Kosovo peace plan leaves some critical details up in air
June 3, 1999
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The Kosovo peace plan approved Thursday by the Yugoslav parliament appears to meet NATO's demands. But as U.S. officials cautioned, the "devil is in the details," and many details remain to be worked out before the Kosovo conflict can be solved.
For example, the plan states that the U.N. Security Council -- where Russia has a veto -- will decide on Kosovo's interim government. Serbs believe that will give them some key leverage.
"The role of the U.N. is re-emphasized," said Vladislav Jovanovic, the Yugoslav charge d'affaires to the United Nations.
Other questions as yet unanswered by the peace plan include:
"We in the United States, and I think this a view shared by all our allies, think that it would be a very good thing if Russia were part of (the peacekeeping force)," said U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott.
U.S. officials point to the way Russian and American troops have worked together in Bosnia keeping the peace as a model for Kosovo, but there is no agreement yet.
There is also the question of the ethnic Albanian Kosovo Liberation Army will react. Is the rebel group willing to be disarmed, as called for in the plan?
"The Kosovar Albanians were not consulted and it's a big mistake and that's another reason why this may not be workable," said James Fox, a former State Department official.
Another key issue is who will command the peacekeepers.
The United States said the force must be under the military command of NATO. The peace plan said the forces will be under overall U.N. jurisdiction.
"Before the United States puts a single soldier in, or anybody else from NATO, you have to be sure about who's in charge," said Robert Hunter, former U.S. ambassador to NATO. "And there's a test: will refugees feel comfortable enough to go home?"
But while the deal is not yet done, U.S. officials are pointing out that their strategy of sticking with the air campaign for more than 10 weeks does appear to have convinced the Serbs to give in to NATO's demands. They aren't celebrating at the Pentagon yet, but they are relieved.
Yugoslav OK of peace plan cautiously welcomed by Washington
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