Statements on Kosovo crisis

The Crisis in Kosovo

SINCE the outbreak of the crisis in Kosovo, members of the Pugwash Executive Committee have been wrestling with the difficult issue of how an organization like Pugwash should respond to the tragedy that is affecting so many hundreds of thousands of people in the region. The four main officers of Pugwash – the President, Secretary General, and chairs of the Council and the Executive Committee – have been in constant touch among themselves and with others on how Pugwash could contribute to finding feasible solutions to both the current conflict and the long-term reconciliation that will be needed for the people of the Balkans to find some semblance of peace and security.

Shortly after the start of the NATO bombing campaign against the government of Slobodan Milosevic, attempts were made to come up with an Executive Committee statement that would embody the values of Pugwash in calling for an end to the fighting, the return of the Kosovar refugees, and the resumption of negotiations. In the event, differences of opinion on the priority to be given one course of action versus another were too great for such a common statement to be issued. Instead, it was decided to ask several members of the Executive Committee to contribute short opinion pieces for this issue of the Newsletter. Contained in the following pages, these commentaries reflect well both the complexity of the issues involved in the Kosovo crisis as well as the difficulties inherent in any organization as diverse as Pugwash being able to issue a common statement.

The process of thinking through how Pugwash could best contribute to solutions for the Kosovo conflict, though it didn’t result in a Pugwash statement, was valuable for offering up other more substantive actions that Pugwash could take to minimize the wider threats Kosovo poses to European and global security. One key issue is how the Balkans crisis is affecting Russia’s relations with the West. Initiatives are being considered for how Pugwash can use its historical role as a venue for open dialogue between East and West to explore in depth the ways in which stability can be maintained in Russia’s relations with the West. One such opportunity will be the Pugwash workshop on NATO and European Security, scheduled for July 2-4 in Castellon de la Plana, Spain, where senior figures from Europe, Russia and the US will discuss Kosovo, NATO enlargement, nuclear weapons, and other key challenges to European security. Also under consideration is a Pugwash workshop on military intervention, which will explore the continuing tensions faced by the UN and the international community between principles of state sovereignty and protection of fundamental human rights.

The ability of Pugwash to contribute to reducing the threats of all types of conflict as well as finding solutions to particular crises such as Kosovo will be an ongoing endeavor. To that end, we welcome suggestions from all members of Pugwash as to initiatives that Pugwash could undertake in the months ahead. We also welcome comments from Newsletter readers on the opinions expressed here on the Kosovo crisis. To stimulate a continuing dialogue on these issues, we will be posting many of your comments on the Pugwash website ( as well as publishing some in the next issue of the Newsletter. We urge all members of Pugwash to think creatively of how Pugwash, through its individual contacts and its organizational resources, can continue to play a vital role in enhancing the security of individuals and the global community.

Opinion Pieces below

  • George Rathjens, Secretary General
  • Sir Michael Atiyah, President of Pugwash
  • Joseph Rotblat, President Emeritus Pugwash
  • Francis Calogero, Chair,  Pugwash Council
  • Ana María Cetto, Chair, Executive Committee
  • Comments From the Pugwash Community
    • Caesar Voute
    • Martin Kaplan
    • Abdul Sattar

George Rathjens
Secretary General


UPON receiving suggestions that Pugwash produce a statement calling for the cessation of NATO bombing and the ethnic cleansing by Serb forces taking place in Kosovo, I was skeptical about getting the required consensus of the Council, or even just its Executive Committee. I also have reservations about our trying to influence events in any constructive way with public statements. I felt, nevertheless, obligated as secretary general to attempt a draft, even while believing that if a statement could be produced with which the other members of the EC could agree, I would probably not be able to do so.

I concede that policy statements might occasionally be useful in letting the world know what Pugwash is all about, but we deceive ourselves greatly if we believe that a statement of outrage, alarm, indignation or sadness about events such as those in Kosovo is likely to affect directly the decisions which governments, dissidents or others are likely to take. This is not to say that we should eschew public statements. If we can alert the world to special dangers and/or opportunities of great importance, of which it is really not cognizant, and by so doing lead people, over time, to useful introspection, new ways of thinking, and/or action, there may be merit in them. The Russell-Einstein Manifesto is an example. But if we wish to have some impact on the resolution of immediatecrises such as we now face in Kosovo and the surrounding countries we will make better use of our resources and connections not through press releases, but through thoughtful analysis and vigorous argument in workshops, with any worthwhile results being communicated directly, if possible, to those who might influence events or, if this is not possible, through publication in respected media. I am concerned that indiscriminate, “motherhood”-type public statements can not only divert us from more useful activities but be harmful in that in some important circles they will be construed as marking us as wooly-headed idealists: people not to be taken seriously.

Simplifying, I can imagine three “solutions” to the Kosovo crisis: (1) an armistice, with NATO stopping its bombing, and with perhaps the Serb and KLA forces in Kosovo laying down their arms as well; (2) an effort to reach agreement on a settlement based on cessation of bombing and ethnic cleansing, withdrawal and/or disarmament of Serb and KLA forces, repatriation of refugees, and the deployment of peace-keeping forces in Kosovo; and (3) a conquest of Serbia, as well as of Kosovo, the capture and indictment of people who might reasonably be deemed to be “war criminals”, including Slobodan Milosevic, and the occupation of Serbia by the conquering powers until such time as a new government could be established that would pose no near-term threat to an independent Kosovo, Montenegro or its other neighbors: a government that would abjure the idea of a “greater Serbia”.

I could not lend my support to any variant of the first solution. Milosevic would have largely succeeded in achieving his ethnic cleansing objectives and could enhance his power at home and encourage like-minded tyrants elsewhere, while with each passing day, the Albanian Kosovars, both those abroad and any remaining in Kosovo, would be left with little– and diminishing– hope of a stable and peaceful life in the homes from whence they had been driven.

In considering the possibility of resolution through negotiation, the two most critical problems will likely be the control of Kosovo and conditions for repatriation of refugees.

Positions have now so hardened that the Rambouillet solution to the first problem, independence to be determined by plebiscite after several years of substantial autonomy within Serbia, is no longer of much interest; but partition might be realistic, considering that it could be a face-saving outcome for Milosevic and that, unpalable as NATO professes it to be, this has become acceptable on a de facto basis in Bosnia. I think it would be an unfortunate, but possibly the only plausible, way of dealing with the problem.

Achieving a satisfactory solution to the refugee problem would likely be more difficult. Necessarily, a peace-keeping force would have to be deployed in Kosovo, but experience suggests that in the absence of stronger guarantees than have been given refugees in the Bosnia case that it would remain until there were no longer fears of a recurrence of ethnic cleansing, many, probably most, refugees would not voluntarily return. Moreover, investment in Kosovo might be quite limited and many younger Kosovars would look for opportunities abroad. But who could, or would, credibly offer really iron-clad guarantees? I have no answer, and so do not see any negotiation possibility that would likely offer more to the Albanian Kosovars than continuance of the war in the hope, however remote the possibility, that the bombing and the substantial use of NATO ground forces might result in Milosevic’s giving up or being driven from power.

As for conquering Serbia and bringing Milosevic to trial, I see no likelihood now of any of the NATO powers having the stomach for it, nor do I expect that more than one or two of my Pugwash EC colleagues, if any, would join me in advocating it; and I’m not sure about myself. While Milosevic has credentials as a small-time successor to Hitler and Stalin and a menace to his neighbors and the Serbs as well, I have reservations about endorsing a policy of conquest of Serbia, both because of the near-term costs and because I think it very likely that Milosevic’s removal from the scene, though almost certainly a necessary condition for peace in the region, is hardly likely to be sufficient for long term stability and peace in the Balkans.

And so, I conclude that rather than spending further effort trying to get a consensus Pugwash statement on Kosovo we had better turn our efforts to the upcoming workshop on the future of NATO, to be held in July in Spain, and to organizing a separate workshop on the ethics and criteria for military intervention, for which I will seek Council approval.
Sir Michael Atiyah
President of Pugwash

AS President of Pugwash I am very conscious of the responsibility I have inherited of carrying on the traditions established by my predecessors. But, as a relatively new Pugwashite, I am still trying to learn how our organization operates and in particular how it should respond to world crises. Last year we had the India/Pakistan nuclear tests and now we have the tragedy in Kosovo. It was clear, and was forcibly expressed in Mexico [at the 48th Pugwash Conference], that many members of Pugwash feel that we should not remain totally inactive in the face of such events. Many wanted a statement to be issued on the authority of Council or of the Executive Committee. The difficulty was the near-impossibility of getting an agreed statement. This proved too much of an obstacle for e-mail and, in the case of India/Pakistan, it had to wait for a lengthy discussion by Council in Mexico.

With Kosovo the situation has repeated itself and this second failure (as some see it) brings into sharp focus the whole question of Pugwash’s purpose and mode of operation. This is the matter I would like primarily to address, using the Kosovo issue as a backcloth. As a novice I am hesitant to make pronouncements about Pugwash but, as President I feel it is my duty to think clearly about the situation and put forward my views.

Pugwash is an unusual organization. It has little formal structure, it is very democratic, the role of the executive is strictly limited and it has an open-door policy on membership. Anyone attending a Pugwash meeting becomes a Pugwashite. It is is not a conventional lobby full of like-minded people. On the contrary it embraces, within its broad ranks, a whole variety of people whose views on important issues may be antagonistic. It is therefore not a body set up for, or well-suited to, making rapid public pronouncements on controversial world issues. Recent events confirm this diagnosis.

But what may seem a weakness in the structure and operation of Pugwash is in fact its strength. Its main success in the past has been in maintaining a dialogue on important issues between opposing camps. Nuclear weapons during the Cold War era provided the most notable example but Israeli/Palestinian contacts have also been pursued. I see the strength and uniqueness of Pugwash to lie in such behind-the-scenes activities. These tend to be long-term, measured in years, and conducted out of the lime-light. Serious attention is devoted to technical details, both scientific and political, and expertise is built up over a long period. Our credibility rests on our reputation in providing an effective forum for handling difficult international problems.

Clearly most active members of Pugwash share a deep concern for the peaceful and humane resolution of the world’s problems. This does not make us instant experts on military-political crises. I share the horror at what is happening in Kosovo : the brutal Serbian nationalism of Milosevic as well as the NATO bombing. I regret that the UN is not a more effective body and I am worried about the Russian reaction. Mistakes have obviously been made but I see no easy way forward. The best solution, involving the minimum of human suffering, would be to use Russian influence on Serbia to achieve a cease-fire followed by a political settlement allowing the Kosovo refugees to return in safety. The search for such a political settlement failed before, but the cost of violence may have brought people to their senses.

In so far as Pugwash has influential contacts that might help this process we should use them. This would be a positive contribution. A public statement, even if we could agree, would by itself achieve little.
Sir Joseph Roblat
President Emeritus, Pugwash

I believe that it was the duty of the Executive Committee to issue a public statement on the Kosovo crisis. This would be in addition to, not instead of, the actions already contemplated by the Executive Committee (trying to schedule a meeting with Primakov, organizing a meeting with senior Russians in Paris, and planning a Pugwash workshop on criteria for intervention).

The task of Pugwash is not merely to provide a forum for debate. We wish to see action resulting from it. Usually, we hope to achieve this by indirect means, but occasionally we have to do it directly, by appealing to decision-makers in a public statement. The Kosovo crisis is surely such an occasion, because of the immense human tragedy and because of the real danger of escalation into a situation with catastrophic consequences.

The usual argument against a statement is that it will not have any effect. But can we be sure that it will have no effect? If we cannot be sure, and if there is even a very small chance of having an effect, it is our duty to take it.

Another argument is that we should issue a statement only if we have something new to say. I do not think that this is a necessary condition. Practically everything that can be said about the Kosovo crisis has already been said. But if we can select from all this a certain set of measures which in our opinion are the most desirable, then recommending it would be a meaningful action.

I believe that the text of a statement that I have proposed to the Executive Committee would have fulfilled this criterion. Here it is.

Appeal to NATO leaders

THE military operations by NATO against Serbia were initiated mainly because of the concern about the safety of the ethnic Albanian population of Kosovo. However, the air raids on Serbia evoked an opposite result – apparently unforeseen by NATO: a brutal cleansing operation, with many young men murdered and a very high proportion of Albanian Kosovars forced to flee the country, under conditions of extreme cruelty and untold misery. Whether further air raids will succeed in accomplishing NATO’s initial intentions is uncertain; what is certain is that it will bring more terrible suffering to the Kosovars, as well as to the Serbian people. There is also a high probability that it will exacerbate tensions with Russia, leading to a general deterioration of the political climate in the world, with unforeseen consequences.

The military action by NATO has serious implications for East-West relations, and it undermines the authority of the United Nations, which – despite all its faults – remains our main hope of evolving a new world order.

For these reasons, we appeal to the NATO leadership to reconsider their policy and make a new attempt to return to the negotiating table. In the first instance, we suggest that NATO informs the Serbian Government that it is prepared to call a halt to further military operations, on condition that all ethnic cleansing operations cease, and that the Kosovar people are allowed to return to their homes. The fulfillment of this condition must be monitored by a United Nations peace-keeping force. We consider it important that the monitoring be done under the aegis of the United Nations, because this will make it possible for Russia to become directly involved in a positive manner, and is more likely to be accepted by President Milosevic.

* * * * * *

Let me finally add a note of a historical nature. On many occasions in the past we have had this problem of issuing a public statement on a matter about which there was a divergence of opinion. Usually, we succeeded in the end to reach a consensus, even if not unanimity. We established the tradition (much in Pugwash is based on tradition, since we have no written constitution) that if a very large majority, say 80% (not by voting – we try to avoid voting in Pugwash – but by general feeling) were in favour of issuing the statement, we would do it. In all cases the objectors bowed to the will of the majority, although sometimes wishing to record their abstention.

I have no evidence that the public statements issued on this basis in the past have been counter-productive or damaging to Pugwash.

Francesco Calogero
Chair, Pugwash Council

THE discussions among members of the Pugwash Executive Committee on the situation in the former Yugoslavia have been conducted in good faith. The main reasons why we could not agree on issuing a joint Pugwash statement was because some of us thought the first priority under the circumstances was to stop the war, hence advocated issuing a statement whose main thrust was an appeal to stop all military operations (in particular the bombing by NATO), while others saw instead the overriding priority being to stop the “ethnic cleansing” going on in Kosovo (including the murder of many men, the raping of many women, and the eviction from their homes of an entire population) and therefore opposed any call to “stop the war” unless this was preceded by a complete halt and reversal of these actions. I was and I am one of those who share this second point of view and I therefore advocated early on, and continue to advocate, an increase, rather than a decrease, of the military operations, including an intervention on the ground at the earliest possible date and with the most robust peace-enforcing and peace-keeping forces which can be mustered under the circumstances.

But I wish to emphasize that I do believe everyone among us is horrified by what has been and is going on in Kosovo. Our differences come in grappling with the hard choices that are required in the face of such events. It is also clear that none of us are at all happy with the continuation of the bombing campaign, although some of us see this as a necessary evil, better than doing nothing in the face of the ethnic cleansing operation, and hopefully a prelude to a peace-enforcing and peace-keeping operation on the ground.

My own position was made clear by my draft text of a possible Pugwash statement, which was circulated among us Friday April 9, 1999, before we held a telephone conference involving Cetto, Goldanskii, Rathjens, Rotblat and myself. Since this still reflects in essence my views, I report it here in full.

“The international community should not allow the ethnic cleansing practices that have caused a massive exodus in Kosovo to continue, and it must take responsibility for the return home of those who have been forced to escape, to return home under conditions in which they feel properly protected. This will require a presence in Kosovo of international peace-keeping forces. It is desirable that this outcome be achieved as soon as possible, and it is of course preferable that this be achieved with the larger possible concurrence of the international community, also to ensure adequate security to all the parties involved, including in particular both the Kosovar and Serbian communities. To this end it is desirable that the peace-keeping contingent, at least initially, be large enough to guarantee its effectiveness; it is preferable that it include forces that guarantee all sides, in particular a joint NATO and Russian presence is desirable; and a mandate by the United Nations is also most desirable. While these elements are likely to be very important for a successful outcome, the highest priority must of course be given to the immediate goal of stopping the ethnic cleansing practices which still go on and to make it possible for the families of the refugees to reunite back in their homes.

To the extent that the military pressure now exercised by NATO on Serbia is indispensable to reach quickly these goals, it should continue. But we suggest the time has now come, that an offer might be tried to stop such military pressure, including in particular the bombing, in order to allow an agreed transition to a peace situation on the ground guaranteed by peace-keeping forces.

The option for an international trial of those who have perpetrated crimes against humanity punishable under international law must of course be maintained and eventually enforced.”

In subsequent discussions I agreed to a draft text proposed by Rathjens (up to one modification, which seemed however to be universally acceptable), but Cetto could not agree to it and proposed changes to which I could not agree, and this led George to give up on the attempt to reach an agreed draft text of a Pugwash statement. Such a conclusion was reached by him in the context of a certain amount of skepticism about the real impact on the situation which could be made by a Pugwash statement, a skepticism which was shared to some degree by some (not all) of us.

The failure to ultimately agree on a common Pugwash statement is in my opinion an indication of the diversity of viewpoints, as well as political and cultural backgrounds, present among the present leadership of Pugwash. Even if this diversity may sometimes paralyze us, I consider it an asset rather than a liability, when it comes to the particular effectiveness of the Pugwash way to influence world affairs: something that is however very hard to measure precisely, and about which a large spread of opinions even among the Pugwash leadership is justified; just as it is appropriate to stick to our Pugwash tradition, namely to focus primarily on low-profile activities involving different and influential viewpoints, in the hope and expectation that these eventually influence beneficially policy decisions. I hope the future Pugwash workshops now planned will do just this.

Ana María Cetto
Chair, Executive Committee

“THE continuing conflict in Kosovo, NATO air attacks against targets in Serbia and Montenegro as well, and the assaults against the Kosovars –and the destruction of their homes and their displacement from them– are such affronts to life and human dignity, and so fraught with the possibility of further catastrophic consequences, that there is great urgency to reestablishing peace in the area through negotiations.”

This is the draft text which at some point, on the 14th of April, was being considered to initiate a Pugwash statement on the Serbia-Kosovo crisis. Many friends and colleagues (both from Pugwash and outsiders) have expected Pugwash to express itself against the violent and inhuman actions taking place; and indeed many of us consider this expression in itself as a moral obligation, even if we are not able to come up with “the” (or any) way out of this terrible conflict.

Yet we also feel compelled to think of possible practical solutions, and this is where an e-mail debate can hardly be the means to produce satisfactory results; it would be too easy to be true. It is important, anyway, that we persist in our efforts to lay down the principles for whatever negotiated or even non-negotiated decision takes place. Such principles can serve as common ground for our own internal debates, and more importantly perhaps, they should serve as guidelines for future action.

In the present case, human rights and international norms enter into flagrant conflict – not for the first time. Is the so-called “humanitarian intervention” a legitimate solution? Has it been so, in other cases?  History is unfortunately full of cases of intervention, justified under different names, and it is, in general, a sad history. Our nations have different experiences with intervention, both as actors and as victims of it. It is high time that a serious analysis is carried out of interventionism, that can help set internationally acceptable criteria on the legitimacy and appropriateness of intervention, civilian and military. The distinction between a war of conquest, an intervention (even a “humanitarian” one) and a violation of sovereignty is too blurred, in practice, and has been subject to much confusion.

In the meantime, if we are to make an appeal on behalf of Pugwash, still today (almost four weeks after) I adhere to the wording proposed by Joseph Rotblat in his second and third paragraphs. And, still again, for the same reasons, namely: Firstly, is it for us to say that stronger pre-conditions that have been proposed (such as removal of Serb and KLA military forces from Kosovo) would be “sufficient” for NATO to stop the bombing? Secondly, is it realistic to put these strong conditions on others, prior to NATO’s move to stop the bombing? Thirdly, what if any one of them is not met, should the bombing go on?

In view of the imminence of ground operations in the region, it is more urgent now to make a new attempt to return to the negotiating table, with the best of all possible intentions to find a long-term peaceful solution, with the participation of the affected parties and under the aegis of the United Nations. In this regard the partition of Kosovo seems to be neither appropriate nor useful or morally correct. Whatever can be advanced towards an international control or protection of the zone, along a path as non-violent and non-destructive as possible, should be perhaps the way.

Finally, let us remind ourselves that a strength of Pugwash has been that among its membership there are colleagues who represent the different parties to the conflict and who are able to talk to each other, to listen to the others and understand their views, and to find a common ground for reconciliation. Hopefully any progress attained with such an approach that is traditional of Pugwash, can influence the events in a positive direction.

Comments from the Pugwash Community

Martin M. Kaplan
Member of the Pugwash Executive Council, and past Secretary-General of Pugwash (1976-1988)

I commend the action taken to use the internet as the vehicle to deal with the great difficulties of arriving at an agreed statement by the Pugwash Executive Committee or Council. All the published views of the responders of the Pugwash leadership have great merit, and illustrate the difficulties involved. My unreserved endorsement, however, is for the draft statement suggested by Sir Joseph Rotblat.

Caesar Voute
Former Secretary, Netherlands Pugwash Committee


AS a retired Dutch professor living since five years in Bulgaria, married into a Bulgarian family and having many Bulgarian friends and colleagues, and who has been involved in a number of assignments of the European Union and of the European PHARE assistance programme for Central and Eastern Europe, I view the Kosovo catastrophe and its impact on the Balkan region from a different perspective. Therefore, I appreciate this opportunity to respond to the summary of the Executive Committee discussions that took place on Kosovo and to the commentaries by George Rathjens, Sir Michael Atiyah, Joseph Rotblat, Francesco Calogero, and Ana María Cetto. This Pugwash approach corresponds exactly to what I have been advocating with regard to the Kosovo tragedy, and it also illustrates the dilemmas with which we are being confronted. Moreover, in this way every person who wants to comment is now able to do so in public and to contribute to a debate on the lessons learned and on possible actions for the future. I agree basically with much of what has been said in those commentaries.

In the light of past and present events a Pugwash workshop on military intervention, national sovereignty and protection of fundamental human rights will serve an essential function. In the past weeks we have witnessed an almost total confusion on those issues on many levels in as many different countries and different groups of citizens. And in the past years we have experienced in Europe and in other parts of the world too many examples of extremely serious infractions on fundamental human rights accompanied by various forms of external interventions, often with inappropriate military techniques and tactics and with political, economic and military half measures with very limited success if any and with a very high price in human misery and countless innocent (civilian) victims. Such a workshop should address a number of fundamental issues, like: – which international body should have the moral and political authority to authorise (and supervise) interventions overruling state sovereignty; – in case of approved interventions, which type of military police actions are appropriate and suited for effective protection of the human rights of the population concerned instead of attempts to merely punish and destroy the military power of a belligerent party; – what measures can be taken to facilitate at the earliest possible stage a dialogue between the parties concerned and to achieve solutions through diplomacy and peaceful means.

However, there is also another very essential aspect of the Kosovo disaster following so shortly after the tragic events in Bosnia. It concerns the overall stability of the general region of the Balkans with its many ethnic and/or religious minorities and its heritage of an often violent history of centuries. A Marshall Plan for the Balkans as now proposed could strengthen or restore the economies of the countries concerned, enhancing socio-economic development and democratisation, thereby increasing the stability in the region. Always provided that the programme would result in socio-economic development benefiting each and every socio-cultural, ethnic and religious group adequately and in a properly balanced manner. Increased poverty, and especially poverty which hurts one group on society more than others, is at the root of much discrimination and of many confrontations and conflicts between groups which were living harmoniously together in the past. The recipient countries should therefore have a sufficient say in the distribution of funds and projects to the different target groups and different types of socio-economic and infrastructural development projects, and they should also share adequately in programme management, always taking into consideration the specificity of local conditions and circumstances. In this one special aspect, which merits much attention, is the stimulation by proper means of self-help programmes in various communities, thereby promoting their self-respect and dignity.

Such a Marshall Plan type of international action should be very generous and should be started at the earliest possible date, if we really want it to be effective and to fully achieve its objectives. However, and this is another aspect which might be analysed and discussed at a Pugwash forum, what should be the precise conditions under which the “Marshall Plan for the Balkans” would be implemented? There have been other international and/or regional assistance programmes and projects which were not always a success, or even worse, which created unforeseen frustrations, or even riots. We should understand which errors were made and why and we should make sure that similar errors would not be repeated again while implementing this new assistance plan for the Balkans.

These comments and words of warning are based on my own negative experiences as an expert who has carried out for the European Union assessment studies in a number of Central and Eastern European countries, and who has been in different capacities an advisor to Bulgarian and Romanian authorities for projects within the framework of the European PHARE assistance programmes and projects for those countries. Part of the problems arose from very complex administrative procedures which moreover sometimes considerably reduced the absorption capacity of the countries concerned who thus were unable to make proper use of the allocated funds. Other problems were caused by conditions requiring that feasibility studies and other expert consultancies be entrusted to expert firms of European Union member states, and that major contracts had to be tendered with often preference for large enterprises again from the European Union, without making optimal use of locally available expertise in the recipient countries. One of the results was, of course, that an important part of the funds were channeled back to the donor states. Another effect was that the recipient states could not profit sufficiently from the acquisition of new experiences. A third negative effect was that project preparation, both in the administrative sections of the EU secretariat and by consultants and contractors from donor countries, was often done by experts without sufficient knowledge of the conditions prevailing in the recipient countries, resulting in programmes and projects poorly adjusted to the needs. Unfortunately, the events of the last few months have shown that much of this was due to an overall weakness of the European Union management structure, a weakness which led the European Parliament eventually to force the European Commission to resign.

One may in this context also refer to various Worldbank and IMG programmes aimed at restructuring and strengthening ailing national economies, prescribing measures which have often been heavily criticized. Or bilateral “aid” programmes which stipulate that project approval and project funding is conditioned by the benefits they provide for firms in the donor country concerned.

More in general, Pugwash should in future pay serious attention to a systematic analysis of external political, economic and cultural factors exacerbating local cultural, ethnic and religious conflicts, because such external factors are playing more and more an increasing role due to the ongoing processes of globalisation, unfortunately often accompanied by the marginalisation of the weaker sectors of various societies and by corruption and manipulation by economic stronger actors, not the least in the rich industrialized donor countries. These are world-wide processes and phenomena, the effects of which are observable in many parts of the world and not only in the Balkans.

Such analyses, which may take the form of specialized workshops, fit very well in the mandate of the intellectual Pugwash world. We should not forget, like in many other fields that conflict prevention is more important than carrying out repair works after a conflict has been brought to an end.

Abdul Sattar
Islamabad, Pakistan


A freshman Pugwashite is diffident and tentative in proffering suggestions. Whether Pugwash should be a forum for discussion or a movement that gives expression to the deep concern of its members for peace and humane solutions is a question that can best be answered by those familiar with the philosophy of the movement. But internal debate on philosophy should not have been allowed to paralyse action and make Pugwash irrelevant.

When ethnic cleansing in Kosovo is complete and bombing continues to wreak destruction on Serbia, I suggest Pugwash issue an appeal along the following lines.

Committed to peace and humane solutions of conflicts, Pugwash cries out for an end to war and savagery in former Yugoslavia. Nearly a million Kosovars have been expelled from their homeland, an untold number have been killed. Serbs face death and destruction as their homeland is subjected to intense bombing.

A tragic incapacity to assimilate the imperatives of the era of democracy and freedom has made President Milosevic a curse for the people of former Yugoslavia. In Kosovo as earlier in Slovenia, Croatia and Bosnis-Herzegovina, his misguided policies have inflicted havoc and suffering upon people yearning for equality and justice. For the Serbs, too, his purblind policies have entailed defeat and humiliation, death and destruction.

Pugwash calls upon the government and people of Yugoslavia to agree to the reasonable demands of the world community: stop the inhuman policy of ethnic cleansing, withdraw Serb forces from Kosovo and agree to the induction of a UN security force which alone can create conditions conducive to the return of the Kosovar refugees in peace and dignity.

It is time to turn to peace. Only then can begin the process of return and resettlement of the refugees and the rehabilitation of the economy of Kosovo as well as Serbia.