The Guardian April 7, 1999


WA action against bombing

by Joan Williams

The NATO "peace" proposal put forward at Rambouillet, France, in February, 
was rejected by the Yugoslav delegation because it would have taken Kosovo 
out of Yugoslavia and made it a NATO colony. The Rambouillet proposal was 
outlined at a rally of about 500 members of Western Australia's Yugoslav 
community during a peaceful demonstration on Fremantle wharf last week 
against NATO's bombing of Yugoslavia.

"Serbs had little choice  Kosovo peace accord not what we think", said 
the US newspaper the Houston Chronicle in an article on the internet 
and quoted at the gathering  information that has been ignored by the 
local media.

A chant, "Stop The Bombing", was the response from the crowd facing a high 
wire fence and a long line of police barring entry to the wharf where the 
US warship Princeton was moored.

On the horizon was the massive aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson  
too large to come into port. But 5,000 US Marines were able to enjoy "rest 
and recreation" while the NATO bombing continued.

Men and women waved banners denouncing Clinton and NATO. They were from the 
large Yugoslav population who have contributed to the community for many 
generations, respected for their cultural input and as working people.

NATO's Rambouillet proposal, had Yugoslavia signed it, would have given the 
Kosovar Albanians and NATO's Civilian Implementation Mission complete 
control of Kosovo, an integral part of sovereign Yugoslavia.

Serbian forces would have had to withdraw immediately, except for border 
guards, and NATO forces would have been "invited" in. The Albanians would 
have had their own president, government and courts, and power to make laws 
not subject to revision by Serbia.

The Chief of the Civilian Implementation Mission would have had the 
authority to issue binding directives to the parties on all issues he saw 
fit to.

At Rambouillet the Yugoslavs were prepared to give Albanians autonomy in 
their day to day lives, including religion, education and health systems, 
as well as local government. They wanted any international presence to be 
limited to observation and advice only.

However, the Yugoslav delegation would not sign with a NATO gun at their 
head.

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