190. During the last decade more than 90,000 have
been killed in the Balkan wars and civil conflicts. At one time
or another more than 4.5 million people have been displaced from
their homes. NATO has been compelled to go to war for the first
time in its history. More than 70,000 international troops, including
6,900 from the United Kingdom, maintain peace in Bosnia and Kosovo.
This is certainly not a "quarrel in a far away country between
people of whom we know nothing."
Events in the Balkans cannot be separated from
European security. The power of instant media coverage of the
conflicts and humanitarian disasters is now a major foreign policy
factor, forcing governments to act. Other than altruistic and
humanitarian motives there is also a mutual self interest of Western
European governments to prevent major refugee flows across porous
boundaries. As this Report further underlines, what happens in
Serbia, Bosnia, Montenegro, Macedonia and Kosovo matters, and
influences European security and stability.
Our report was prompted by the dramatic events
in Belgrade in October 2000a people's revolution which
overthrew Milosevic. We have attempted to evaluate the consequences
of these dramatic events not only upon Serbia but also upon the
immediate issues confronting its neighbours, Bosnia, Montenegro,
Kosovo and Macedonia, and of course, upon United Kingdom and Western
During the course of our deliberations we have
identified that certain key assumptions at the centre of Western
and UN policy are frankly unreal. There is precious little substance
to the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. Two parts of its territory
are de facto outside its jurisdiction. In any
meaningful timescale there is little or no likelihood that Kosovo
will wish to enter into a relationship which could be considered
remotely federal. Montenegro is about to embark on a referendum
to consider seceding from the Federal Republic.
That does not mean, of course, that new relationships
cannot be created in the future. There may come a time when mutual
self interest will forge such a relationship; though it would
be foolish to assume mutual economic interest will easily override
the intense bitterness engendered by recent conflicts or endemic
in historic experience.
Secondly, there is an unreal assumption both within
the UN resolution 1244 and international policy pronouncements,
that there is any likelihood in a meaningful timescale of a restored
multi-ethnic Kosovo; while 100,000 Serbs live in enclaves, tightly
guarded by KFOR, more than 100,000 refugees remain outside with
little hope of returning. Albanian/Serb co-operation within Kosovo
One of the more immediate challenges will be the
issue of Montenegro's status. While we more than understand the
reluctance of the international community to see further fragmentation,
and conscious of the fact that such earlier secession fuelled
conflict, we have concluded that Montenegrin independence, if
endorsed by a free and fair referendum, should be manageable.
A far greater threat to peace and stability are the unresolved
issues surrounding Kosovo and Macedonia.
It was not our original intention to revisit Kosovo
during this inquiry. But both events and unresolved issues have
compelled us to do so. We call for an urgent and more intense
dialogue with the Kosovo Albanians both to carry forward change
within Kosovo and to stem Kosovo as a source of violence and conflict
within neighbouring territories.
The growing tension and violence in Macedonia
have a frighteningly similar pattern to that experienced in Bosnia.
The British Government should take the most urgent steps to galvanize
the international community into giving both the UN and NATO a
clear remit to bring the situation in Macedonia under control
and counter Albanian extremist violence against Macedonia.
However, amid an essentially gloomy and threatening
situation, the real positive hope for the future of the region
will be the development of a democratic and economically reformed
Serbia/FRY. The source of much of the original conflicts, Serbia
now has the capacity to be a powerful positive political and economic
force, under courageous democratic leadership. The new democratic
Serbia deserves the full support of the United Kingdom and international
395 Neville Chamberlain, radio speech, 27 September