Quote:Ceku: Kosovo will declare independence in December
Southeast European Times
Quote:Kosovo Prime Minister Agim Ceku has reiterated that Kosovo will declare independence from Serbia within days of the December 10th deadline if no deal on its final status is in place by then.
If you want to scare yourself about the consequences of the above, read this story in the Observer from a week or two back. The hyperbole author Andrew Rawnsley uses is either annoying or entertaining, but there's no doubt that the gathering crisis he is talking about is real, and developing mostly under the radar of Western media coverage.
Quote:We risk sleepwalking into another war in the Balkans
November 18, 2007
Quote:UK party leaders are not talking about it, but within weeks we could be facing a desperately grave crisis in the Balkans.
At the heart of the crisis is a 10 December deadline on the future status of Kosovo. Meanwhile, the mandate for the EU's peacekeeping force in Bosnia expires this week.
Shadow defence secretary Liam Fox warns that 'we might be on the verge of the biggest crisis in the Balkans since the early Nineties', and the commander of the EU forces in Bosnia has warned about the need for Europe to be able to intervene militarily 'in the event of another outbreak of war'. Smoke alarms are shrieking, but most of Westminster is still asleep.
Quote:Kosovo: A Chapter Closes
BIRN Balkan Insight
26 11 2007
Serbian and Kosovan leaders are meeting one last time under the aegis of the international Troika of mediators. No results are expected. So what next?
Pressure could be put on the Kosovo Albanians to delay declaring independence until well into the New Year. That could facilitate the re-election of Boris Tadic as president of Serbia, over the Radical Party's Tomislav Nikolic. Tadic should then be in a strong position to finally assert influence in government - especially now that Prime Minister Kostunica's belief that Moscow could save Kosovo for Serbia has backfired spectacularly.
Until a few weeks ago, it appeared that the EU was going to be badly split over Kosovo. What appears to have happened is that the countries which were ambiguous or hostile to Kosovan independence were alarmed by the way Russia was using the issue to divide the EU, prompting them to line up behind the independence option in order to show their unity.
Quote:Final Kosovo talks end in failure
28 November 2007
Serbs and Kosovo Albanians have failed to resolve the future status of Kosovo at a final round of internationally-brokered talks. The UN had set a 10 December deadline for a settlement.
Both sides say they will avoid a return to violence, but the US envoy to Kosovo has warned the "peace of the Balkans is very much at stake". The EU cautioned Kosovo's leaders against a unilateral declaration of independence.
Quote:Kurti Case Presents Legal Headache for UN in Kosovo
BIRN Balkan Insight
02 10 2007
Quote:The people of Kosovo and the UN administration in Kosovo, UNMIK, do not see eye-to-eye over the proceedings against political activist Albin Kurti. Kurti has been under house arrest since the Pristina protests of February 10, in which two persons were killed when UN police forces fired rubber bullets at protesters when they tried to break through police lines.
The leader of the Vetevendosje (Self-determination) movement claims he is a political prisoner. Although not many Kosovars would join him in protests against UNMIK, most do believe that the charges against Kurti have been politically motivated, and that he is being held isolated to keep him from further political activities while Kosovo's status issue awaits its resolution.
Vetevendosje opposes the negotiating process on Kosovo's future status, demanding instead full and immediate independence. It has protested against UNMIK and painted the slogan "no negotiations, self-determination" on the walls of many public buildings. Kurti is a former students' leader, who was arrested in 1999 and sentenced to 15 years in prison by the late President Slobodan Milosevic's regime, and released from jail in 2001.
Critics of the proceedings against Kurti point out that the prosecution and the judges belong to the same UNMIK department, and Julie Chadbourne of the International Helsinki Federation complained that it had been denied permission to visit Kurti. The acting ombudsperson of Kosovo said there had been violations of procedures in Kurti's case.
But Robert Dean, acting head of UNMIK's Department of Justice, denied that Kurti was prosecuted for his political views. "The problem with Kurti is the way of expression. It's not the message, it's the manner", he said. He admits that, "When I saw the structure that the prosecutors and the international judges were organisationally within the same department of justice, I found it, from my American experience, problematic." But he vows that he has "promised judges complete independence of operations".
Oh come on nimh, you're dealing with Americans. We don't even know what's happening in New Jersey.
Comment: Kosovo`s Choice Between Justice and Organised Crime
BIRN Balkan Insight
13 09 2007
Following the murder of a popular policeman, Kosovars can no longer plead ignorance about the extent to which mafia crime has penetrated the country.
Hundreds of murder cases lie unresolved in police files. When the police does prepare cases for trial, the weak and impotent courts often release the defendants. Eight years after they survived a vicious campaign of ethnic cleansing, Kosovars seem afraid to even pronounce the name of their most fearsome gangsters.
But after Triumf Riza was murdered with an automatic weapon in a crowded district of Pristina in broad daylight, thousands marched in Pristina's streets in a peaceful rally against organised crime. Riza, an elite member of the Kosovo Police Service, was famous for chasing criminals even when they were close to the authorities or politicians.
When the protestors symbolically turned their backs on the Kosovo courthouse, it was an expression of the loss of their trust in the state of law, order and justice in Kosovo - for which ultimate responsibility remains with the UN administration.
NGOs argue against further indecision on Kosovo
The delay on Kosovo's status question is creating tensions that could result in violence, according to a report by Saferworld and Kosovo's Forum for Civic Initiatives (FIQ). If Kosovo becomes independent, this may trigger discontent among the Serbian minority; if it does not, then the "frustration among Kosovo Albanians could spill over into violence", it says.
"Many people feel cut off from high-level international negotiations and powerless to influence decisions made by the US, Russia and the EU about Kosovo", said the director of FIQ. Involvement of the local population in the decision-making process should be increased and previous mistakes by the international community of not engaging with the local population and civil society should not be repeated.
Finally, internal action in some fields - such as the justice sector - are also essential in order to render the courts more functional and prevent people from "taking justice into their own hands", says the report.
Meanwhile, EU diplomats have said they are working on a plan to delay Kosovo independence. The plan would have the EU replacing the UN as the civilian administration in the province and postpone a possible recognition of independence until early next year.
"NATO will crack down on violence"
7 December 2007
NATO will act "decisively" against all those who wish to solve the Kosovo crisis through violence, says Jaap de Hoop Scheffer. "Whatever the solution for status, Kosovo has to continue to be a place where Kosovo Albanians, Serbs and other communities can live together without fear," Scheffer said, adding that in keeping with its role, NATO would go to great lengths to ensure this.
NATO foreign ministers agreed last night in Brussels to maintain the KFOR mission at its current level. But asked how the two organizations would react to a potential declaration of independence by the Kosovo Albanians, Belgian Foreign Minister De Gucht replied that there was as yet no consensus on that matter: "The issue will require further debate."
EU seeks 'common framework' to recognise independent Kosovo
14 December 2007
EU leaders endeavoured to forge a "common framework" for recognising Kosovo independence at a summit Friday.
Officials believe that Kosovo will announce its intention to declare independence next month, and then break away by May in "coordination" with its EU and US allies. A core group of EU countries and the US are prepared to recognise Kosovo, but Cyprus refuses to go along.
Austrian Chancellor Gusenbauer said: "I am convinced that the great majority of member states will act in concert."
Serbian official threatens to go to war over Kosovo
December 7, 2007
The EU special envoy on Kosovo yesterday demanded the retraction of a threat by a senior Serbian official that his country could resort to war if the mostly ethnic Albanian province declares independence.
Aleksandar Simic, an advisor to Serbia's prime minister, was quoted in the Belgrade media as saying that Serbia had the legal right to use war as a means of defending its territory, if Kosovo, a UN protectorate for the past eight years, declares independence in the coming weeks as expected.
"Serbia has had negative experiences from certain armed clashes during the civil wars in the former Yugoslavia, and this is why we are more prudent and cautious now, but, of course, state interests are defended by war as well," Simic said.
Wolfgang Ischinger, the European member of a troika of international negotiators who have spent the past four months trying in vain to find a negotiated settlement on Kosovo's future, reacted angrily. [..] "I believe this is in clear violation of the firm commitments expressed by the president of Serbia himself at the conference table in a solemn fashion." [..]
There was no response from Belgrade last night, but a Serbian diplomat pointed to a statement on Wednesday by the foreign minister, Vuk Jeremic, in which he declared his government would use all means to oppose Kosovo independence except military action in any form.
Serbia came under pressure on another front yesterday, when the outgoing war crimes investigator for the former Yugoslavia, Carla del Ponte, gave Belgrade until Monday to hand over a Bosnian Serb fugitive, General Ratko Mladic. Failure to do so, she said, could block Serbia's pre-membership agreement with the EU that was initialled last month, but not signed.
The row reflects rising tensions in the run-up to Monday's deadline for the last-ditch mediation effort by the troika [..]. The troika report to the UN secretary general will make it clear that the mission explored every possible compromise solution without narrowing the differences between Kosovo's ethnic Albanian majority, and the Serbian government. [..]
Ischinger said that further negotiation would not bring any convergence and would instead make the situation in the Balkans even more fragile. [..]
The looming Kosovo crisis will be discussed by a meeting of European foreign ministers on Monday, and at a European summit later next week before going before the security council on December 19. The newly elected Kosovo Albanian leadership has assured the EU and Washington that it will not declare independence before the meetings but an announcement could come in the new year.
"We are talking about weeks, not months," a senior western diplomat involved in the talks, said yesterday.
The US and most of western Europe is expected to recognise Kosovo's independence rapidly, but Russia has vowed to resist a secession Moscow sees as illegitimate under international law.
I have a thread up called, "Meanwhile, what is happening in Bosnia?", but oddly, I've never found a good place to post stuff about what is going on currently in Kosovo. I've mostly posted in the "Following the EU thread" (though even then far too rarely so).
Hence, this new thread. Please feel free to contribute!
Let me add a poll for extra interest.
I just voted for "An independent but divided state, with the North having seceded or joined Serbia". And to that I'll add that Bosnia will probably fragment again, with the Serb half also seceding and joining Serbia.
oralloy wrote:I just voted for "An independent but divided state, with the North having seceded or joined Serbia". And to that I'll add that Bosnia will probably fragment again, with the Serb half also seceding and joining Serbia.
Thanks for your take, Oralloy!
There's no Soviets anymore to invite in tho.. :wink:
I'd pay a hundred dollars to watch Serbian tanks roll into Kosovo.