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From: John Caruso <caruso@paradiso.umuc.edu>
Subject: Economic provisions of Rambouillet
Date: Thu, 17 Jun 1999 05:22:25 -0400 (EDT)



Recently a good bit of attention in the independent media has been focused
on the sections of the Rambouillet proposal (in particular Appendix B)
which would have granted NATO colonial powers over all of Yugoslavia.
These sections are important because they make it clear that there was
never a serious intention for Yugoslavia to sign the document; indeed, no
sovereign nation would have done so willingly.  However, the economic
provisions of Rambouillet tend to get short shrift, though they are
arguably even more important in understanding just how little the proposal
had to do with establishing peace between the Yugoslavian government and
the separatist KLA.

Here are some relevant quotes from the document:

Chapter 4
Economic Issues

Article I

1. The economy of Kosovo shall function in accordance with free
   market principles.


6. Federal and other authorities shall within their respective powers
   and responsibilities ensure the free movement of persons, goods,
   services, and capital to Kosovo, including from international
   sources. They shall in particular allow access to Kosovo without
   discrimination for persons delivering such goods and services.

7. If expressly required by an international donor or lender,
   international contracts for reconstruction projects shall be
   concluded by the authorities of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia,
   which shall establish appropriate mechanisms to make such funds
   available to Kosovo authorities.  Unless precluded by the terms of
   contracts, all reconstruction projects that exclusively concern Kosovo
   shall be managed and implemented by the appropriate Kosovo authority. 


Article II

1. The Parties agree to reallocate ownership and resources in accordance
   insofar as possible with the distribution of powers and responsibilities
   set forth in this Agreement, in the following areas:

     (a) government-owned assets (including educational institutions,
         hospitals, natural resources, and production facilities); 


[ http://www.state.gov/www/regions/eur/ksvo_rambouillet_text.html ]

First, ask yourself: what are these provisions doing in a "peace agreement"
at all?  Why were the US and NATO attempting to mandate a free market
economy for Kosovo, if the purpose of Rambouillet was to stop the fighting
and protect the civilian population?

Article I section 6 is especially interesting.  The necessity of such a
clause in the first place is questionable.  However, the explicit mention
of "movement of...capital", specifically "from international sources", hints
at the true significance.  This clause opens the door for transnational
corporations and foreign investment capital to have free and unhindered
access to Kosovo.  Historically the desire to open new markets has been
a major motivation in imperialist expansion by Western countries; it
appears not much has changed.

Article II section 1 takes this further by essentially laying out the
privatization of all remaining socialist ("government-owned") assets in
Kosovo.  It's notable that "natural resources" are named explicitly,
since one of the motivations which has been suggested for the NATO attack
is a desire to control the Trepca mining complex--one of the richest in
the world--which is a major source of gold, silver, zinc, cadmium, and
other ores.  The reference to "production facilities" supports Michael
Parenti's assertion that one of the motivations of the West in the breakup
of Yugoslavia was the desire to sell off factories, utilities, and other
state assets "at garage sale prices" (as has happened in Bosnia since the
signing of the Dayton Accords).

Article I section 7 mandates that Yugoslavia must turn over reconstruction
projects to the newly-established "Kosovo authorities" if this is "required
by an international donor or lender".  Furthermore, all reconstruction
projects within Kosovo will be completely under the control of these
Kosovo authorities, with no participation by Yugoslavia.  This clause is
paradoxical in pre-bombing terms, since the fighting between the KLA and
Yugoslavian government authorities was concentrated in small, outlying
areas and therefore reconstruction efforts would have been minimal.  Its
significance post-bombing, though, is obvious: the destruction of huge
portions of the essential infrastructure of Kosovo will require an equally
large reconstruction effort (occasionally mentioned in the press as a new
Marshall Plan for Kosovo or for the Balkans in general).  Given the thesis
that the Rambouillet proposal was not intended to foster peace, but rather
to provide NATO with a pretext for initiating the war, could this clause
have been included in anticipation of a massive bombing campaign and the
resulting reconstruction windfall?

The provisions of Rambouillet which give NATO full and unhindered access
to all of Yugoslavia are certainly damning for anyone who wants to claim
that Rambouillet was a reasonable proposal, and Yugoslavia's failure to
accept it unjustified.  But the economic provisions are even more damning
since they so clearly have nothing to do with establishing peace.  If at
this point you still believe that the US and NATO are attacking Kosovo
for "humanitarian" reasons, read the full text of Rambouillet and see what
you think when you're done.

And finally, if you believe in a free and independent press, ask yourself
why there has been nearly no analysis of Rambouillet either before or after
March 24th.  Even now that the issue is being forced by some independent
journalists, it's not receiving major media coverage; networks like CNN
which have 15-20 minute spots for every piece of alleged massacre footage
they can find, and for every refugee interview they can get which implicates
individual soldiers or paramilitaries in crimes, don't have a minute to
spare to analyze the document which led directly to the NATO bombings.  As
Norman Solomon pointed out, they say that it's "old news" now--but they
never reported it in the first place!  In fact, a week after the bombing
began the San Francisco Examiner went so far as to decry the refusal
of Yugoslavia to "honor the fair and balanced peace plan crafted at
Rambouillet", a statement so extraordinarily inaccurate that one wonders
if they had seen even a brief summary of the document.  As long as the
American public remains uninformed--or systematically misinformed--in
this way, they will never understand the true character and significance
of this war.

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