the western democracy. They even bombed Chinese Embassy in Belgrade killing three Chinese citizens. Who would believe this was a mistake as Washington claimed?

After NATO aggression on Yugoslavia in 1999 Europe and the global governance have become militarized. At the recent Munich Security Conference nobody opposed opinion that the global mistrust and tensions have never after the end of the Cold War been so deep and worrisome as today? Having regard to all military arsenal on the planet, particularly nuclear one, to the spreading of disregard and annihilation of the basic norms and treaties question arises can the tide of madness be stopped, who and how?

Concerning Serbia’s EU integration, I think we should be cautious to see first what happens with EU itself. EU has demonstrated biased approach in negotiations about the future of the Province of Kosovo and Metohija persistently favoring secessionist aims of Prishtina and geopolitical interests of USA and NATO. This is dead-end way and very dangerous for the future of Europe. Catalonia is just one reminder. The whole process should be returned on the track of UN enabling active participation of Russia and China along the western powers. Only this framework can guarantee balanced and unbiased approach and sustainable solution.

6)    After recent Putin’s visit to Belgrade, do you think that Serbia’s position in defending national independence and sovereignty is stronger?
A. President Putin’s visit to Serbia provided concrete substance to the long term strategic partnership and cooperation between the two countries. About 20 different agreements have been signed covering many fields of cooperation from gas supply and modernization of infrastructure to the transfer of nuclear technology for peaceful purposes and culture. President Putin has reaffirmed Russia’s steady principle position supporting sovereignty and integrity of Serbia and peaceful solution of Kosovo and Metohija issue based on international law and Serbia’s legal system. If Russia’s role was decisive  to stop the NATO aggression in 1999 and to pass resolution 1244 in UN SC, who really can claim today 20 years on, that the lasting solution can be reached keeping Russia (and China) on distance! Was the Russia of the president Boris Yeltsin more relevant 1999 in shaping the world relation then the Russia of the president Vladimir Putin 2019?

7)    What is your opinion about political situation in Serbia today? And what think about weekly protest in Belgrade, are they spontaneous or initiated by external interest?
A. Present Serbian opposition is mainly composed of the remnants of the former DOS (Democratic Opposition of Serbia) which in October 2000 overturned the President Slobodan Milosevic and in 2001 unconstitutionally handed him to the Hague Tribunal with the decisive help of western secret services. Serbian opposition today is fragmented, devoid of any serious ideas about socio economic progress, just and sustainable solution for Kosovo and Metohija issue, or for independent foreign policy. All pressures on the Serbian government now, be they from within or outside of the country, are designed to weaken negotiating position on Kosovo and Metohija, to compel the Government to accept “a deal” – recognize independence of Kosovo and Metohija immediately for the vague promise of EU membership! Outgoing neoliberal EU elite, confronted with the tide of nationalist and so called populist forces badly needs at least some success. So, they want Serbia to pay for their futile policy by surrendering part of state territory and national identity in order to falsely say – Kosovo issue is resolved, peace preserved! For this they are even seeking collaborators inside Serbia.

8. You established in Serbia think tank Silk Road Connectivity Research Center and supported establishment of Italian branch known as the Belt and Road Observatory. How would you assess progress of this global Project?
A. In the present day divisions, global tensions and rising protectionism positive impact of the China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is growing and promissing. Only five years after this Initiative was announced by the President Xi Jinping in Astana, Kazakhstan, BRI has attracted about 100 countries from Asia, Europe, Africa and other continents directly involved in practical implementation. Major regional economic integrations and groupings of countries are seeking ways how to coordinate own infrastructure and other projects with BRI in order to provide synergy for more efficient development. Close to 100 industrial parks have been established along the Belt and Road providing over one million of new working places. The BRI has contributed immensely for people to people connectivity bringing close civilizations, cultures, youths thus strengthening mutual understanding and trust. China+16 CEEC cooperation under BRI has become important bridge for Euro-Asia and especially between China and European union. Win win spirit has become a trade-mark of BRI cooperation.
Slowing down of the growth of global economy, instability of the financial markets, globalization of poverty, protectionism, weakening of multilateral institutions such as WTO, power politics and geopolitical approaches to economic cooperation are some of the challenges ahead. The general answer to all of them is doubling the efforts to creating new global governance based on partnership, multi-polarity and equality, reforms and strengthening of the international institutions, better coordination. The Second BRI Forum Summit in China in April this year will summarize great achievements of the Initiative and open new perspectives for strengthening of cooperation which is strategically important for stability and growth of the global economy. Serbia is actively participating in the BRI cooperation, especially within the China+16CEE countries. Chinese investments in Serbia have reached about 6 billion US dollars mainly in modern infrastructure, industry and energy sector. Serbian section of the high speed railway Belgrade – Budapest is progressing as one of the largest investment project.    

9. The NATO aggression of 20 years ago has been “justified by Kosovo humanitarian situation. Every time when I visit Kosovo and Metohija Serbs living there keep complaining about their dramatic security situation and fearing of terror in the future. Having regard of your knowledge and experience what would you have to say to Italian and international public?

A. The real problems in the Provence of Kosovo and Metohija have been provoked by Albanian separatism and terrorism continuously supported by some western powers. This support was motivated by their geopolitical interests: weakening and fragmenting Serbia has always meant for them weakening Russia’s presence and influence in the Balkans. In the late 90-es of the last century, as confirmed by the British sources, Clinton’s administration decided to topple President Slobodan Milosevic by encouraging terrorist UCK to provoke wide scale terrorism. In the summer of 1998 Serbian Government reacted with legitimate anti terrorist actions which NATO orchestrated propaganda presented as “massive violation of human rights” as a prelude to premeditated military aggression. Many lies had been launched such as apparent “horse shoe plan”, “the Rachak massacre” etc. In fact, the real humanitarian catastrophe and exodus of refugees started only after first NATO bombes fell in Kosovo and Metohija and Yugoslavia.

10.As SOS Kosovo and Methoija Association many years ago we have decided to concentrate our solidarity concept and information work on Serbian enclaves in Kosmet, because we think that this is the nodal point of the contradictions that will involve the entire Balkan in future. And the resistance of the people in Kosmet is fundamental also for the future in Serbia. What is your opinion?
A. First of all, we are grateful to your associations for their continuous support and help to Serbs in Kosovo and Metohija over the past decades. Your contacts, humanitarian assistance and especially your role in exchange of children visits are extremely important for feelings of Serbs there that they are not forgotten, or let alone, that they have friends who understand their problems. And those are really unbelievable problems. Serbs in enclaves live today like in ghettos, sometimes fenced by barbed wires. Their movement is not secure, their households have been constantly robbed, their churches, graveyards, religious symbols destroyed. They live in the state of uncertainty and fear of the new ethnic cleansing and pogroms similar to previous ones which led to exodus of 230.000 Serbs and other non-Albanians, destruction of 150 Christian medieval monasteries and churches. EU, USA, UNMIK, KFOR, EULEX have done little or nothing to punish perpetrators of the crimes against Serbs, to investigate human organs trafficking, generally, to guarantee eaqual human rights of Serbs in Kosovo and Metohija.
Thank you. Good bye in Belgrade at 22 mart, for the International Meeting for
20° Anniversary of NATO aggression, organized by Belgrade Forum .
By Enrico Vigna, speaker of Belgrade Forum Italy.