Less than a week before the clashes in Kosovo and Metohija occurred, a group of Albanian lobbyists from USA held a meeting at which they decided to help Kosovo Albanians to force international community to give independence to Kosovo. 'Blic' got this information from well-informed sources in the US.
As 'Blic' further finds out this informal meeting was held at the initiative of David Philips, deputy director of the Center for preventive action within Council for international relations in New York. The meeting was held at his home with light diner.
Apart from Philips, known to our public opinion for his offer to Serbian authorities to sell Kosovo for three billion Euros, Richard Holbrooke, former USA envoy to the Balkans was also present. Then there were Randy Bears, senior political advisor to Senator John Kerry, actual candidate for the President of USA and several people from former Clinton's administration close to Albanian lobby. The guest of honor at the diner was Hashim Thaqui, former leader of Kosovo Liberation Army, visiting USA at that time.
According to our unofficial information. Richard Holbrooke pointed out at that meeting that independence of Kosovo and its membership in European Union was the best way for establishment of peace in the Balkan region. The guests discussed possibilities for media campaign and accepted certain guidelines for the future actions.
'Blic' source says that the guests agreed that the first good opportunity should be waited for beginning of attack.
Such opportunity occurred several days later when Albanians used the tragic drowning of their three children as an excuse to begin the campaign of terror against Serbs. Thaqui then informs the public opinion that he 'interrupts his visit to USA to return and calm down the situation'.
While Holbrooke and Thaqui are well-known to our public opinion, Philips and Bears can be treated as people from shadow. One fact about Bears is that he is of Albanian origin. It is believed that in case that John Kerry wins presidential election, Bear might take the position of the US Secretary of State.
As regards Philips, the official Internet site of influential American non-government organization Council for international relations he is described as director of Center for preventive action within the Council. The center is studying conflicts and ways for their prevention. His articles on the Balkans in which he mainly presented anti-Serbian stances were published in the leading newspapers including 'New York Times', 'Christian Science Monitor' and 'International Herald Tribune'.
'Blic' sources, close to American administration, said on condition of anonymity that Philips had been dealing with the Balkans for a longer period of time and that he was regularly present at all meetings dealing with this topic.
Over the years of crisis, Philips had very close relations with the regime of former president Slobodan Milosevic as well with the leaders of then opposition. He chaired the team of experts and American officials who in the middle of the 90s worked on so-called Albanian issue.
In December 1995, David Philips and another six Americans arrived in Belgrade and met with then Serbian president Milosevic. He managed on that occasion to get from Milosevic permission for opening American information office in Pristina. From Belgrade Philips went to Pristina and met there with Albanian politicians. He then went to Skopje and finally to Washington where he met with Richard Holbrooke and informed him about impressions from journey to Serbia. Somewhat later those impressions were published in a report called 'Towards permanent peace in Southeast Europe'. In that report there was requested for sanctions against Belgrade should remain in force and that work on strengthening of American office in Pristina should continue.
Only eight months later, in August 1996, Philips came to Belgrade again together with his associate and met with Milosevic. This time he managed to get approval for opening of schools in Kosovo and began negotiations about Milosevic-Ibrahim Rugova meeting.
After that Philips was more focused on Serbian opposition actively participating in meetings in which leading Serbian politicians participated.
One of the most important meetings, no doubt, happened in April 1997 in New York when a round table on Serbian-Albanian relations was held at the organization on ethnic relations, PER. Albanians were led by Fehmi Agani, Mahmut Bakali, Adem Demaci, Hidajet Hiseni and Veton Suroi. Americans were led by David Philips. Cyrus Vance, Rudolph Perina and some other experts for the Balkans were also present. Serbs were represented by Vuk Draskovic, Miroljub Labus, Dragoljub Micunovic, Vesna Pesic and Dusan Janjic.
Then it was agreed that agreement on Kosovo between Albanians and Serbs was to be reached in negotiations. It was also agreed that Helsinki principles about unchangeable borders were to be respected. The sale of Kosovo, as far as known, was not discussed then.
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