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New Series no.13/14 December 1999 - February 2000
Editorial: Moment of Truth

The internal contradictions in Western policy in the former Yugoslavia are now rapidly coming to a head, as the gap between rhetoric and action on the ground widens. The OHR removes individual local officials in BüH for `obstructing the implementation of Dayton', even as SFOR by omission and commission blocks the return of refugees that is the treaty's most essential element. It waxes eloquent about the noble aim of building a multiüethnic society, even as the OSCE seeks to impose an electoral law that risks making ethnic territorial separation permanent and, almost unbelievably, has come to see the SDP's Zlatko Lagumdzija or Haris Silajdzic as its main adversaries, the three nationalist parties as its main allies.

Meanwhile, in Kosova, KFOR keeps Mitrovice effectively partitioned and pays Belgrade hardücurrency rents in the name of a spurious Serbian sovereignty. The UN for its part does everything to strip Kosova's institutions of any legitimacy based on its history or its past status as a constituent unit of the former Yugoslav federation and blames Kosova representatives whom it has itself deprived of authority for its own failure to provide a secure environment and control lawlessness.

Now that the Croatian electorate has forcefully repudiated the whole order installed by Franjo Tudjman, and specifically his destructive policies in Bosnia-Herzegovina, and now that Serbia's top leaders have been indicted for crimes against humanity committed in the pursuit of new ethnic borders, the question posed inescapably for Western politicians is whether they can persist in a policy of dividing BosniaüHerzegovina into ethnically based units that was initiated in 1992 by Hague indictee Slobodan Milosevic with the aid of another Hague suspect, Tudjman; whether they can persist in maintaining the separate existence of an explicitly `Serb' entity on half of Bosnia-Herzegovina's territory formerly inhabited by Bosnians of every nationality; or whether they must not instead base their policies henceforth on those elements of the Dayton settlement that could facilitate the country's reintegration, while abandoning or revising those elements that obstruct that aim.

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