[Senate Prints 107-4]
[From the U.S. Government Printing Office]

107th Congress                                                  S. Prt.
 1st Session                COMMITTEE PRINT                       107-4



                                A REPORT


                      SENATOR JOSEPH R. BIDEN, JR.

                                 TO THE


                          UNITED STATES SENATE


                              FEBRUARY 2001

        Printed for the use of the Committee on Foreign Relations


                     U.S. GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE
70-122 CC                    WASHINGTON : 2001

                  JESSE HELMS, North Carolina, Chairman

RICHARD G. LUGAR, Indiana              JOSEPH R. BIDEN, Jr., Delaware
CHUCK HAGEL, Nebraska                  PAUL S. SARBANES, Maryland
GORDON H. SMITH, Oregon                CHRISTOPHER J. DODD, Connecticut
CRAIG THOMAS, Wyoming                  JOHN F. KERRY, Massachusetts
BILL FRIST, Tennessee                  RUSSELL D. FEINGOLD, Wisconsin
LINCOLN D. CHAFEE, Rhode Island        PAUL D. WELLSTONE, Minnesota
GEORGE ALLEN, Virginia                 BARBARA BOXER, California
SAM BROWNBACK, Kansas                  ROBERT G. TORRICELLI, New Jersey
                                       BILL NELSON, Florida

                    Stephen E. Biegun, Staff Director
                 Edwin K. Hall, Democratic Staff Director

                         LETTER OF TRANSMITTAL


                                                  February 9, 2001.
The Honorable Jesse Helms,
Chairman, Committee on Foreign Relations.

    Dear Mr. Chairman: From January 9 to 15, I traveled to the 
Balkans to learn more about the progress of stabilization and 
democratization in Kosovo, Serbia, and Bosnia and Herzegovina 
and to reassess the proper role of the United States in those 
    In traveling in the Balkans, I was accompanied by Dr. 
Michael Haltzel, Professional Staff Member of the Foreign 
Relations Committee, Alan Hoffman, my Chief of Staff, and 
Colonel Randy Hutcherson of the U.S. Marine Corps. Our group 
was given invaluable assistance by the Embassies of the United 
States in Belgrade and Sarajevo, and by the United States 
Office in Pristina.
    Mr. Chairman, as you know, for several years there has been 
spirited debate about our Balkan policy. I return from this 
trip convinced that President Bush and Secretary of State 
Powell will have to take into consideration three fundamental 
facts as they craft U.S. foreign policy toward Southeastern 
    First, the Balkans are not a strategic side-show. 
Southeastern Europe remains central to security for the entire 
continent and, hence, for the United States.
    Second, the kaleidoscope of Balkan peoples with their 
distinctive cultures and histories makes it inevitable that 
progress toward stable democracies and free-market economies 
will be uneven, varying considerably from country to country. 
Despite the frustration that many American leaders, with their 
penchant for instant solutions, may feel at the gradual pace of 
development, we must commit to being engaged for the long haul. 
This will require designing and implementing a comprehensive, 
activist policy for Southeastern Europe in coordination with 
our allies.
    Third, such a regional development policy, and continued 
U.S. leadership of NATO, both depend upon an American military 
presence on the ground in the Stabilization Force (SFOR) in 
Bosnia and in the Kosovo Force (KFOR) until the missions are 
successfully completed.
    President Reagan often spoke of a ``Europe whole and free'' 
as one of his chief foreign policy goals. This should not be 
viewed as merely a slogan. It is simply untenable for Western 
Europe to proceed along the path of ever closer union and ever 
growing prosperity if Southeastern Europe languishes in 
perpetual poverty and ethnic hostility, which periodically 
erupts into internecine bloodletting. The massive refugee 
movements occasioned by the Balkan wars of the 1990's are only 
a prelude to what will happen unless the zone of stability is 
extended eastward and southeastward on the continent.
    Given the unparalleled web of political, economic, social, 
and military ties between the United States and Europe, acute 
danger of this spill-over effect is a question of the highest 
importance for this country. Critics of Balkan peacekeeping 
operations have constructed a false dichotomy between 
``humanitarian interventions'' and Realpolitik. In actuality, 
the former are relatively low-cost preventative measures, which 
if done well, make full-scale military actions, incomparably 
more expensive in blood and treasure, unnecessary.
    Much media attention has been accorded the ethnic tension 
and persistent problems of governance, corruption, and 
criminality in Bosnia and Kosovo, and to varying lesser degrees 
in other Balkan countries. Even in Kosovo and Bosnia, however, 
a new generation of leaders is emerging, which can overcome the 
legacy of war crimes, mass murder, and economic catastrophe.
    In Pristina and Sarajevo, I met with politicians who 
understand that stoking the fires of hatred only mires their 
people in misery. They cannot forget the horrors of the 1990's, 
but they realize that inter-ethnic cooperation is the sole 
viable path to progress. We and our allies must make clear that 
our security umbrella and economic assistance will continue to 
support Bosnia and Kosovo, but only if they rapidly pick up the 
pace of their own domestic reform and, in the case of Bosnia, 
the country frees itself from the political and economic 
stranglehold of the three nationalist parties.
    In formulating its approach to the region, the Bush 
Administration also should not neglect significant good news. 
The Croatian electorate has decisively repudiated the party of 
the late authoritarian President Franjo Tudjman. The new Mesic/
Racan government in Zagreb is courageously confronting the 
country's checkered recent history and is attempting to prepare 
Croatia for joining democratic Europe.
    Last fall the Serbian people rid themselves of the criminal 
tyrant Slobodan Milosevic. I met in Belgrade with Yugoslav 
President Vojislav Kostunica and Serbian Prime Minister Zoran 
Djindjic. We did not agree on every short- or medium-term 
tactic that Yugoslavia should pursue, but I came away with the 
strong impression that the new government has definitively 
rejected the aggressive, xenophobic nationalism of Milosevic, 
which brought such ruin to the Serbian people and many of its 
    My hope--as yet unrealized--is that these two leaders will 
begin to educate Serbs about crimes against humanity 
perpetrated in their name, an effort that includes cooperating 
fully with the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former 
Yugoslavia in The Hague.
    Mr. Chairman, I believe we should seize the moment to build 
upon the important openings in Zagreb and Belgrade by 
supporting the new governments with targeted democratization, 
technical, and economic assistance as part of, not in 
competition with, the Stability Pact for South Eastern Europe, 
a joint development venture that is more than 95 percent funded 
by our Western European allies.
    Just as we redouble our efforts in the region's lingering 
trouble spots, we should reward national success stories. The 
enlargement of NATO in 1999 to include Poland, the Czech 
Republic, and Hungary was a critical first step in the process 
of extending the zone of stability eastward in Europe. At its 
next summit meeting in 2002, NATO should continue the process 
by inviting democratic, prosperous Slovenia to become a member. 
The peoples of the Balkans must not believe that they are seen 
in the West as congenitally incapable of joining the trans-
Atlantic community. If one of their number fulfills the 
alliance's stringent requirements for membership, as Slovenia 
manifestly has, then it should be welcomed forthwith as a full-
fledged partner.
    The southern and eastern Balkans present a different 
challenge. Romania, the most strategically important country in 
the region, is emerging from last fall's traumatic presidential 
choice between a neo-fascist and an ex-communist. It is in our 
national interest vigorously to help the Iliescu/Nastase 
government in Bucharest reverse the corrupt and anti-reformist 
record it compiled in the early 1990's. Under President Petar 
Stoyanov and Prime Minister Ivan Kostov, neighboring Bulgaria 
has made encouraging political, economic, and social progress, 
and it should similarly be assisted in accelerating this trend. 
We must also continue to support the impoverished, struggling 
democracies in Albania and Macedonia.
    None of these measures is possible without the continued 
presence of American troops on the ground in SFOR in Bosnia and 
KFOR in Kosovo. They are seen by the people in the region as a 
litmus test of our genuine commitment to progress in the 
Balkans. The two missions together account for little more than 
one percent of our defense budget. Moreover, troops of our 
European allies already make up approximately four-fifths of 
both forces. For our less than one-fifth contribution, we 
retain control of both SFOR and KFOR in the person of U.S. Air 
Force General Joseph Ralston, Supreme Allied Commander Europe 
(SACEUR)--burden-sharing that is highly advantageous to the 
United States.
    Moreover, at a time when some on the continent are 
clamoring to develop the European Union's security and defense 
policy independent of NATO, I believe that it would be the 
height of folly unilaterally to withdraw our ground troops from 
Bosnia or Kosovo. The leading country of NATO cannot just 
declare a smorgasbord principle of involvement in alliance 
missions already well underway.
    Dealing with the Balkans has always been difficult, but the 
stakes are too high for us to shy away from the challenge. If 
the Bush Administration recognizes the need for continued 
engagement in Southeastern Europe, it can expect my support and 
the support of many other Members of both parties on Capitol 
                                      Joseph R. Biden, Jr.,
                                                    Ranking Member.

                            C O N T E N T S


Letter of Transmittal............................................   iii

  I. Principal Conclusions.......................................     1

 II. Observations................................................     3

III. Roster of Meetings in Kosovo, Serbia, and Bosnia and 
  Herzegovina....................................................    12

                        I. Principal Conclusions


    1. The Balkans remain central to the security of all of 
Europe and, hence, of the United States.

    2. Progress toward stable democracies and free-market 
economies in the Balkans will be uneven, varying from country 
to country. Time is on our side. Within the past year voters in 
both Croatia and Serbia have thrown out the parties of their 
former authoritarian rulers Franjo Tudjman and Slobodan 
Milosevic, democratic and prosperous Slovenia is poised to 
enter both NATO and the European Union, and democratic 
governments elsewhere in the Balkans have charted reform 
courses, which they are trying to carry out.

    3. The United States, together with our Western European 
allies, must speedily implement the Stability Pact, a 
comprehensive development program for Southeastern Europe.

    4. This regional development policy, and continued U.S. 
leadership of NATO, both depend upon an American military 
presence on the ground in the Stabilization Force (SFOR) in 
Bosnia and in the Kosovo Force (KFOR) until the missions are 
successfully completed.


    5. KFOR has done an excellent job at pacifying the 
province. Some violence continues, but at a much lower level 
than in 1999 and early 2000.

    6. It would be a disaster if the U.S. were unilaterally to 
pull its troops out of Kosovo or Bosnia. The local populations, 
in general, have confidence only in the Americans. Of the 
Balkan leaders, only Yugoslav President Vojislav Kostunica 
seems to really trust the West Europeans, and even he is 
waiting to see what the U.S. is going to do before he finalizes 
his policies.

    7. The three leading Albanian Kosovar political figures--
Ibrahim Rugova, Hashim Thaci, and Ramush Haradinaj--have all 
called for an end to violence against Kosovo Serbs. Although 
they do not have complete control over their people, inter-
ethnic violence has abated.

    8. Cooperation between KFOR and UNMIK in Kosovo is far 
better than between SFOR and the U.N. Mission in Bosnia.

    9. The number of Kosovar police is inadequate. The target 
should be closer to 10,000 than to 5,000.

    10. There is near-unanimity among Albanian Kosovars that 
they want independence, but a decision on the final status of 
Kosovo should be postponed until considerably more political 
and economic progress is achieved.

    11. The Albanian Kosovars are eager for elections at the 
provincial level as a chance for them to show that they can 
exercise responsibility in government. The elections will 
probably be held this fall. The exact timetable may be decided 
by Hans Haekkerup, the new Special Representative of the U.N. 
Secretary General in Kosovo, who plans to carry out a detailed 
process of drafting framework laws as a prerequisite for 
holding elections.


    12. Serbia is currently more concerned with the situation 
in Montenegro than with Kosovo. Stopping the ``territorial 
dissolution'' of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY) is 
Belgrade's primary goal at the moment.

    13. While Serbia's positions on Montenegro and Kosovo do 
not coincide with ours, the Serbian and Yugoslav leaders 
(Yugoslav President Kostunica, Serbian Prime Minister Zoran 
Djindjic, Yugoslav Foreign Minister Goran Svilanovic) ruled out 
any use of force to attain their goals.

    14. There is a spectrum of views on Kosovo, roughly ranging 
from ``Kosovo will remain a part of the FRY'' to ``Kosovo will 
remain a de jure part of the FRY, but Belgrade will be unable--
and would not want--to exercise effective control over it.''

    15. On the United States, views range from ``we don't like 
the U.S. and prefer to deal with Europe, which is prepared to 
give us more assistance'' to ``we don't like the U.S. but we're 
prepared to work with it'' to ``we are ready to work with the 
U.S. and, in particular, we urge Washington to give Kosovo 
economic assistance.''

    16. The ethnic Albanian guerillas (UCPMB) in the Ground 
Security Zone (GSZ) in the Presevo Valley are a serious 
irritant, but not a grave military danger to Serbia. The 
guerillas are composed of three distinct groups that do not 
coordinate policies. Although the groups do receive some 
material assistance from within Kosovo, they are not being 
directed by elements of the former Kosovo Liberation Army.

    17. The practice of Serbian special police of evicting 
locals from their houses is alienating the local population in 
the Presevo Valley. A political situation there is essential. 
The Serbian government is in quiet negotiations with KFOR, and 
a compromise may well be possible, which would put heavy 
pressure on the UCPMB to come to terms with Belgrade.

                         Bosnia and Herzegovina

    18. Contrary to the initial analysis, last fall's elections 
have led to a breakthrough opportunity for democracy. For the 
first time, a non-nationalist coalition of ten parties led by 
moderate Bosniak socialist Zlatko Lagumdzija now controls the 
lower house of the Federation Parliament.

    19. In the Republika Srpska (RS), newly elected Prime 
Minister Ivanic is attempting to put together an apolitical 
``government of experts'' with no cabinet portfolio to be given 
to a member of the SDS, the party of Radovan Karadzic, a move 
that would cause the U.S. to end most of its assistance to the 

    20. There is even a chance that a non-nationalist majority 
can be formed in the Bosnia and Herzegovina parliament.

    21. The three nationalist parties--the Muslim SDA, the 
Croat HDZ, and the Serb SDS--still control many of the 
political and economic levers of power. The parliamentary 
changes, however, reflect a slow, but steady trend in every 
Bosnian election since 1996 in favor of the non-nationalist 

    22. If the perception grows that Kosovo will attain 
independence, it would put huge pressure on moderate Bosnian 
Serbs like Republika Srpska Prime Minister Ivanic to cease 
helping to create a unified, multinational Bosnia and 
Herzegovina and to yield to nationalist calls to join the RS to 

    23. Corruption remains the single biggest barrier to both 
political and economic development in Bosnia and Herzegovina, 
particularly to direct foreign investment. With non-nationalist 
coalitions now in control of both the Federation and the 
Republika Srpska, for the first time there is hope that the 
corruption issue will be effectively addressed.

                            II. Observations


    The indispensable factors in creating the conditions for 
the development of free-market democracies in Kosovo and in 
Bosnia and Herzegovina are the Kosovo Force (KFOR) and the 
Stabilization Force (SFOR). Both forces are led by the North 
Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), whose Supreme Commander 
Europe (SACEUR) is General Joseph Ralston USAF.
    In Kosovo, I stayed at Camp Bondsteel, the sprawling U.S. 
military base in the heart of the U.S. Sector, just north of 
the border with the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia 
(FYROM). At Bondsteel, I had the opportunity for extensive 
meetings with officers and enlisted men and women. I also 
helicoptered to an Italian KFOR base in Decan in extreme 
western Kosovo near the border of Albania. In Bosnia and 
Herzegovina, I had meetings at SFOR headquarters near Sarajevo.
    My impression is that both missions are going extremely 
well and that U.S. military personnel are performing their 
duties magnificently.
    At the time of my visit Task Force Falcon, which operates 
the Multi-National Brigade (East) Area of Responsibility in 
southeastern Kosovo, had a total of 8,495 soldiers, including 
5,466 U.S. soldiers in Kosovo, another 364 U.S. soldiers in 
FYROM, and 2,665 international soldiers in Kosovo. Its mission 
is, first, to create a safe and secure environment; second, to 
support the U.N. Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK); third, to enforce 
the Statement of Principles and the Military Technical 
Agreement, which ended the air war in June 1999; and fourth, to 
assist the transition authority to a civilian government in 
     Largely because of KFOR, the environment in Kosovo has 
definitely become safer and more secure. More than one million 
individuals have returned to their homes since the end of the 
war. The demining of known sites is complete. Although violence 
persists in some parts of the province, its incidence is down 
considerably, particularly inter-ethnic violence. The Kosovo 
Protection Corps is being cooperative, and the new UNMIK police 
have proven to be effective. A Kosovo Police Service is going 
into the field. No one would assert that Kosovo has returned to 
normalcy. The northern town of Mitrovica remains a hotbed of 
Serb separatism, and in many other areas of the province Serbs 
lead isolated, furtive lives. The trend-lines, however, are in 
the right direction.
    Cooperation between KFOR and the U.N. appears to be much 
smoother than it was for years in Bosnia between IFOR/SFOR and 
the U.N. Last fall KFOR assisted in a successful carrying out 
of local elections and is involved in ongoing assistance to 
UNMIK and to non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in providing 
support to the needy. Plans call for KFOR to support UNMIK in 
carrying out provincial elections, in facilitating the return 
of ethnic Serbs, in setting up an ethnically integrated health 
care system, and in completing the rehabilitation of schools.
    An increasing percentage of Task Force Falcon's efforts is 
being devoted to interdicting personnel and supplies flowing 
from Kosovo to ethnic Albanian rebels, the so-called Liberation 
Army of Presevo, Medveda, and Bujanovac (UCPMB) in the buffer 
zone in Serbia's Presevo Valley. American officers report 
significant success in the interdiction, although the rugged 
terrain makes it impossible to close the border completely. 
Especially noteworthy in the Presevo Valley effort is a variety 
of joint U.S.-Russian operations. These have involved combined 
training, including arms exercises, air assault operations, and 
a multinational airborne jump; combined peace support 
operations; and joint liaison teams.
    The morale of the American men and women in uniform in 
Kosovo is extraordinarily high. The ones with whom I spoke all 
understood their mission, believed in it, and took pride in the 
tangible achievements they could point to. Officers were 
unanimous in their belief that the wide variety of tasks the 
soldiers carry out, and the opportunities for developing 
leadership skills in a field environment made duty in Kosovo 
and Bosnia extremely valuable to the U.S. Army. Inevitably some 
skills in high intensity conflict may get rusty during 
peacekeeping duty, but the army has a detailed plan for quickly 
restoring those skills after reassignment. It is no surprise, 
then, that the re-enlistment rate in Kosovo and Bosnia is the 
highest in the U.S. Army. Last year, for example, Task Force 
Falcon achieved 142 percent of its target re-enlistments.
    Political life in Kosovo has revived since the war. I met 
in Pristina with the three leading Kosovar Albanian figures: 
Ibrahim Rugova, President of the LDK; Hashim Thaci, President 
of the PDK; and Ramush Haradinaj, President of the AAK. Despite 
differences among them, all three are fervent supporters of a 
democratic, independent Kosovo. All saw a popularly elected 
provincial central government as the precondition for the 
development of democratic institutions.
    I expressed the fear that a newly elected Kosovo assembly 
might issue a unilateral declaration of independence and 
explained that this could set off a dangerous chain of events, 
beginning with an attempt by the Republika Srpska to secede 
from Bosnia and join Serbia. Moreover, a unilateral declaration 
of independence would weaken further the already shaky Western 
European support for the Kosovar Albanians. All three leaders 
disclaimed any intention of issuing a unilateral declaration, 
even after a province-wide assembly is elected. Rugova said 
that although he favors formal international recognition for 
Kosovo at the earliest possible date, he does not want Kosovars 
to take actions that might block the establishment of 
democratic and economic institutions by the West.
    Rugova expressed disappointment that Vojislav Kostunica, 
the new President of Yugoslavia, had not come up with any new 
ideas regarding Kosovo. He added that most Serbs no longer care 
much about Kosovo's fate and that it had essentially become a 
concern only of Belgrade intellectuals. Kostunica, Rugova 
emphasized, was much more concerned at the moment with 
Montenegro (an analysis validated by my meeting in Belgrade 
with Kostunica).
    Haradinaj, generally seen as the most radical of the three 
Kosovar leaders and the only one with a fluent command of 
English, went to great pains to emphasize his willingness to 
work with Kosovo Serbs as long as they are elected 
democratically. Of course, this would mean that the Kosovo 
Serbs would have to ``recognize the new reality'' and 
participate in Kosovo's political life, something which most of 
them as yet have refused to do. Haradinaj echoed Rugova's 
assurance that he would not jeopardize international support 
for Kosovo's eventual independence by any risky unilateral 
steps. He pointed out, though, that Kosovars still lack the 
basic symbols connecting them to their own society such as 
identification cards or drivers' licenses. Finally, Haradinaj 
expressed the opinion that UNMIK should increase the number of 
local police officers in the Kosovo Police Service from the 
current 2,800 to about 8,000.
    Thaci, the former commander of the Kosovo Liberation Army 
(UCK), also voiced disappointment with Yugoslav President 
Kostunica's initial actions toward Kosovo. He was dismayed that 
Kostunica has not released all ethnic Albanian political 
prisoners, numbering well over 1,000. A highly advertised 
amnesty law currently under consideration, he said, would only 
release 200 individuals, none of them being held for alleged 
political offenses. Thaci also said he had hoped Kostunica 
would do more to ease tensions in Mitrovica and in the Presevo 
    The U.S. Mission in Pristina and Hans Haekkerup, the new 
Special Representative of the U.N. Secretary General, agreed 
that through a province-wide election Kosovo's population 
should be given a share of the responsibility for their own 
development at an early date. He did share my concern about 
moving too quickly to elections but drew my attention to a 
lengthy process of drafting framework laws, which he envisions 
as a prerequisite for elections.
    A judicial and legal affairs roundtable with international 
officials in which I participated in Pristina graphically 
illustrated the long and arduous democracy-building process 
ahead in Kosovo. Only a small percentage of the 400 Kosovar 
Albanian judges and prosecutors appointed since January 1999 is 
effective. The only experience many local judges had was under 
an authoritarian communist regime, so they have no familiarity 
with the powers of an independent judiciary and, hence, are 
often uncomfortable with making decisions. Inadequate pay, job 
insecurity, and ethnic bias are typical. The Organization for 
Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) is providing basic 
training for local judges in Kosovo, and UNMIK is developing a 
Judicial Inspection Unit to identify and remove judges who 
engage in misconduct. Given this rather bleak short-term local 
picture, UNMIK has also reacted by appointing fifteen 
international judges and prosecutors and wants to appoint more. 
UNMIK has an ombudsman whose office is entrusted with 
investigating complaints by Kosovo residents. Unfortunately, 
the ombudsman has only six local lawyers on his staff, and none 
has the requisite training or experience to do the job 
    In addition, the American Bar Association-Central and East 
European Law Initiative (ABA- CEELI) is assisting in drafting a 
criminal code and code of criminal procedure and in 
establishing a resource center for defense attorneys.
    The Kosovo Police Service (KPS) School now conducts a 26-
week program of classroom and field training for local police 
recruits. The school intends to train 9,000 officers. Until the 
force reaches that level, UNMIK is relying on an international 
civilian police force, which includes 500 Americans, to 
maintain order and provide the field training for the KPS 
students. Already, in several areas KFOR has transferred to the 
KPS the responsibility for protecting minorities and 
controlling the province's border.
    I believe that international judicial and legal assistance 
is fundamental to the building of a civil society in Kosovo, 
and the effort should continue until this is achieved. I 
encouraged international NGOs like ABA-CEELI to provide defense 
attorneys and other resources, even as they train local lawyers 
to fill these positions. Perhaps could appropriate additional 
funds for USAID to disburse to NGOs whose proposals are deemed 
    Although more than ninety-five percent of Kosovo's current 
population is ethnic Albanian, I remain hopeful that the 
province can regain some of its ethnic heterogeneity. With that 
in mind, I met with Serbian Orthodox Father Sava Janjic at the 
magnificent fourteenth-century Visoki Decani Monastery in the 
shadow of the Albanian Alps. During the 1999 war the monks 
offered refuge to both their Albanian and Serbian neighbors. 
Nonetheless, they live under constant threat from radical 
ethnic Albanians and is spared damage only by the presence of 
Italian KFOR troops who are stationed just outside the 
monastery's gates. In the 1990's, Father Sava won international 
notoriety as the ``cyberpriest'' for his anti-Milosevic 
website. The West must do all it can to support Kosovo Serbs 
who desire to return and to safeguard all Serbian Orthodox 
religious sites.


    Last fall's popular ouster of Slobodan Milosevic as 
President of Yugoslavia after his defeat in the first round of 
the elections by Vojislav Kostunica was the single most 
important change in the Balkan region in years. In Belgrade, I 
met with most of the top officials of the new Yugoslav and 
Serbian governments, among them President Kostunica, Yugoslav 
Foreign Minister Goran Svilanovic, Yugoslav Interior Minister 
Zoran Zivkovic, Yugoslav Ambassador-designate to the United 
States Milan Protic, Serbian Prime Minister-designate (since 
then confirmed) Zoran Djindjic, Serbian Deputy Prime Minister 
Nebojsa Covic, Serbian Interior Minister Bozo Prelevic, and 
Yugoslav Minister for National and Ethnic Communities Rasim 
    The one constant theme in all our discussions was a fervent 
desire to maintain what is left of Yugoslavia, or, as several 
of my interlocutors put it, to ``halt the further 
disintegration in the region.'' President Kostunica, Prime 
Minister Djindjic, and Foreign Minister Svilanovic all stressed 
that their country's future ``lies in Europe.'' Djindjic set as 
a goal Yugoslavia's membership in the European Union within ten 
    Djindjic and Svilanovic both posited an intimate connection 
between this foreign policy goal and domestic conditions. 
Djindjic was quick to admit a host of serious domestic 
deficiencies that have to be remedied such as corrupt courts, 
police, and security police. Fortunately, he added, independent 
media already exist. Svilanovic added to the list of challenges 
the need to guarantee human rights and the rights of 
minorities, a privatization of the state-dominated economy, 
attracting direct foreign investment, and destroying the links 
between organized crime and the old political structures.
    The Yugoslav people, Djindjic explained, have high 
expectations for the post-Milosevic government, and the 
fundamental transition must be organized without social 
discord. Secessionist movements in the Presevo Valley, 
Montenegro, and Kosovo can only sap energy from the desperate 
need for rapid domestic reform. Svilanovic pleaded for 
international support to stabilize the borders of Yugoslavia so 
that the necessary domestic reforms can proceed. He did, 
however, say that he could live with a Montenegrin decision for 
independence if its is taken democratically. President 
Kostunica, on the other hand, declared a bit disingenuously 
that until recently (when calls for Montenegro's independence 
increased) he had thought that he was living in one country. 
The Yugoslav President disparagingly remarked that cigarette 
smuggling would flourish even more if Montenegro were 
independent and thus free from Belgrade's supervision. 
Nonetheless, Kostunica, as did all other officials in Belgrade, 
ruled out using threats or violence against Montenegro.
    Regarding Kosovo, Svilanovic, himself a Kosovo Serb from 
Gnjilane in the current U.S. Sector, urged Washington to 
provide economic assistance to the province, especially through 
NGOs. While he declared a need to discuss links between Kosovo 
and Belgrade, Svilanovic said that he was not in favor of 
direct control from the Serbian capital. For now he advocated 
lower-level dialog and a postponement of a decision on final 
status. In the coming months U.S. diplomacy should attempt to 
combine Svilanovic's low-key approach with the recognition of 
realism shown me by Rugova, Thaci, and Haradinaj in Pristina in 
order, at the very least, to buy time to stabilize the 
situation further.
    With respect to the Presevo secessionist movement, Djindjic 
stressed the need to eliminate the causes of the violence and 
but wondered whether the risk was not too high of integrating 
the moderate Albanians and isolating the extremists. For the 
moment, he concluded, this tactic is working. Interior Minister 
Zivkovic, however, seemed to disagree somewhat, bemoaning the 
fact that Albanians in the Presevo Valley have refused to join 
the local police. Kostunica's chief foreign policy advisor 
reiterated this, but added that ethnic Albanians do have a 
majority in the Presevo municipal assembly.
    Deputy Prime Minister Covic, who has been entrusted with 
the principal role in dealing with the Presevo insurgency, 
evinced a sincere desire to put an end to Serbian abuse of 
ethnic Albanians there. Nonetheless, he and his deputies seemed 
oblivious to the causal relationship between the forcible 
occupation by Serbian police of nearly half the Albanian houses 
in a Presevo Valley village and the villagers' hostility 
toward, and unwillingness to cooperate with, the police. I 
explained similar feelings of Americans two hundred twenty-five 
years ago against British troops who insisted upon being 
quartered in their homes. None of the Yugoslav leaders 
considered the UCPMB insurgency a military threat, but all 
underscored the grave political damage it would do to the 
Kostunica/Djindjic governments if left unchecked. Kostunica 
remarked wryly that if control is not reasserted, many people 
would say, ``one way or another Milosevic had this situation 
under control, but this government doesn't.''
    The question of Serbia's coming to terms with its recent 
history was a prominent topic of our discussions. Somewhat to 
my surprise, Djindjic, known as a Serbian nationalist, declared 
that ``Serbian messianism is a hundred-year-old illness.'' He 
saw Milosevic as but the latest political leader to peddle this 
vision of a Greater Serbia. Although Djindjic averred that he 
wants a thorough airing of this issue and of the resulting 
carnage of the 1990s, he said that because Serbs do not feel 
defeated in war, a Nuremberg-style Tribunal for Serbs accused 
of war crimes is impossible. Djindjic felt that while the 
Serbian elite shares American values on humane and equal 
treatment of minorities, there is a need to convince the 
Serbian populace of this necessity.
    Svilanovic stressed that Yugoslavia intended to allow the 
Hague Tribunal to open a ``technical office'' in Belgrade, 
although negotiations were temporarily stalled. He was 
attracted to the idea of a Truth Commission as an introduction 
to war-crimes proceedings. Despite the fact that the news media 
under Milosevic were not under total government control, most 
people remained unaware of Serbian war crimes, Svilanovic 
asserted, and after the NATO bombing campaign they simply don't 
believe, or don't want to believe, that they actually occurred.
    Kostunica expressed similar sentiments, though with 
somewhat more distance and less self-criticism. He advocated 
``collecting data on the wars in the former Yugoslavia, which 
would be of use to all.'' Kostunica saw this exercise, which he 
said had actually begun in the early 1990s, as ``enlightening 
the public'' and ``motivating the people to tell the truth.'' 
He added that a certain anti-Western attitude exists in some 
circles in Serbia. Djindjic was less circumspect on this point, 
asserting that the American ``combination of moralizing and 
practicality cause the United States image problems in the 
    At times my conversations in Belgrade seemed to take on an 
air of shadow-boxing with articulate and clever interlocutors. 
The new Yugoslav and Serbian leaders obviously knew the issues 
important to Americans and tailored many of their comments to 
those concerns, all the while pushing the envelope on their own 
agendas. It is important, however, to put the discussions in 
perspective. Whatever problems I had with some of the 
statements my hosts made, they paled in comparison to the 
deception and outright lies made by Slobodan Milosevic in my 
discussions with him in Belgrade in 1993. The Kostunica/
Djindjic regime may not be an ideal one for many Americans, but 
it is democratic and it eschews the rabid ultra-nationalism of 
Milosevic. Despite the current chilly atmosphere in relations 
between Washington and Belgrade, I believe that we can do 
business with the new Yugoslav and Serbian governments.

                         Bosnia and Herzegovina

    Bosnia and Herzegovina in some ways was the most 
frustrating of the three locations I visited. It is the land of 
the classical ``yes, but.'' Yes, the country is in far better 
physical, and even psychological shape than it was at the 
cessation of hostilities in the fall of 1995. But the most 
sympathetically inclined observer must admit to a sense of 
frustration at the glacial speed of progress in many areas, and 
the apparent intractability of some problems.
    As in Kosovo, the precondition for any movement forward has 
been, and for some time will continue to be the NATO-led 
peacekeeping troops on the ground. The Stabilization Force 
(SFOR) is obviously so superior, either to the armies of the 
Federation or of the Republika Srprska, or to potential 
freelance terrorists, that it has remained essentially 
unchallenged. Bosnia and Herzegovina today is peaceful, with 
ethnic violence and common crime at manageable levels. Thanks 
to the introduction of unified automobile license plates by the 
international community's High Representative, travel between 
the two entities has become commonplace.
    At the end of the war there were approximately 2.3 million 
persons displaced. Now the total is down to one million, of 
which 750,000 are internally displaced within Bosnia and 
Herzegovina, and 250,000 are refugees, most of them in 
Yugoslavia and Croatia. The number of persons returning to 
their homes where they are in an ethnic minority (so-called 
``minority returns'') increased 50 percent from 1998 to 1999, 
and another 75 percent from 1999 to 2000. Forecasts for 2001 
call for 60,000 more minority returns. This summer when more 
people try to return there will definitely be a need for an 
SFOR presence because of the persistent resort to violence by 
ultra- nationalists. The plan calls for maximizing the use of 
the so-called ``multinational specialized units'' (MSUs) or 
gendarmes under SFOR control to lay the groundwork for the 
returns or to react if there is trouble. Unfortunately, three 
Argentine MSU platoons have just left the country, and the 
total strength is down to approximately 380 men, 95 percent of 
them carabinieri from Italy. Their number must quickly be 
    One glaring omission in the generally positive security 
situation is the continued freedom of several individuals 
indicted by the Hague Tribunal for alleged war crimes, above 
all former Bosnian Serb leader Dr. Radovan Karadzic and former 
Bosnian Serb army commander General Ratko Mladic. Until these 
fugitives are apprehended and brought to justice there can be 
no real stability in the country.
    The biggest challenge in Bosnia and Herzegovina is illegal 
immigration and organized crime. In 2000, according to 
statistics of the State Border Service, a total of 35,793 
illegal immigrants entered the country, with 24,285 remaining 
unaccounted for by January 2001. Not only is their presence a 
destabilizing domestic factor, but Bosnia is gaining a bad name 
internationally as a primary springboard for illegal migration 
into Western Europe. Bosnia and Herzegovina has an external 
border approximately one thousand miles long with about 400 
crossing points, forty of them major ones. The Border Service 
is seriously underfunded.
    Another domestic problem is the growing influence of 
Islamic fundamentalist groups, which are a threat to liberal 
values. Former mujaheddin living in Central Bosnia have been 
engaged in some violent activities.
    The economic picture in Bosnia is mixed. To the visitor 
returning after little more than a year, Sarajevo looks 
brighter and livelier, with much new construction and many 
other buildings refurbished. Vehicular traffic is approaching 
the level of a Western city, and small businesses of all sorts 
seem to be thriving. Unfortunately, however, at the macro level 
the picture is not as rosy. Starting from a devastatingly low 
level after the war, the annual growth of gross domestic 
product averaged about 40 percent. But this figure is 
deceptively high, since it was largely based upon foreign 
assistance, which is now ending. In May 2000 international 
donors pledged the last tranche of a $5.1 billion 
reconstruction program for Bosnia and Herzegovina.
    Large-scale economic development has been prevented by the 
tight control of the three main nationalist political parties--
the Bosniak Muslim SDA, the radical Bosnian Serb SDS, and the 
hard-line Bosnian Croat branch of the HDZ. The economy was 
governed by so-called payments bureaus, a clearing system which 
charged a fee on every transaction. The individual payments 
bureaus were controlled by the three nationalist parties, which 
skimmed off a portion of the collected fees. Tired of this 
corruption, the International Monetary Fund made further loans 
contingent on the closure of the payments bureaus, which was 
accomplished early in January 2001. In their place is a system 
of banks, which will be connected to cantonal treasuries in the 
Federation and an entity treasury in the Republika Srpska. 
Supposedly the three nationalist parties have divested their 
extensive economic holdings, although seasoned observers are 
skeptical that this has actually occurred.
    Bosnia desperately needs direct foreign investment, but 
until now it has been nearly non-existent. Because of 
government red-tape and corruption, investors view the country 
as a high risk without the long-term resource upside of, for 
example, a Russia. Setting up an honest, efficient legal and 
judicial system is a task of the highest priority.
    The most encouraging recent development in Bosnia and 
Herzegovina has been the slow but steady growth in popularity 
of the non-nationalist parties. The November 2000 elections 
produced some setbacks such as the triumph of a nationalist in 
the Republika Srpska presidential race. But contrary to the 
conventional wisdom of the international press and some NGOs, 
the elections also resulted in democratic breakthrough 
developments. For the first time a non- nationalist coalition 
led by moderate Bosniak socialist Zlatko Lagumdzija commands a 
majority in the Federation House of Representatives and has 
excluded the SDA, SDS, and HDZ from the government. In the 
Republika Srpska, Mladen Ivanic, the leader of the moderate 
Party of Democratic Progress (PDP) is forming a government of 
experts and similarly is trying to exclude the three 
nationalist parties. I had met with Lagumdzija and Ivanic on 
earlier visits to Bosnia when they were in the opposition, and 
I saw them again on this trip. Both are dedicated, well-
educated, worldly democrats who are superbly equipped to lead 
their entities.
    At the time of my visit a new government had not yet been 
formed at the national level. I had discussions with then-Prime 
Minister Martin Raguz and Foreign Minister Jadranko Prlic, both 
of whom are Bosnian Croats. Prlic told me, ``the right 
discussion is not about the possible withdrawal of the United 
States from the Balkans. The right topic is how to integrate 
Bosnia and Herzegovina into Europe.'' He added that perception 
in Bosnia is more important than reality. Although the number 
of American troops has been reduced from 20,000 to about 4,200 
the salient fact is that the populace knows that the U.S. is 
    Prlic and Raguz both felt that last fall's elections had at 
the very least created the conditions for a political 
breakthrough--definitely at the entity and cantonal levels, and 
perhaps at the national level. Despite the heavy Bosnian Croat 
vote for the nationalist HDZ, Prime Minister Raguz declared 
that ``for a majority of Bosnian Croats, Bosnia and Herzegovina 
is the state within which their problems can be solved.'' 
Important in this context, he said, was the recent decision of 
the Constitutional Court that Bosnia's three constituent 
peoples must have equal collective and individual rights 
throughout the country. Prlic added an international dimension 
by noting that it is important to keep Kosovo within the 
Federal Republic of Yugoslavia as long as possible, because its 
formal secession would destabilize Bosnia through the Republika 
    Several of my interlocutors in Bosnia praised the Dayton 
Accord as an undeniable success, but called for amending 
certain sections of it. With only one exception, however, no 
one wanted to reopen the entire treaty or to scrap it entirely 
in favor of another document to be worked out by an 
international conference. Reform, they believed, could be 
effected within Bosnia from the bottom up.
    In Sarajevo, I was present at a dinner meeting of moderate 
leaders of non-nationalist parties. All three major communities 
were represented--Bosniak, Serb, and Croat. Undoubtedly all the 
individuals had indescribably bitter memories of the war, and 
their approaches to specific problems varied widely. But a 
willingness to cooperate, even to compromise, was palpable. 
Bosnia is far from having a Westminster-style parliament, but 
the progress is noteworthy, and for the first time there is 
hope in the air.

 III. Roster of Meetings in Kosovo, Serbia, and Bosnia and Herzegovina

                   (Titles as of January 9-15, 2001)

Camp Bondsteel, Decan, and Pristina, Kosovo
Major General George W. Casey, Jr. USA, Commander, 1st Armored 

Brigadier General Kenneth J. Quinlan, Jr. USA, Assistant 
        Commander, 1st Armored Division

Officers and Enlisted Men and Women of the U.S. Army, Camp 

Lieutenant General Carlo Cabigiosu, Italian Army, Commander, 

Dr. Ibrahim Rugova, President, Democratic League of Kosovo 

Hashim Thaci, President, Democratic Party of Kosovo (PDK)

Ramush Haradinaj, President, Alliance for the Future of Kosovo 

Father Sava Janjic, Visoki Decani Serbian Orthodox Monastery

Hans Haekkerup, Special Representative of the United Nations 
        Secretary General and Head, United Nations Interim 
        Administration for Kosovo (UNMIK)

Jock Covey, Principal Deputy Special Representative, UNMIK

Daan Everts, Deputy Special Representative, Institution-
        building, UNMIK

Andy Bearpark, Deputy Special Representative, Reconstruction 
        and Development

Eric Morris, Special Representative, Office of the United 
        Nations High Commissioner for Refugees

Marie Francoise Verdun, Director, Judicial Training Institute

Colette Rausch, Head, OSCE Rule of Law Program

Edwin Vilmoare, Director, American Bar Association/Central and 
        East European Law Initiative Kosovo Program

Marek Nowicki, UNMIK Ombudsman

Jack Winn, Program Officer, USAID Kosovo Mission

Steven Bennett, Director, Kosovo Police School

Sylvie Pantz, Co-Head, UNMIK Department of Judicial Affairs

Christopher W. Dell, Chief of Mission, U.S. Office Pristina

Theresa Grencik, Political Officer, U.S. Office Pristina
Belgrade, Serbia, Federal Republic of Yugoslavia
Vojislav Kostunica, President of the Federal Republic of 

Goran Svilanovic, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Federal 
        Republic of Yugoslavia

Zoran Zivkovic, Minister of Internal Affairs of the Federal 
        Republic of Yugoslavia

Rasim Ljajic, Minister of National and Ethnic Communities of 
        the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia

Milan Protic, Ambassador-designate to the United States of the 
        Federal Republic of Yugoslavia

Zoran Djindjic, Prime Minister-designate of the Republic of 

Nebojsa Covic, Deputy Prime Minister of the Republic of Serbia

Boza Prelevic, Minister for Internal Affairs of the Republic of 

William Montgomery, U.S. Ambassador to the Federal Republic of 

Bertram Braun, Political Officer, U.S. Embassy Belgrade
Sarajevo and Butmir, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Martin Raguz, Prime Minister of Bosnia and Herzegovina

Jadranko Prlic, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Bosnia and 

Zlatko Lagumdzija, Member of Federation House of 
        Representatives and President, Social Democratic Party

Mladen Ivanic, Prime Minister of the Republika Srpska and 
        President, Party of Democratic Progress

Milorad Dodik, President, Union of Independent Social Democrats 
        and former Prime Minister of the Republika Srpska

Kresimir Zubak, President, New Croat Initiative

Haris Silajdzic, former Prime Minister of Bosnia and 
        Herzegovina and President, Party for Bosnia and 

Lieutenant General Michael L. Dodson USA, Commander, SFOR

Ambassador Wolfgang Petritsch, High Representative for Bosnia 
        and Herzegovina

Ambassador Robert Barry, Head, OSCE Mission in Bosnia and 

Ambassador Jacques Klein, Special Representative of the U.N. 
        Secretary General for Bosnia and Herzegovina

Thomas Miller, U.S. Ambassador to Bosnia and Herzegovina

Velia DePirro, Political Officer, U.S. Embassy Sarajevo