As long time proponents of and activists for a democratic and anti-nationalist Serbia, who have chosen to remain in Yugoslavia during this moment of crisis and who want to see our country reintegrated into the community of world nations, we state the following:
1. We strongly condemn the NATO bombings which have hugely exacerbated violence in Kosovo and have caused the displacement of people outside and throughout Yugoslavia. We strongly condemn the ethnic cleansing of the Albanian population perpetrated by any Yugoslav forces. We strongly condemn the Kosovo Liberation Army's (KLA) violence targeted against the Serbs, moderate Albanians and other ethnic communities in Kosovo. The humanitarian catastrophe in Kosovo - death, grief and extreme suffering for hundreds of thousands of Albanians, Serbs and members of other ethnic communities - has to be ended now. All refugees from Yugoslavia must immediately and unconditionally be allowed to return to their homes, their security and human rights guaranteed, and aid for reconstruction provided. Perpetrators of crimes against humanity whoever they are must be brought to justice.
2. The fighting between Serbian forces and KLA has to be stopped immediately in order to start a new round of negotiations. All sides must put aside their maximalist demands. There are (as in other numerous similar conflicts such as Northern Ireland) no quick and easy solutions. We all must be prepared for a long and painstaking process of negotiation and normalization.
3. The bombing of Yugoslavia by NATO causes destruction and growing numbers of civilian victims (at least several hundred, maybe a thousand, by now). The final outcome will be the destruction of the economic and cultural foundations of Yugoslav society. It must be stopped immediately.
4. The UN Charter, the Helsinki Final Act, the founding document of NATO, as well as the constitutions of countries such as Germany, Italy, Portugal, have been violated by this aggression. As individuals who have devoted their lives to the defense of basic democratic values, who believe in universal legal norms we are deeply concerned that NATO's violation of these norms will incapacitate all those struggling for the rule of law and human rights in this country and elsewhere in the world.
5. NATO's bombings have further destabilized the southern Balkans. If continued this conflict can escalate beyond Balkan borders and, if turned into land military operations, thousands of NATO and Yugoslav soldiers, as well as Albanian and Serbian civilians, will die in a futile war as in Vietnam. Political negotiations toward a peaceful settlement should be reopened immediately.
6. The existing regime has only been reinforced by NATO's attacks in Yugoslavia by way of the natural reaction of people to rally around the flag in times of foreign aggression. We continue our opposition to the present anti-democratic and authoritarian regime, but we also emphatically oppose NATO's aggression. The democratic forces in Serbia have been weakened and the democratic reformist Government of Montenegro threatened by NATO's attacks and by the regime's subsequent proclamation of the state of war and now find themselves between NATO's hammer and regime's anvil.
7. In dealing with the conflicts in the former Yugoslavia the leaders of the world community have in the past made numerous fatal errors. New errors are leading to an aggravation of the conflict and are removing us from the search for peaceful solutions.
We appeal to all: President Milosevic, the representatives of the Kosovo Albanians, NATO, EU and US leaders to stop all violence and military activities immediately and engage in the search for a political solution.
Belgrade, April 16, 19991. Stojan Cerovic, "Vreme" columnist and journalist