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Beware Balkans' border solutions

February 04, 2007

Re "Kosovo's hot potato," editorial, Jan. 26

Unfortunately, the United Nations proposal is but the latest example of a string of Western attempts to coerce people of the Balkans to live together, ignoring centuries of history in Europe and elsewhere. The one alternative that might actually help bring peace to the region -- new borders -- has been applied in an irrational fashion.

Changing borders does not guarantee that human rights will be better protected in the new states than they were in the old. In Kosovo, however, it offers the only possibility of a solution, ceding the primarily Serb areas to Serbia and allowing full independence to the remainder of the territory. This option would offer a chance for both peoples to take charge of their destinies. The muddle supported by The Times will serve neither peace nor justice.

HURST HANNUM

Hong Kong

The writer is a professor of public law at the University of Hong Kong.

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