Examination of Witnesses (Questions 80
TUESDAY 13 FEBRUARY 2001
80. Do you think this is a fact of life on the
ground of any final settlement?
(Dr von Hippel) It is very different for the areas
where the Serbs live in Kosovo. In the northern area there is
not a lot of security outside of Mitrovica municipality, the city
itself. You can drive through and it is mostly Serbs that live
there. There are some isolated Albanian communities and there
is also Strpce which is over in the Gnjilane region, and that
has an Albanian community that is completely separate from the
Serb municipality. That is a municipality which is quite aggressive.
They were very pro-Milosevic during the whole Milosevic period.
Then you have the Serbs that live in the more central region and
they are the ones that are in isolated enclaves. They are very
poor, they are much more isolated in terms of getting information,
etc, so there are lots of different types of pockets throughout
Sir John Stanley
81. Could I ask each of you what would you wish
to see the British Government saying as of now about what should
be the future status of Kosovo?
(Mr Steele) I think we should be pressing for the
kind of self-government arrangements that are already going forward
to try and work out a constitution for Kosovo that will provide
the sort of minority rights and individual protections that I
have mentioned before so that we make sure it is a state of law
which has been created. Secondly, we should be beginning diplomacy
at the United Nations (because after all the future status of
Kosovo does depend very much on the United Nations) to try and
get some serious hard-headed thinking about what should be going
forward. My personal bias, as I have made clear, is in favour
of the independence of Kosovo. I think that the least that the
British Government could do is to say, "This will never ever
be part of Yugoslavia again" so that they should foreclose
options. They do not necessarily have to say exactly when independence
for Kosovo should come or how its links with the rest of the world
should be worked out, but they have to make it clear that the
Yugoslav option is finished, just as a democratic thing. The Albanians
of Kosovo do not want that. For people to try and force them back
into Yugoslavia would be stupid, undemocratic and counter productive.
(Mr Judah) I am not so sure whether we have to make
announcements at this stage but I think we do have to fulfil the
obligation of 1244 which is to get moving on building the institutions.
I think it is absolutely essential to start shifting the responsibility
for running the place on to the people who live there. That is
the priority. I understand what you are saying. Part of the problem
is that we have to bear in mind the larger context and the fact
is that in Serbia there were 20 per cent of people who voted for
the hard line nationalist party. Was it 20 per cent, Misha, who
voted for the former Arkan Party? We are always going to have
to look over our shoulder, there is this revolutionist rump in
the Serbian body politic and there are people who say that Seselg
is not in parliament now, that he is an extreme nationalist but
he is biding his time, he is not finished. We should bear some
of those external factors in mind.
82. So you are saying that as far as you are
concerned you do not think the British Government should be expressing
any view at all about what the long term
(Mr Judah) I do not think we need to. What we need
to do is what we are committed to do on paper, which is implement
(Dr von Hippel) To add to that, it is almost dangerous
in a sense now to open questions on independence. If we want to
follow the line that we tried to with the Badinter Commission,
if we define what self-government or substantial autonomy means
and allow the Albanians the opportunity to show that they can
protect minority interests, then that is a sort of staging ground
for later discussions on independence. It would be better to consider
about independence later, to make them prove that they can actually
respect the rights of everyone who lives in that territory. As
to what the British Government can do, I suppose what Misha was
saying in terms of criminality, certainly they can put pressure
on the NAC. I think the NAC has more control over what is going
on in terms of allowing KFOR
83. The NAC?
(Dr von Hippel) The NATO Council. They are the ones
that provide the policy direction. They are the ones that are
saying to KFOR, "No, you cannot go and arrest the Albanian
mafia. You have to focus only on holding the borders tight."
That is not an issue any more because the Milosevic threat has
undermined that reason for KFOR to be there. To put pressure on
KFOR to change applies to everybody else.
That is quite important. I agree. I do not think 40,000 troops
should be painting schools and building bridges as much as they
should be working on trying to
84. It implies that the UNMIK police force is
(Dr von Hippel) They are not worthless. It is just
quite small. there may be 4,000 police. Some of them come from
countries that are not very strong in policing, so whenever you
involve the UN operation you have to bring in police from places
that are not necessarily as good. They need a lot of support.
There are certain things that KFOR just will not do that they
should be doing more, and they should be supporting more, or you
bring in more specialised police, gendarmerie-type police who
can do those types of things.
(Mr Glenny) I think that the most important thing
is to concentrate on building institutions, having, when it is
appropriate (ie when the structures are in place) parliamentary
elections, not constituent assembly elections but parliamentary
elections, so that the people of Kosovo take responsibility for
the government of that territory. I think it is counter productive
to talk about independence now. My own feeling is that Serbia
will understand that for most Serbs in Serbia within the next
ten to 15 years, as far as they are concerned, Kosovo is an economic
and political burden which they are better off jettisoning in
85. A lost cause?
(Mr Glenny) A lost cause, exactly. I know that privately
this is the opinion of several senior members of the Serbian and
Yugoslav Governments and it is a question as far as they are concerned
of timing. There is one other thing I would say about the independence
issue. I stress this frequently but it is very important. Talk
to the Macedonians about the independence of Kosovo and then you
will get a very hostile response to anything being done prematurely.
In terms of Kosovo's independence, which I think is inevitable
down the line, I would say just take this slowly and make sure
that the place is a functioning, decent place for people to live
before you move ahead on the independence question.
86. I want to come back to this issue of criminality
versus the political and economic stability and the ethnic hostility
issues. Is it not the case that it is really clutching at straws
to talk in terms of establishing institutions, the political stability
and the ethnic tolerance in Kosovo when the criminality itself
is to such a degree which goes far beyond the walls of Kosovo,
and in fact is deeply embedded in the systems that go back ten,
15 years under Milosevic, where organised crime was part of the
structure, part of the deal, with the ruling class or party in
power? With all due respect, and I do not wish to be in any way
aggressive about this, to talk about giving KFOR more power when
we are trying to solve what is basically an issue of international
crime seems to be clutching at straws. Is there not something
much more dramatic that needs to be done if we are going to bring
the Balkans under the rule of law to create the platform which
will establish stable political and democratic institutions? To
talk about independence in the light of what has happened in that
region frankly does not seem to be relevant. Could I ask your
views on that?
(Mr Steele) I think you can separate the two things.
I take your point that there is a lot of international criminality
and some of these people are linked with it, but it is still possible
to separate the two issues and concentrate on the rule of law
within Kosovo so that people can walk freely down the street.
87. Can you ring-fence Kosovo?
(Mr Steele) No, but I think it comes back to the point
that Misha Glenny made. You have to start arresting some of these
people and the only people who can do the arresting is KFOR. They
have to start arresting some of the leaders of these protection
rackets who are terrorising people in the housing estates and
so on. That has to be the way forward, so that this culture of
impunity is broken finally and some well known senior figures
are locked up.
88. Would you not accept that that is not the
role of the military forces which are currently in Kosovo? They
are not trained to act as
(Mr Steele) If you look at the UN resolution it does
talk about establishing order and security, so I think it certainly
is not a very big stretch of the terminology to say that KFOR
have a right to arrest people.
89. I am talking about the forces themselves.
They are trained as fighting soldiers, not as civilian policemen.
There is a great danger there if you start giving them a different
role. They are not trained for that role.
(Mr Steele) No, but that is a much wider issue.
90. Ask the Northern Irish.
(Mr Steele) That is a much wider issue, whether our
whole concept of peacekeeping in the 21st century needs to be
changed so that instead of having these heavily armed people who
are going in with armoured vehicles we should have people who
somehow straddle the gap between police and the military trained
for peacekeeping in a new context, but that is a different thing.
(Dr von Hippel) I agree with what you are saying in
some respects. It is also true that for the Albanians they had
to establish an underground economy anyway so the criminality
in some ways is linked in with maybe legal type activities that
they were doing anyway during the whole Milosevic period. What
we were trying to do in UNMIK was trying to change slowly, slowly,
without losing some of our own people. Yes, we have to start putting
taxes on these hotels that are now mafia rackets, and maybe you
do not start out with the Grand Hotel at first, but you start
out with smaller hotels and then take those bigger hotels.
This will do a lot to undermine some of the mafia elements.
91. Your assumption is that the Grand Hotel
and others are possibly a conduit for funds to mafia organisations?
(Dr von Hippel) Yes, or to certain politicians. That
is definitely the case.
Mr Mackinlay: It was not very grand either,
92. Is there not an amazing story about the
housing commissioner who tried to implement the building certificates
for the first time and he was shot dead?
(Dr von Hippel) And that was something that KFOR would
not go in and help secure. Initially they did not want to go and
get involved with all that illegal construction. They said, "That
is not our job; that is a police job", and as I was saying,
the police do not have the capacity to do that. There are not
enough of them to do that. Yes, of course, the militaries are
not necessarily trained to do this but who else can do it? We
have a very good overall military force in Kosovo which is primarily
European. Most of them are very highly trained. At the border
they can inspect more of the vehicles that are passing through.
They can put up more border checks maybe in some of these forested
areas like you probably saw in the Presevo Valley. There are lots
of weapons that slip in through those forests. There are certainly
things that they are trying to do that they could do more of but
they are quite afraid to move in that direction.
93. Mr Glenny said over and over again that
we do not want to create a culture of dependency in Kosovo as
has been done in Bosnia. I want to turn that backwards. Is there
anything we can do now to deal with the culture of dependency
in Bosnia and get that on an upward path instead of the sink for
money that it seems to be at present?
(Mr Glenny) I was in Belgrade over the weekend and
there were two or three people were there from Sarajevo, both
local and international people. All I can do is report their sentiments
which were extremely negative. They feel that the political process
in Bosnia is currently in stasis and that they are banging their
heads about what to do about this and no-one has come up with
anything concrete. Petritsch has tried to an extent through decrees
to get things moving but that puts you into the other problem
of it being a quasi-protectorate and everything coming from one
man and then the Bosnians themselves actually blaming Petritsch
for everything that goes wrong. There is a terrible problem in
Bosnia-Herzegovina because of the fact that this is, let us face
it, a Frankenstein constitution which encourages and enables people
of various communities to exploit its intricacies to their own
benefit. In this I do think that at some point you are going to
have to come round to a Dayton II, to a revision of the Dayton
Agreement, simply because this one ain't working.
Sir David Madel
94. How great is the risk that Kosovo Albanians
and Albania itself see the present situation as a stepping stone
for a greater Albania?
(Mr Steele) I do not think there is very much risk
of that at the moment. Most Kosovo Albanians feel that their standard
of living and general level of society is superior to what it
is in Albania. Many of them went to Albania for the first time
as refugees two years ago and were fairly horrified by the state
of paralysis in Albania and the state of infra-structural decay
and so on. I do not think they particularly want that. I think
they rather see their future as an independent Kosovo and get
on with that. I do not think that is a major issue.
(Mr Judah) I agree.
(Dr von Hippel) I agree too. Most of the Kosovo Albanians,
if you ask them anything, will even blame a lot of the criminality
on the Albanian Albanians.
(Mr Glenny) The socio-economic level of Albania is
so low that nationalism does not play a part there at the moment.
There is a problem, as I said, with the Albanians of Macedonia
and in 20 years' time the rest of the southern Balkans and the
Albanians themselves have to come to terms with the fact that
this is the coming nation of the southern Balkans and that there
will be constitutional problems of a variety of natures but that
is a little further down the line.
95. Mr Glenny has prompted us probably three
or four times in the last hour or so to think about Macedonia.
When we were in Belgrade we asked some journalists and we said,
"Where is the next cloud on the horizon?", and they
said, "Macedonia". You have sort of defined it. Do the
other three agree that Macedonia is a real potential problem and,
if so, are there any competence-building measures or anything
that the international community can do to avoid Macedonia becoming
the next big issue?
(Mr Steele) I would rather downplay it. I know Misha
Glenny has a reputation for being a sort of real champion of the
Macedonian issue but he knows a great deal more about it than
I do. I would say that the fact that Macedonia has a government
which consists of the more radical elements of the Albanian political
community and of the more radical Macedonians shows that the elites
can live together. Geographically there are special factors. The
fact is that a large number of Albanians are in Skopje, but nobody
is suggesting as far as I am aware even that western Macedonia
somehow become an independent Albanian entity, that they would
divide Skopje or that the whole of Skopje would also become part
of this entity because it is geographically impossible. If an
Albanian identity was somehow created in Macedonia there would
be a big problem for the large number of Albanians who live in
Skopje who do not want to go back to that rural environment. There
are geographical factors against the splitting up of Macedonia
but the main thing is that, first, they have had experience of
working together at the political level, the level of violence
is minimal in spite of these four terrorist incidents quite recently,
and I think we should not anticipate problems when they are not
there. The final point I would say is that even the arrival of
something like 200,000 Albanians from Kosovo during the refugee
crisis of 1999 did not destabilise Macedonia. It is very hard
for any society to have that number of people coming in and survive,
but it did remarkably well. I think that is a tribute to the resilience
and common sense of the leadership on both sides of that particular
ethnic divide and therefore I would not be so pessimistic as Misha
(Mr Glenny) Can I say that within 25 years the Albanians
will be a majority in Macedonia and I leave you with that thought.
I am talking about UN demographic projections now. All I am saying
is that it has remained stable up until now for a variety of political
reasons, but the elites of both communities have real difficulties
in bringing their communities along with them, and in terms of
what Jonathan was saying about the geographical thing, I agree
that what they were saying about Skopje is more or less true,
the population split in Okara(?) is now 50/50 and if there were
a Macedonian breakaway on the Albanian part I think you would
find it very hard to convince not only Macedonians but Bulgarians
as well that Okara should become part of some sort of Albanian
entity. This is a state which is internally very weak. There are
a number of government crises which it has survived but it is
always on the verge of tipping over. It needs backup from the
EU and it is a special case. It needs economic backup like no-one
else because that will convince the Albanians of western Macedonia
to stick with the Macedonia state for a while,
Chairman: That leads to our final area and that
is what are the Foreign Office doing bilaterally? Clearly we are
part of the EU. What can we do to stabilise the area within the
Sir John Maples
96. We have talked almost exclusively about
the political factor as well as the stability factor for the design
of which the EU has a responsibility for in large part and on
which plainly, Misha Glenny, in your memorandum you are very critical
about EU co-ordination. I wonder if you could explore that a little
more in depth and perhaps your colleagues would like to join in.
In particular I am interested in knowing are we seeing divisions
between having Solana's operation on the one hand and the Commission
on the other? Secondly, are we seeing divisions between different
directorates, between the external affairs people and other people
who are involved, and the Commissioners are not able to come together,
or is the differing agenda within the capacity of ministers?
(Mr Glenny) There are a number of problems here. I
do not think the stability pact is working as one would want it
to. It is too micro; it does not have an overall political vision
of where we are going and a lot of the economic projects it is
involved in seem to be having real difficulty getting off the
ground. There is a problem between Solana's office and the Commission,
in particular between the external affairs commissioner and Solana.
There is a problem of national governance. The running of the
stability pact is a consequence pretty much of German political
aspirations and I do not think they are working in the stability
pact. I strongly believedas I said in the memo I do not
think it is going to happenthat in order to overcome these
differences there should be a special directorate created for
south eastern Europe because the nature of the problems that we
have been discussing this morning is so difficult and so important
for the future stability of Europe that the Commission and Solana
and the national governments should agree to put aside their differences,
a lot of which are to do with bureaucratic one-up-manship, and
allow a small team with a significant executive authority to create
a proper strategic vision for what we are going to be doing in
south eastern Europe.
(Dr von Hippel) In terms of Kosovomany different
bits of the European Union have been involved in the Balkanswe
heard rumours also that certain people did not get along with
certain people, but in general we had a very good relationship
with the European Union. Internally, Solana and Patten would do
things together in Kosovo. Our only complaint was more about the
electricity in Kosovo. That was one of the areas the EU had responsibility
for but they were also doing budgets etc and they did a very good
(Mr Judah) I am not particularly qualified to answer
(Mr Steele) I will pass on the bureaucratic problems
within the EU. I would like to endorse what Mr Glenny has said
about the long term future. We have to see this as an economic
problem very largely and try to minimise and reduce the economic
development gap and the income and standard of living gap between
north and south Europe. This over-arches all these ethnic questions
we have been talking about. The EU has to make quite clear that
it is allowing in the exports of these countries in a generous
way and that trade is being fostered. That is the crucial thing.
The temptation always with bureaucrats is to look for big infrastructure
projects because it looks very nice to put a label up saying,
"This was built by the EU", but less dramatic things
like the civil society programme, fostering trade and so on are
more important in the long run.
Chairman: This has been perhaps more like a
seminar but all the more enlightening for that. May I thank our
panel most warmly on behalf of the Committee.
2 Note by witness: The UK could put pressure
on the NAC to give KFOR more flexibility. Back
Note by witness: They are all considered public property,
so thier finances should be transparent. Back