Plan for ethnic cleansing in Kosova
by Ratomir Tanic - interviewed by Radio Free Europe
‘Yes, there was a plan for the ethnic cleansing of Kosovo’
Ratomir Tanic (former Serbian government negotiator)
interviewed by Omer Karabeg for RFE/RL
Why didn't Milosevic sign the Rambouillet agreement? What was his motive? Officially it was said that he rejected foreign troops going to Kosovo.
Milosevic did not sign that agreement since he needed a war with the NATO pact. The logic was to create a conflict and then stay in power with the help of pseudo-patriotic rhetoric. And the greater the conflict, the more the pseudo-patriotism looks like real patriotism. Milosevic really needed a conflict with the international community. That would be the ideal situation. He wanted the bombing to confirm his invented thesis. It is like someone setting fire to your house in order then to play the role of firefighter.
Mr Tanic, was there a plan for ethnic cleansing of Kosovo before the NATO bombing or, as many in Serbia claim, was the expulsion of the Albanians a consequence of the NATO bombing?
There was a plan for ethnic cleansing. There was above all a plan to reduce the number of Albanians to under a million, after which it could be claimed that there were less than 50 percent of them, so they did not have any right to autonomy. It was a very clear plan, as there was a plan for ethnic cleansing itself. Our security organizations were not at all engaged in settling scores with the terrorists, they were
settling scores with the population. That is how, among other things, the Serbian-Albanian conflicts started in early March 1998. Instead of arresting the Jashari brothers and some others, as the rules of combat prescribe, you attack the houses where they live, kill their wives, children, relatives, and neighbours, and of course that provokes the revolt of the Albanian people - it would provoke revolt in any people. Milosevic knew that with such measures he would provoke the Albanians into an uprising, and then he could say: ‘We have a rebellion’. And as for the incidents, I can quote you some statistics from our MUP. In 1991 there were some 11 terrorist acts, in 1992 there were 12, in 1993 there were 8, 1994 had 6, 1995 had 11; but in 1998 when Milosevic started to provoke ethnic conflict there were 1,885 terrorist acts. So it is clear that the rise of terrorism is a consequence of ethnic cleansing, not its cause. Milosevic's ethnic cleansing of Albanians led to the strengthening of the UCK, to a massive Albanian uprising, and finally to the conflict with the international community.
Omer Karabeg interviewed Ratomir Tanic on 7 March 2001. Tanic was a leading official of the New Democracy party (a junior partner in Milosevic's ruling coalition during the 1990s) and, as a member of the Serbian government, from late 1994 to mid 1997 participated in secret negotiations with representatives of the Kosovo Albanians.