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.