Dole Letter to Foreign Minister of the Netherlands

 

BOB DOLE
KANSAS

United States Senate
OFFICE OF THE REPUBLICAN LEADER
WASHINGTON. DC 20510-7020
September 6, 1991

His Excellency Hans Van Den Broek
Minister of Foreign Affairs
Kingdom of the Netherlands
The Hague

Dear Mr. Minister:

1 have asked my long-time friend Howard Wilkins to personally convey this message to you. At the same time, I want to stress that this message represents my personal views, and not the official views of our Administration.

But I am taking this unusual step of asking Howard?s assistance because I am so deeply concerned about the tragic situation in Yugoslavia. I commend you for your leadership of the European Community?s diplomatic initiative. All Americans join in the hope that the negotiations starting this week-end in Brussels will make real progress toward ending the bloodshed in Croatia and beginning the search for a lasting resolution of Yugoslavia?s complex political situation.

At the same time, I am disturbed that there appears to be no current intention to include representatives of Yugoslavia?s large Albanian community in the Brussels talks. As you know, Albanians represent the third largest group in Yugoslavia. There can be no lasting agreements on the future of Yugoslavia unless Albanian rights are fully protected, and Albanian interests fully and fairly taken into account. It is hard indeed, impossible to see how that can be done if the Albanian community is not represented at the talks.

I understand that seating an Albanian delegation might spark demands that other groups should also be represented — e.g., the Serbians of Croatia. But, candidly, that argument simply won?t wash. The constitution of Yugoslavia acknowledges that Kosova has a special status that of an autonomous province. The Yugoslav Federal Presidency has a representative from Kosova, reflecting that autonomous status (though, I would hasten to add, that representative is in fact a ?puppett? of the Serbian Government and would not be an acceptable representative for Albanian interests in Brussels). It would seem reasonable for the Brussels conference to utilize that same ?6 plus 2? formulation with separate representatives from the six republics and the two autonomous provinces.

But far more is at stake here than just legalities. The hard reality is that Kosova is a tinderbox, that could go up in flames of mass violence and mass slaughter at any time. Years of Serbian repression have made the people of Kosova not second, but third or fourth class citizens, in their own country. Moreover, concomitant with its aggression against Croatia, Serbia has launched a new and even more severe crackdown in Kosova. If the people of icosova now also see themselves as ?shut out from the negotiating process in Brussels, fears that their interests are being dealt away in an effort to solve Yugoslavia?s other problems will inevitably grow. No one can predict the outcome.

So, Mr. Minister, I would ask you to seriously consider the following proposals:

That a legitimate representative of Kosova be included in the Brussels talks. One obvious choice would be Dr. Ibrahim Rugova, who is the acknowledged leader of the human rights movement in Kosova.

If you conclude that, these considerations to the contrary notwithstanding, it is not possible now to formally include a Kosova representative at the talks, that at a minimum you and Lord Carrington meet with Dr. Rugova.

That you form observer groups to visit Kosova, beginning immediately, to monitor and report on the human rights and humanitarian conditions there.

The bottom line, Mr. Minister, is that a ?solution? to the Yugoslvav problem that does not take into account the Albanians will be no solution at all. Any such phony solution will not produce lasting peace, but simply set off a new and even more bloody round of unrest.

In closing, let me again express my admiration for your energetic leadership of the European Community?s diplomatic initiative, and my best wishes for the success of the Brussels talks.

Sincerely yours
BOB DOLE
United States Senate

 

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