|TRAFICANT, James A., Jr.,|
TUESDAY, JULY 28, 1998
Washington, D.C. – U.S. Rep. James A. Traficant, Jr. (D–OH) today introduced a resolution urging the Clinton Administration to publicly declare that the Albanians of Kosova have a legal right to self-determination and independence from Serbia. "The Clinton Administration has failed to deal forthrightly with the serious situation in Kosova," said Traficant. "It is clear that diplomacy has failed in stopping Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic's dirty campaign of repression against the Kosovar Albanians. The time has come for the United States to support, in no uncertain terms, independence for Kosova." Ethnic Albanians comprise more than 90 percent of the population of Kosova.
Traficant's resolution expresses the sense of the Congress that: 1) the U.S. should publicly declare that the Albanians of Kosova have a legal right to self-determination and that independence is the only political solution acceptable to the Kosovars; 2) the U.S. should, in conformity with its principles and beliefs, support and sponsor the right of self-determination for the Kosovar Albanians and this should be a high priority for restoring peace and security to the region; 3) the U.S. should provide its share of any financial or other resources necessary to facilitate the independence of Kosova; 4) the U.S. in conjunction with members of the United Nations and other multilateral organizations, should convene a working group that deals with the specifics of secession in order to prevent future civil conflict from rising to the level of a breach of international peace and security and that facilitates constructive dialogue in order to prevent violence; and 5) the U.S. and others should use any and all means necessary to remove impediments to the Kosovar Albanian's right to self-determination.
The Traficant resolution asserts that the Kosovar Albanians satisfy the objective requirements for self determination according to well-established tenets of international law. The Kosovar Albanians comprise more than 90 percent of Kosova's population; share the common language of Albanian; are descendants of the Illyrian – the first group to occupy the Balkans well before the Common Era; share a common ethnicity; share a common history in the Kosova region; and share a common cultural identity as ethnic Albanians with an unbroken historic bond to the region. The resolution also notes that the Kosovar Albanians seek independence from Serbia in order to establish a democratic form of government.
Prior to the disintegration of the former Yugoslavia, Kosova was a separate political and legal entity with separate and distinct political, economic, social, judicial, legal, medical and educational institutions. Prior to being forcibly absorbed into Serbia in the late 1980s, Kosova enjoyed the same legal and political status as the other six republics of the former Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.
According to Traficant, since Serbian President Milosevic came to power in 1987, "Kosova has been brutally stripped of all vestiges of self-rule. We are now at a critical juncture in Kosova's history. Failure on the part of the U.S. and the world community to take decisive action could lead to further repression, genocide and regional instability," added Traficant. "Diplomacy has failed. Fighting continues to rage. Innocent civilians are being slaughtered. Independence may be the only viable option the Kosovar Albanians have to realize self-determination. It's time for the Clinton Administration to stop coddling Milosevic and take a stand for freedom and self-determination."
Traficant worked closely with former U.S. Rep. Joseph DioGuardi (R–NY) and the Albanian American Civic League in drafting the resolution. Traficant said today that he intends to push to have the resolution approved by the House International Relations Committee and brought to the House floor as soon as possible.2009