This is my point by point “debunking” of Tadic’s arguments. Italicized paragraphs are my writings.
By Ferik Ferizaj
By BORIS TADIC
September 23, 2005
Wall Street Jurnal
Since my election more than 15 months ago, I have devoted considerable resources reforging a strategic partnership based on common democratic and market principles and interests among Serbia, the U.S. and Europe.
Since your election 15 months ago you have done nothing- No to mention the fact that your power in Serbia is very limited. The real power lies with the Prime Minister Kostunica. Serbia’s relation with the US and EU is the same as it was 15 months ago. “Common democratic and market principles” phrase has nothing to do with what Serbia has done in the last 15 months. This is an attempt on your part to find some sympathy from the American public.
Yet the months ahead will test the strength of our combined efforts, as we enter talks on the future status of Serbia's southern province of Kosovo and Metohija, under U.N. administration since June 1999. Success will cement the region's democratic revolutions; failure could plunge southeastern Europe back into the violence and instability of the recent past.
You cannot possibly be claiming to have been working with the US and EU for some shared goals in the region. In fact the EU and US have repeatedly denounced Serbia’s government obstructionism in relation to Kosovo[Kosova]. In addition to that you have made no effort to arrest war crime suspects roaming the streets of Belgrade- the same cannot be said for the EU and US. It is true that the successful resolution to the Kosovo[Kosova] question will help the whole region. You are stating here an argument that the whole world agrees with. This is again an attempt to find agreements with readers.
As president, it is my duty to defend the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Serbia, which the international community unambiguously recognizes as encompassing Kosovo and Metohija. What is equally certain is that the process can move forward successfully only when states begin to coordinate among themselves to find ways of accommodating one another's interests.
First of, International community does not recognize Kosovo with the name you refer to here -Kosovo and Metohija. Secondly, no one disputes your right to defend the so called sovereignty of Serbia. As of right now,thought, Serbia has not such sovereignty over Kosovo[Kosova]. It should also be pointed out that The President of Kosovo has similar duties as yours- defend the sovereignty of Kosovo. One must not forget to mention the fact that Milosevic used this strategy to wage four wars in 1999. Do you intend to go as far as he did?
The challenge of finding a negotiated, mutually acceptable solution must be seen in its proper context. Indeed, during the lost decade of the 1990s, the violent ultranationalism of opportunistic postcommunist strongmen brought great misery to millions of people.
Sounds nice, but we all know that there is no such thing as a mutually accepted solution when it comes to Kosovo. This is pure rhetoric. Your government has lost any right to be trusted by the Kosovo people- as you do not fulfill your end of the barging (as has been shown before). On your second point, sir, you fail to mention the fact that Serbs were the main protagonist of these miseries. It wasn’t some kind of ultranationalism or postcommunism that cased all this suffering- it was the democraticly elected government of Serbia that instigated all the suffering you talk about.
Southeastern Europe today presents a different picture. There is widespread recognition that our joint future lies in full European and trans-Atlantic integration -- a guarantor of democratic prosperity to all who have reaped the benefits of membership. For the first time since the fall of the Berlin Wall, the region looks to a hopeful, reconciled, secure and prosperous future. Certainly, obstacles remain, but the road ahead lies clearly before us.
For the most part this paragraph is accurate. I would just add that Serbia remains the main obstacle to peace and prosperity.[Issues to resolve: Arresting of Mladic and Karadzic, resolution of Montenegro status and interference in Kosovo. And,please stop using poor K-Serbs as your pawns].
But all this tangible progress could be derailed if we do not properly handle the talks on the future status of Kosovo[Kosova], slated to begin in the months ahead. It is imperative that stakeholders in its future come together to build a principled peace with justice by doing the things that a lasting settlement requires.
Correct. A lasting settlement requires that Albanians not be ruled by Belgrade. Or do you somehow fancy Albanians living under your rule? How would that settle the issue?
Regrettably, for some the temptation is either to resolve things by foreign fiat or to succumb to the blackmail of those who argue that violence will follow if their demands are not met.
Wells sir, Kosovars do not have the luxury of taking your word for granted. It is very reasonable to have larger states as guarantors of Kosovo status. Once again, it must be pointed out, Serbian governments are known to renege on their obligations. The talk of violence is not a thread- it’s a rhetoric used by your side to try to score some points. You lost Kosovo violently.
Yet the unmistakable key to securing the region's liberty is to rid it of the nightmare nationalist ideologies of the past where ethnic cleansing, organized church burnings and drive-by shootings are accepted tools of politics. Instead we must embark on a journey that leads to a strategic solution, not an expedient one that takes up the cause of special interests. Thus it would be unreasonable to allow the process to gallop toward a premature solution based on abstract promises, ignoring concrete results already achieved on the ground.
Sir, in this whole article you never mention a thing about Serb crimes Committed in Kosovo and elsewhere, but you keep mentioning “organized churches burning and drive by shooting”. It’s incredible that you dare to compare “drive by shooting and church burning” with mass slaughtering, village burning and pillaging of the whole country. You have the balls to compare these two situations!
In this light, I see Serbia's proactive role in Kosovo's future status talks as an opportunity, not a liability, precisely because the stakes are so high: the future of our democracy, and the future of the region as a whole.
Serbia has no opportunity when it comes to Kosovo. She has plenty of Liabilities, and that has to do with the destruction it caused in Kosovo during the war. We are talking here billions of dollars.
We must all act responsibly in this time of opportunity, and this means that all of us must together formulate the rules that define the approach to a solution. And should Serbia's strategic partners fail to take seriously my country's legitimate interests, such a path would in the end secure no one's liberty.
Please stop trying to suck up to the west. What “strategic partners” are you talking about? Serbia has no such partners in the West. “Such a path would in the end secure no one's liberty”--- are you threatening now? I thought you said force should not the ultimate tool.
For our part, we have already acknowledged that the future status of Kosovo will not resemble that of the 1990s. And in the near future, we intend to put forward concrete proposals on such issues as moving the process of decentralization forward and demilitarizing Kosovo [Kosova[; fighting ethnic- and religious-based terrorism; the sustainable return of the more than 200,000 cleansed Serbs, Roma, Turks and others to Kosovo; genuine promotion of democracy; protection of human rights; and safeguarding of religious freedom.
For your part, you will have very little saying how the status of Kosovo [Kosova] will be resolved. As far as the decentralization is concerned- you have no input there either. It’s the responsibility of Kosovo’s government to do that. Ethnic and religious based terrorism is a Serbian creation- no such thing exists in Kosovo. Please do not speak about other minorities as you do not represent them. They are represented very well in Kosovo’s parliament and government. We are all for human right and religious freedom- including in Serbia.
The demands of diplomacy in regions with consolidating democracies such as my own require moving forward honestly. First and foremost, Serbs and Albanians must speak honestly among themselves and directly with each other.
This paragraph says nothing. Honesty is not a word the Serbian government associates itself with.
Perhaps more importantly, the dictates of honesty make demands of Serbia's strategic partners as well. Double standards may work in dictatorships, but they are fundamentally inappropriate in democracies. Diplomacy must adapt to the democratic requirements and not the expedients to which one had become accustomed when tyrants prevailed in southeastern Europe.
Speaking of double standards-Can you guarantee all the rights to minorities that live in Serbia the same rights that Kosovo[Kosova] guarantees to her minorities? And speaking of democracy, Serbs have shown time and again that they prefer extremists and Neo- Nazis to govern them (Radical Party & Socialism Party). Sounds like you fear an imposed solution!
The U.S. and Europe must come to terms with the fact the situation in Kosovo is much worse than any of us would like it to be. The worst sort of tyranny of the majority reigns over this land. Kosovo's Serbs, Roma, Turks and other non-Albanians live in conditions worse than those in which Kosovo's Albanians lived during the era of Slobodan Milosevic. In fact, they live in the most abysmal conditions of anyone in Europe.
This is hyperbolic exaggerations. How dare you compare the situations Serbs find themselves today (and please don’t mention other minorities as you do not represent them) to the situation Albanians had to go through for decades. How dare you compare occasional shootouts with mass slaughtering? You sound like Milosevic in sheep’s clothing’s.
To gloss over this tragic reality as we approach Kosovo's future status talks is to enter into the process recklessly. This would be of great detriment to the success of our common endeavor, and would blind us to the historic opportunity before us to bring prosperous, democratic stability to the entire region for good.
The reality is that you are glossing over the mass slaughtering and town burning and pillaging that your government committed in Kosovo and elsewhere. How do you expect anybody to take your words for granted?
So let us take up the challenge and do what needs to be done to conquer the past and build a better future for southeastern Europe: a future with no winners or losers, a future of cooperation and integration, a future free of fear, suspicion and mistrust.
So let us take up the challenge and do what needs to be done to confront the past and build a better future for southeastern Europe.
Mr. Tadic is the president of Serbia.
Mr. Ferik Ferizaj is a supporter of the President of Kosovo [Kosova]