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The Rambouillet Ultimatum

A crime against peace and an insult to reason

by Francisco Gil-White and Jared Israel
[Posted 30 August 2003]

[ This is the revised text of the Rambouillet section from Pr. Gil-White's  The Oslo War Process, which includes a critique of Norwegian diplomacy that has become influential in Sri Lanka (a country now under attack by Norwegian diplomacy)  http://emperors-clothes.com/gilwhite/oslo.htm ]

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On February 2nd 1999, what NATO called ‘peace talks’ began in the town of Rambouillet, France. The following is from The Washington Post: [23]

[Quote From Washington Post Starts Here]

"The principal stumbling block to achieving an agreement at the 12-day-old Kosovo peace talks outside Paris remains the opposition of the Serb-led Belgrade government to accepting a NATO-led force of 28,000 peacekeeping troops on Serbian soil. In an effort to break the impasse, Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright plans to leave for France Friday to make a last-ditch attempt to persuade the Yugoslav-Serbian side to drop its opposition to the peacekeeping force.

Senior diplomatic sources said a final ultimatum to Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic, who wields ultimate power over the Serbian delegation at the talks in Rambouillet, France, would include a warning that 430 NATO aircraft, including F-117 stealth fighter jets and B-52 bombers, are ready to launch punitive bombing raids if his negotiators block an agreement…'He should understand that if airstrikes occur, he will be hit hard, and he will be deprived of the things he values,' Albright said. 'I think he understands that this is a key moment in terms of the future of . . . Yugoslavia.'

…senior Western officials said… that if Belgrade's intransigence thwarts an agreement, it is almost a certainty that NATO airstrikes would begin by early next week."

[Quote From Washington Post Ends Here]

Notice the language that the Washington Post employs.

Belgrade is "the principal stumbling block" because of "its opposition to the peacekeeping force." The use of the phrase "peacekeeping force" makes the Belgrade government sound pathologically mule-headed. Who in his right mind wouldn't want to keep the peace? And therefore, if NATO felt like it had no further choice but to declare war, Belgrade's "intransigence" would be to blame.

How different the public's impressions of all this would have been if the Post and the rest of the Western media had merely done two things:

1. Properly investigated and reported on the Racak so-called massacre allegations.

This alleged 'massacre' was  in fact staged by the KLA in cooperation with the CIA, and blamed on the Serbs. Its masterminds were the same people who were now demanding that Milosevic sign on the dotted line (or else!).

2. Reported the actual contents of the Rambouillet so-called Agreement. Just printed the text!

But they didn't.

Readers of ours who still believe the Western press is free should consider this: the contents of the Rambouillet Agreement, which Milosevic was being ordered to sign at the point of a gun, were never quoted in the Western media. In fact, the contents of the agreement were not even paraphrased. This is shocking. How can readers be expected to understand the behavior of the Yugoslavs without knowing what they were rejecting?

The terms of Rambouillet effectively separated the province of Kosovo from the Republic of Serbia, of which it was part, leaving the KLA terrorists as the provincial authority. This alone was reason enough for any country not to sign. What country would want to sign, under duress, a document prepared by a foreign power, and meant to section off a piece of the country - and especially the very piece which is the cradle of one's culture? Should any country, on top of that, want to leave the forcibly seceded population at the mercy of terrorists? 

But if that were not enough to help you understand the Yugoslav refusal to sign Rambouillet, there is also Appendix B of the 'Agreement,' which stipulates the details of the NATO "peacekeeping force." Here are some excerpts: [24]

[Excerpts from Appendix B start here]

"Section 6a. 'NATO shall be immune from all legal process, whether civil, administrative, or criminal.' [That means, in all of Yugoslavia!]

Section 6b. 'NATO personnel, under all circumstances and at all times, shall be immune from the Parties’ jurisdiction in respect of any civil, administrative, criminal or disciplinary offenses which may be committed by them in the FRY (Federal Republic of Yugoslavia).'

Section 7. 'NATO personnel shall be immune from any form of arrest, investigation, or detention by the authorities in the FRY.'

Section 8: 'NATO personnel shall enjoy, together with their vehicles, vessels, aircraft, and equipment, free and unrestricted passage and unimpeded access throughout the FRY including associated airspace and territorial waters. This shall include, but not be limited to, the right of bivouac, maneuver, billet and utilization of any areas or facilities as required for support, training, and operations.'

Section 11: 'NATO is granted the use of airports, roads, rails, and ports without payment of fees, duties, dues, tolls, or charges occasioned by mere use.'

Section 15: 'The Parties (Yugoslav & Kosovo governments) shall, upon simple request, grant all telecommunications services, including broadcast services, needed for the Operation, as determined by NATO. This shall include the right to utilize such means and services as required to assure full ability to communicate and the right to use all of the electromagnetic spectrum for this purpose, free of cost.'

19. Commercial undertakings operating in the FRY only in the service of NATO shall be exempt from local laws and regulations with respect to the terms and conditions of their employment and licensing and registration of employees, businesses, and corporations.

20. NATO may hire local personnel who on an individual basis shall remain subject to local laws and regulations with the exception of labor/employment laws. However, local personnel hired by NATO shall:

a. be immune from legal process in respect of words spoken or written and all acts performed by them in their official capacity;

Section 22: 'NATO may, in the conduct of the Operation, have need to make improvements or modifications to certain infrastructure in the FRY, such as roads, bridges, tunnels, buildings, and utility systems.' "

[Excerpts from Appendix B end here]

Simply amazing.

This 'Agreement' would have made NATO lord and master of Yugoslavia. They were demanding terms comparable to those imposed by the invading Nazis in WWII. How could anyone but a quisling government sign such a document?

Since NATO was saying to Milosevic, "Sign or we will bomb you," and since the document was designed so that it was impossible to sign, NATO was declaring war. Not exactly hard to figure out.

Knut Vollebaek, Chairman of the OSCE, and Norwegian Foreign Minister, was naturally perfectly familiarized with the contents of Appendix B, and he was at the center of the Rambouillet maneuver.

[Quote from Washington Post February 19, 1999 starts here]

"'The pressure is mounting. . .' Knut Vollebaek…said yesterday about concerted efforts to subdue Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic into accepting a peace process for Kosovo under threat of a NATO military strike. Vollebaek was getting ready to meet Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright at mid-morning and worrying about the possible need to evacuate some 1,200 OSCE 'verifiers' in Kosovo in case a warning by NATO Secretary General Javier Solana to Milosevic went unheeded."[25]

[Quote from Washington Post ends here]

The Washington Post garnishes its article with a dash of candor: "…concerted efforts to *subdue* Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic...," but this cannot overwhelm the rich Orwellian sauce. The Rambouillet Agreement was cooked up to be a declaration of war, but the Post and everybody else in the mainstream media served it up as a 'peace process.'

Vollebaek was a central figure in the effort to subdue Milosevic into accepting NATO's *occupation* process, "jetting around the globe, fielding calls from [NATO's] Solana and comparing notes with French counterpart [Foreign Minister] Hubert Vedrine and German opposite number Joschka Fischer," and "he and Albright saw eye-to-eye,’" as the Post explained.

But perhaps the most amazing thing about Albright, Vollebaek, and Co. threatening the Yugoslavs with bombs unless they signed is that, at the time of the threats, the "other party" to the supposed agreement - the Albanian secessionist delegation at Rambouillet - was refusing to sign! Well, actually (look at the dates), two full weeks *after* the Yugoslavs were threatened, the other side was still refusing to sign...

[Quote From Washington Post March 02, 1999 starts here]

"A senior U.S. diplomat said today that ethnic Albanians in Kosovo told him they are moving closer to accepting a proposed peace agreement for the province, even as Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic repeated his opposition to allowing NATO troops to police the accord.

U.S. Ambassador to Macedonia Christopher Hill, the chief author of the draft peace accord, said he is optimistic the deal would gain the approval of all of Kosovo's ethnic Albanian factions."[26]

[Quote From Washington Post March 02, 1999 ends here]

The ethnic Albanian factions still aren't signing. The document is still a draft (!) and its *American* author expresses optimism - optimism! -  that the Albanians will perhaps sign... But two weeks earlier, when NATO was already threatening Milosevic with bombs lest he refuse to sign, the Washington Post had told its readers that, "The principal stumbling block to achieving an agreement at the 12-day-old Kosovo peace talks outside Paris remains the opposition of the Serb-led Belgrade government…"

Mind boggling.

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Illegality, absurdity and war

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The Rambouillet 'Agreement' was never anything of the sort. Let us review the relevant points.

1. Kosovo is part of Serbia. If there were problems in Kosovo, then based on International Law no state or states had the right to impose a settlement, which is what NATO states tried to do at Rambouillet. And of course no state had the right to sponsor terrorist forces within Kosovo - but it was manifestly obvious that NATO was sponsoring the KLA. Obvious at Racak, where OSCE Mission chief William Walker officially accepted the KLA story without even an investigation. Obvious at Rambouillet itself.

2. Instead, the appropriate way for such problems to be solved was by the parties who had the problems to talk *inside Serbia*. In fact, just such direct talks had been proposed by Belgrade for years. The various Kosovo national groups - Serbs, Gorani (Slavic Muslims) etc. - had representatives but the Albanian secessionists, who dominated the Kosovo Albanian community, always sabotaged such talks. They did this in large measure because the NATO covert services that sponsored them had promised to put them in power.

3. No state had, under International law, the right to coerce legitimate authorities in Serbia to attend talks about *internal affairs in Yugoslavia*. No state had the right to coerce authorities to sign an 'Agreement' by threat of bombing. The talks, held outside Serbia under NATO domination and threat of violence were illegal on all counts.

4. All of this, mind you, was illegal by virtue of the Helsinki Final Act, which established the OSCE - yes, the same OSCE whose Chairman, Knut Vollebaek, assisted NATO by delivering himself the illegal ultimatums!

5. If for some reason talks were to take place *outside* Serbia, under sponsorship by powers who had no right to be involved (the NATO powers) and under compulsion (also illegal) then of course they should not have included terrorist forces, let alone terrorists sponsored by major powers (Germany, US, England) such as the KLA.

6. But if such scandalous illegal talks were to be held; if they were to be illegally convened under threat of force; if they were illegally to include illegally sponsored terrorists. . .then one might think, by the laws of logic, that the various parties to this 'agreement' would at least have *talked.* But they never did. Not even that.

That absurdity was the capping stone.

At Rambouillet, the Yugoslav delegation, comprised of legitimate representatives of the various ethnic communities in Kosovo, was never allowed to meet face-to-face with the NATO-organized secessionists. Not once. Instead, NATO officials stage-managed their Rambouillet phony diplomacy, directly meeting with the various delegations and with the press even though they were not one of the parties involved in the "talks."

Belgrade naturally refused to sign the 'Agreement' - and this is precisely what NATO intended when it drafted it: to make it impossible for the Yugoslavs to sign. But it is significant that, until the last moment, neither did the secessionists sign it!

(And since nobody wanted to sign, who exactly was 'agreeing'? Chris Hill, the American author of the 'agreement'?)

As Slobodan Milosevic told the British and French Foreign Ministers in a letter: [27]

[Quote From Slobodan Milosevic's March 22, 1999 Letter Starts Here]

…[what] you call the Rambouillet Agreement…is not the Rambouillet Agreement. For both in Rambouillet, and in Paris, the people who came to negotiate did not negotiate. There were no talks between them, therefore there could be no common document to be accepted or rejected.

Otherwise, the text you call the Rambouillet Agreement, was published in the Kosovo press (the Albanian paper "Koha Ditore") before the start of the Rambouillet talks.

Belgrade is tolerant, but not stupid. Thanks to the stupidity of someone else, the document, which should have been the result of the talks, which were still to take place, was published.

Of course, we have nothing against preparing a draft document for the start of the talks. But we are strongly against not having talks at all, and being asked to sign something which could eventually be a draft agreement as an agreement, never meeting those with whom we should have agreed.

[Quote From Slobodan Milosevic's March 22, 1999 Letter Ends Here]

Obviously, this 'Agreement' was no agreement at all. It was a document drafted by a far away Imperial Power (the author, Christopher Hill, worked for the US State Department) in a rather crude attempt to create the impression that diplomacy had failed so that the "intransigence" of the Yugoslavs would be seen as the cause of war.

The crudeness of this attempt did not become apparent to Western citizens because the media did not report what was happening. For example, the media never printed the contents of the 'Agreement,' which would have allowed ordinary people to understand the natural reluctance - not the "intransigence" - of the Yugoslavs.

Instead the media obligingly cooperated with NATO disinformation. For example, notice how Knut Vollebaek, the very picture of a gentle, neutral Norseman, took this package of lies and threats of war, and turned it upside down (with no comment from the Post):

[Back to the Washington Post]

"Milosevic's latest rebuff...came in a meeting here with Norwegian Foreign Minister Knut Vollebaek, head of the ...OSCE, which supervises more than 1,000 unarmed international observers in the province.

…'I have to say that Milosevic rather flatly refused' to agree to the peacekeeping force, Vollebaek said. 'He does not foresee any possibility of an international military presence in Yugoslavia.'

…Vollebaek said he protested growing 'harassment' of the OSCE observers by government forces, which officials said includes the weekend detention of 31 monitors at the Yugoslavia-Macedonia border and the beating two others Sunday by Serbian civilians. [26]

[Quote From Washington Post Ends Here]

Notice what Vollebaek says, and how he talks.

First, he says that the OSCE observers were "unarmed." Yes, so long as you don't count the armed forces of the US, Britain, Germany, Holland, Norway, etc., etc, which stood behind them.

Second, he talks about the supposed "harassment" of OSCE observers. Huh? These OSCE observers were in fact intelligence agents forced on Yugoslavia in October 1998 under threat of bombing. They organized and trained the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) to be NATO's field army prior to the onset of NATO bombing. And they coordinated the KLA effort to take a dominating position among the heads of Kosovo Albanian clans. This was crucial, for the KLA needed to organize the mass exodus of Albanians at the outset of the bombing. How this propaganda coup was pulled off is explained in our article: "Why Albanians fled Kosovo during NATO bombing." [26a] The OSCE observers scoped out the countryside, selecting targets for later bombing attacks, even using CARE workers to place electronic bombing markers.[26b] If anybody harassed these people, they richly deserved it!

And why does Vollebaek refer to a beating by Yugoslav civilians as a *government* action?

And why does Vollebaek say "International military presence in Yugoslavia," when he should really be saying 'NATO army of occupation'?

Finally, notice that Vollebaek says: "Milosevic rather flatly refused." Refused *what*? To accept the complete NATO takeover of his country, a country he had sworn to protect, and of whose army he was Commander in Chief. Yes, I guess that's the sort of thing one flatly refuses.

What a Liar, this Gentle Knut.

Till the end, Vollebaek The Gentle Norse played the role of neutral diplomat from a tiny country, chairing the OSCE, an organization supposedly not under the direct command of the US and its allies. But the appearance of neutrality was an illusion. Here is Vollebaek delivering the final ultimatum (from the Washington Post): [28]

[Quote From Washington Post Starts Here]

"Vollebaek called Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic on March 24, 1999, hours before NATO attacked: 'Mr. President, I said, this is going to be war...I think you still have a chance if you will cooperate and allow Kosovars to return. [a lie - see 26a] *I will have to call NATO commanders after our conversation.*'" [my emphasis]

[Quote From Washington Post Ends Here]

Vollebaek said he would have to call NATO commanders. Sometimes he tells the truth

[ Footnotes and Further Reading Follows the Appeal ]

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Footnotes and Further Reading

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[23] The Washington Post,  February 19, 1999, Friday, Final Edition,  A SECTION; Pg. A01,  1139 words,  Allies Reiterate Threats to Serbs; Albright to Join Kosovo Peace Talks,  William Drozdiak, Washington Post Foreign Service,  BERLIN, Feb. 18

[25] The Washington Post,  February 19, 1999, Friday, Final Edition,  A SECTION; Pg. A18; DIPLOMATIC DISPATCHES,  896 words,  Ready for Trouble in Yugoslavia,  Nora Boustany

[26] The Washington Post,  March 02, 1999, Tuesday, Final Edition,  A SECTION; Pg. A13,  745 words,  Kosovo Groups Warm to Pact; Belgrade Remains Opposed to Peacekeepers, Envoy Says,  R. Jeffrey Smith, Washington Post Foreign Service,  BELGRADE, March 1

[26a] This is discussed in an interview with the former historian of Kosovo, Cedomir Prlincevic, "Why Albanians Fled During the NATO Bombing," at
http://emperors-clothes.com/interviews/keys.htm

[26b] Regarding the use of CARE workers for spying, see "Humanitarian Spies," at http://emperors-clothes.com/analysis/humanita.htm

[27] Krieger, H. (2001). The Kosovo conflict and international law: An analytical documentation 1974-1999, Cambridge International Documents Series, Volume II. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. p.286

[28] The Washington Post,  December 07, 2001, Friday, Final Edition,  A SECTION; Pg. A44; DIPLOMATIC DISPATCHES NORA BOUSTANY,  959 words,  Little Norway's Big Contributions,  Nora Boustany


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