Thoughts and suggestions for a Kosovo peace settlement

April 18 & 19 1999

Peace Settlement Commission

The peace negotiations are conducted under the leadership of the UN. Since the US and EU countries are part of the problem and many of these are also members of the Security Council, a separate Peace Settlement Commission (PSC) could be appointed. The PSC might consist of people such as Helmut Kohl, Michael Gorbatsjov, George Bush, Nelson Mandela and Hosni Mubarak of Egypt. 

Political preconditions

  1. Europe's Prime Ministers will have to go. 
    1. Our PM's are either incompetent or morally abject. 
    2. The Kosovo affair will be studied by all parliaments of the Union and the results will be put for the general public.
  2. The US, the European Union and Russia will sign a trade agreement, in which the US and EU will lower their economic barriers, and Russia will improve on its internal economic conditions (legal framework, price stability, etc.). The US and EU will also subsidise and support the development of an electronic super highway in Russia.

Albania and Macedonia

If Albania is willing to accept Kosovar refugees as permanent settlers, and in principle all, then the European Union should adopt Albania as a special development region. 
  1. Cities, factories and tourist places will have to be built. 
  2. There should be no economic barriers for durable investments from Europe.
  3. Albania would become a member of the Union a.s.a.p. on condition of a sound democratic and legal structure, or an agreement to create this under direction of the EU. However, the free movement of people will only be possible after 8 years.

  4. Though Albania can call its price to a large extend, there are obvious reasonable limits. It won't work to overcharge, because that's bad for one's reputation.
Mutatis mutandis for Macedonia, for an apparently limited number of refugees. 


  1. Slobodan Milosevic will be brought to trial as a war criminal. If he does not show up to defend himself, the trial can continue without him. Admittedly, if Milosevic knows that he is on trial as a war criminal, he will fight harder to avoid getting caught, but one may presume that he already expected that. One supposes that Russia would not mind whether Milosevic is put in jail for many years as long as we clearly distinguish the person from the people.
  2. Negotiations will thus be with a new Yugoslavian (Serbian) government. This may even be a government in exile.
  3. It will be wise to bring Yugoslavia under a UN protectorate for 8 years. Social, economic and political relations have been disrupted, and international guidance is needed to restore peaceful conditions.
  4. While the major elements in this Peace Settlement can start immediately, UN forces will target to arrest Milosevic and to restoring peace for the remainder.


The Kosovars should put down their weapons. Western commentators (Enzensberger) have suggested to arm the Kosovars and "let them fight their own war". This could have the same effect as putting a child in a hungry lion's cage. It is better that the Kosovar men start building houses, schools and factories in Albania to start with. (Even if they would leave later, they might want to thank Albania for their help.) 


  1. Even if a new Yugoslavian government by mid summer calls for a retreat, there still can be fighting of Serb radicals with UN forces. Hence, most Kosovar refugees might be able to return to Kosovo only in the autumn of 1999. Many will indeed wish to go back.
  2. Serbian ground troops in Kosovo will have destroyed much property. There will also be much difficulty to establish what belongs to whom. Records have been and will be destroyed.
  3. Milosevic's policy of ethnic cleansing was wrong, but the UCK / KLA have aggravated the problem (like ETA or IRA). 
  4. The best solution is:
    1. This is not the time to decide on the future of the area.
    2. The whole of current Yugoslavia including Kosovo becomes a UN protectorate.
    3. Regions that show themselves capable of good government can earn degrees of self-government.
    4. The protectorate will be committed to economic integration, but after 8 years there can be regional plebiscites on political independence.
  5. Alternatives that have drawbacks are:
    1. Kosovo could become a UN protectorate while remaining a part of Yugoslavia.
      1. But, if Kosovo would be resettled by both Serbs and Kosovars, then this would be both risky to human lives and still require costly police forces.
    2. Kosovo could become a UN protectorate but no longer part of Yugoslavia, and in effect eventually an independent state. 
      1. But, giving the territory to the Kosovars could be a bad precedent for any separatist movement in the world.
      2. There are the additional problems in the region that indeed could be fueled.
      3. There still would be a tense border to watch.
    3. Kosovo could be divided, with a large no man's land in between or towards the Serbian border.
      1. It is more effective and efficient to simply keep everybody out.
      2. Many Kosovars will be shocked to hear that they have definitively lost their homes. Therefor a gradual change is advisable if this approach would be adopted. For this unusual approach these points seem relevant:
        1. People would be allowed to return to their homes. 
          1. But what they see will give bad memories.
          2. But parts of Kosovo would be economically closed.
          3. But they will only get relief support if they move to Albania (see above) or to an independent part of Kosovo.
        2. As Albania will prosper, one would suppose that many will eventually prefer to move. Indeed, many Kosovars would be wise enough to take the opportunity to build a new life in Albania a.s.a.p. anyway.
        3. The UN would set a legal limit on how long people could stay in the no man's land.
        4. Of course, radicals could start a guerrilla. That would not be a problem however, since the objective is to provide for a new home for most refugees, and a band of radicals in the mountains would not change the success of that policy.
      3. All Kosovo could be depopulated, and we could opt in an extreme case for a UN Wild Life Park. If the war takes longer, if the replacement of the Milosevic regime takes longer, if the Kosovars get settled in Albania, if the world community does not want an independent Kosovo, then this would become a logical option however extreme it sounds.


  1. NATO countries will pay Yugoslavia reparations for the bombs on the non-Kosovo territory. 
  2. Yugoslavia will pay Kosovars for their losses. (Ethnic cleansing is not a proper answer to being bombed.)
  3. UN countries will not pay Yugoslavia for the possible loss of Kosovo. (Ethnic cleansing is not a proper answer to being bombed.)


  1. A major part of the peace operation is to provide adequate information to the Kosovars and Serbs.
  2. It would be wise to embed this settlement in a wider settlement for the whole region.

Basic notion

A basic notion is that much of the above can be done now already. We don't have to wait for the capture of Milosevic to act. 
  1. We can provide for permanent settlement of many Kosovars in Albania, whether some or many will move back later or not. 
  2. We can work on better economic and political relationships between the US, EU and Russia, whatever becomes the final format of the peace. 
  3. Albania and Macedonia can already invite non-NATO countries to send in forces that could be put under the UN flag once the decisions have been taken, so that these forces are immeadiately present when needed. 
  4. In the same way the UCK / KLA should be changed shortly into an army of red cross helpers, guides and interpreters.
Thomas Cool