Europe South Asia Asia Pacific Americas Middle East Africa BBC Homepage World Service Education

Front Page



UK Politics







Talking Point
On Air
Low Graphics

Tuesday, October 13, 1998 Published at 12:31 GMT 13:31 UK

Will the deal work?

An achievement for diplomacy - backed by force

By Diplomatic Correspondent Barnaby Mason

Defence Correspondent Jonathan Marcus: "Deal will stand or fall on effectiveness of verification"
The deal made in Belgrade was depicted by Richard Holbrooke as the result of the collective efforts of the international community - including the Russians, who have campaigned against military action.

But will the agreement do what it is supposed to do?

[ image:  ]
The Russians played a role in helping persuade President Milosevic to accept a large outside mission to verify troop withdrawals, the end of violence and perhaps later the holding of elections in Kosovo.

But it is still a key question whether the ethnic Albanians living in miserable conditions in the hills will feel safe enough to return to their homes.

The 2,000 members of the verification mission won't have armed forces on the ground to back them up.

Risk of vulnerability

A Nato ground presence would have been much harder for Mr Milosevic to accept, and the western governments wanted to avoid committing troops if possible.

[ image:  ]
The risk is that without them, the mission will be vulnerable to challenge, delay and intimidation - as UN forces were in Bosnia.

The ultimate sanction is the threat of air strikes, but they would be more difficult to mount with large numbers of potential hostages in Kosovo.

As with the repeated confrontations with Iraq, the will to maintain the military pressure could gradually ebb away.

Mr Holbrooke did not mention the demand for co-operation with war crimes investigators - a hint that the issue will not be pushed too hard.

In the long term, everything will depend on whether a political settlement can be achieved between the Serbs and the ethnic Albanians.

Advanced options | Search tips

Back to top | BBC News Home | BBC Homepage |

Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East | South Asia

Internet Links


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.

In this section

Winter halts search for Kosovo victims

Prominent Serb shot in Kosovo

K-For 'lacks will' to protect Serbs

Nato chief: No single ethnic Kosovo

US general condemns French 'red card'

Losing Kosovo but keeping power: Sloba and Mira

Nato embassy attack 'not deliberate'

Serbian opposition settle differences

From Sci/Tech
Balkans environment 'seriously damaged'

UN chief makes first Kosovo visit

Kosovo mass grave uncovered

Aid linked to Milosevic removal

New K-For leader looks to rebuild

Freed Britons arrive home

Violence flares in Kosovo

Draskovic attends crash victim's funeral

Kosovo mass grave unearthed

Kosovo Gypsies stranded on border

Yugoslavia slams KLA deal

Nato assesses Kosovo lessons

Montenegro sues for 'coup'

From Health
Babies die in Kosovo aftermath

Pope calls for Balkan harmony

Kosovo Corps - an army for Kosovo?