Page 607 - Kosovo Metohija Heritage
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the parallel political system established by albanians for their own community in Kosovo and Metohija. The long- -term strategy of Kosovo albanians remained unchanged during the wars of Yugoslav succession waged in Slove- nia, Croatia and Bosnia: they sought to obtain interna- tional support, first political and eventually military, for the cause of Kosovo’s secession from Serbia which, in april 1992, formed a common state with Montenegro: the Fed- eral Republic of Yugoslavia.186
Kosovo albanians, therefore, kept rejecting all calls for democratic struggle within Serbia and for cooperation with the nascent democratic bloc in Belgrade. Milošević was, for his own ends, using Kosovo to remain in power, stifle the democratic opposition and suppress any discussion about his communist-inspired policy, Kosovo included. already in 1992, Milošević lost mass support and resort- ed to electoral fraud to maintain power, while using the international embargo imposed on Serbia and Montene- gro in june 1992 to increase his control over the econo- my, politics and media through both security and army services. The Serbian democratic opposition (DePOS) was eventually supported by the highest-ranking representa- tives of the Serbian Orthodox Church in their often joint efforts, during 1992, to stop the bloodshed of the civil wars in Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina, and to pave the way to compromise and peace through political dialogue and international mediation:
“The Serbian Orthodox Church and the Serbian peo- ple have never adhered to godless Communism or to any other totalitarian ideology. [...] The Serbian Church open- ly dissociates and distances itself from this and this kind of [Milošević-appointed] government and its supporters. We wish to remind all [persons] in power, especially in Serbia, that no one’s chair [political position] is more im- portant than the destiny and freedom of the whole nation and that no one has a monopoly on the people and the future of our children. [...] also, we appeal to all author- ities in Serbia and all factors in europe and the world to respect the rights and responsibilities of all who live in Kosovo and Metohija, and not to impose solutions under pressure from any side; instead, [we appeal for] true sup- port to a compassionate and just democratic order that will ensure protection for all people and nations in this region, which, because of its spiritual, national and cul- tural significance, is to Serbs what jerusalem is to jews.”187
after the Dayton Peace accords of 1995 Serbia’s Pres- ident Slobodan Milošević, as one of the signatories of the hard-won peace, went from being the demonized “butch- er of the Balkans” to being the guarantor of the post-war
187 The entire text of the Memorandum of the Holy assembly of Bishops (held 14–27 May 1992) was published in Glasnik Srpske pa- trijaršije 6 (june 1992), 94–97.
Kosovo and Metohija: History, Memory, identity
settlement in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Despite growing op- position to his oppressive neo-communist regime through- out Serbia and the three-month protests against electoral fraud in the winter of 1996, Milošević still enjoyed almost unconditional Western support and even became the chief Serbian negotiator for the pending Kosovo crisis. How- ever, the increasing efforts of different international me- diators demanding a peaceful solution to the Serb-alba- nian conflict in Kosovo failed due to procrastination with- in the Belgrade regime, but also due to the opposition of albanians who demanded, as a first concession, the res- toration of the autonomous status granted by the 1974 Yugoslav Constitution.188
The attempts to normalize the education process for ethnic albanians by allowing them to use public school- ing facilities and thus to reduce interethnic tensions in Kosovo did not produce the expected results: Serbian of- ficials presented the problem of the education system as primarily a humanitarian issue, whereas the albanians saw the problem as inseparable from the future political sta- tus of Kosovo.189
While albanians saw the restoration of the autono- mous status of 1974 merely as a transition to their full in- dependence from Belgrade, different semi-official Serbi- an proposals called for a permanent solution to the prob- lem through the partitioning of Kosovo along ethnic lines. in parallel, the democratic opposition in Belgrade pro- posed various transitional solutions, ranging from region- alization (Miodrag jovičić) to cantonization (D.T. Bata- ković) of Kosovo and Metohija, hoping to prevent further aggravation of interethnic relations which would obvi- ously lead to uncontrolled armed conflicts in the nearest future.190
The opposing attitudes of Serbs and albanians, with their leaders Slobodan Milošević and ibrahim Rugova en- trenched in their uncompromising positions, blocked the various mediation efforts of eU or US representatives. The general impression of foreign analysts was that Kosovo was turning into two “parallel worlds”, with each side de- monizing or simply ignoring the other.191 albanian-spon- sored terrorist attacks and more than sixty assassinations
188 D.T. Bataković, “Kosovo–Metohija Question: Origins of a Con- flictandPossibleSolutions”,Dialogue7/25(Paris1998),41–56.
189 The Milošević–Rugova agreement, signed under the auspices of Sant’egidio, never came into effect due to different interpreta- tions: Naša Borba, Belgrade, 3 and 4 September 1996. an overview of different initiatives with corresponding documentation in Stefan Troebst, ed., Conflict in Kosovo: An Analytical Documentation, 1992–1998, eCMi Working Paper No. 1 (Flensburg: european Centre for Minority issues, 1998). Cf also a detailed account of the negotia- tion process by Predrag Simić, Put u Rambuje, kosovska kriza 1995– 2000 (Belgrade: Nova, 2000).
190 D.T. Bataković, “Progetti serbi di spartazione”, Kosovo: il trian- golo dei Balcani, Limes 3 (Roma 1998), 153–169.
191 See the analysis: Parallel Worlds, institute for War & Peace, Media Focus 3, London, 4 December 1998.
  Cf albanian point of view in elez Biberaj, Kosova: the Balkan Powder Keg (London: Research institute for the Study of Conflict and Terrorism, 1993).

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