Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Looking for CG

Is it just me or is it weird that Russian objections haven't been channeled through the so called Contact Group on the Balkans. Italy and France were brought on board through that forum. Russia is a full member of CG.

Yesterday there was another such meeting at the level of the modest political directors for the Balkans.
This last meeting is not a deviation from the norm - all previous ones have resulted in little public comments by the participants - but this one was special since pretty much the same countries are expected to be the key players at the Security Council very soon. Yet there was nothing said in public.

Why is Russia raising strong objections now, when it could have during Ahtisaari's consulations with the group months ago? Did Ahtisaari come up with talk of independence at the last minute surprising even CG's Russia and leaving no time for it to respond?

CG along with direct American-Russian diplomacy played a crucial role during the Kosovo War. Back then Dennis Ross was the man. He's still kicking in case the White House needs help.


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Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Kosovo: Independence Looms, But Pitfalls Remain


Patrick Moore echoes many of my concerns and feelings about the status proposal. Good article. 

Source: Kosovo: Independence Looms, But Pitfalls Remain - RADIO FREE EUROPE / RADIO LIBERTY

Comprehensive proposal for the Kosovo status settlement (S/2007/168/Add.1)


We finally have Ahtisaari's completed proposal. This document has just passed the ball to the Security Council. It is now their turn. I hope they won't dissapoint us. 


Article 1 General Principles

1. 1 Kosovo shall be a multi-ethnic society, which shall govern itself democratically, and with full respect for the rule of law, through its legislative, executive, and judicial institutions.

1.2 The exercise of public authority in Kosovo shall be based upon the equality of all citizens and respect for the highest level of internationally recognized human rights and fundamental freedoms, as well as the promotion and protection of the rights and contributions of all its Communities and their members.

1.3 Kosovo shall adopt a Constitution. The Constitution of Kosovo shall prescribe and guarantee the legal and institutional mechanisms necessary to ensure that: Kosovo is governed by the highest democratic standards, and to promote the peaceful and prosperous existence of all its inhabitants. The Constitution shall include, but not be limited to, the principles and provisions contained in Annex I of this Settlement.'

1.4 Kosovo shall have an open market economy with free competition.

1.5 Kosovo shall have the right to negotiate and conclude international agreements and the right to seek membership in international organizations.

1.6 The official languages of Kosovo shall be Albanian and Serbian. The Turkish, Bosnian and Roma languages shall have the status of official languages at the municipal level or will be in official use in accordance with the law.

1.7 Kosovo shall have its own, distinct, national symbols; including a flag, seal and anthem, reflecting its multi-ethnic character,

1.8 Kosovo shall have no territorial claims against, and shall seek no union with, any State or part of any State.

1.9 Kosovo shall cooperate fully with all entities involved in the implementation of, and undertake all obligations under, this Settlement. Kosovo and the Republic of Serbia are encouraged to cooperate in good faith on issues pertinent to the implementation and realization of the terms of this Settlement.

1.10 Kosovo and the Republic of Serbia are encouraged to establish a joint commission to facilitate such cooperation, as well as to pursue and develop good neighborly relations.

1.1 1 The international community shall supervise, monitor and have all necessary powers to ensure effective and efficient implementation of this Settlement, as set forth in Annexes IX, X and XI. Kosovo shall also issue an invitation to the international community to assist Kosovo in successfully fulfilling its obligations to this end.

Full_Report (pdf* format - 3.7 Mbytes)


Sunday, March 25, 2007

Village Nishor of Theranda got a memorial to an older massacre. Graves of 44 Albanians killed in 1913 during Serbia's first invasion of Kosovo were discoreved recently there. New graves cover old ones and we move on.

Radoniqi Lake

radoniq lake
Originally uploaded by azem.
A few kilometers to the left is the town of Gjakova. Albania is across the snow-capped mountains in the background.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Bear course reversal

In Russian foreign policy there are two people that matter, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Putin himself. You do have the military general staff and the Duma, the lower house, which are very nationalistic, pan-slavic, and anti-western attack dogs, but they come in line when the two key people above make the decision. In light of this, the excerpt below from Lavrov's address to Duma is very important.

Russia's Foreign Minster Sergey Lavrov stated that Kosovo is not the model for these breakaway regions, and that if the Serbian province is granted independence it does not mean these self declared republics will follow."We admit that any decision made about Kosovo's status will set a precedent. For the first time, independence will be gained not by being a component of a former union-member state, as with the case of Czechoslovakia and the Soviet Union [but by a former autonomous region], "Lavrov stated at the government hour at the Russian State Duma on March 21, Interfax news agency reported."But projection of this situation in respect to Abkhazia, South Ossetia and Transdnistria will not be a correct step. I repeat there is no connection. We are not waiting impatiently for Kosovo to be separated from Serbia so that we will do the same in regard with these republics. This is not true and this would be an erroneous position," he added.

The Messenger #055 (1322) - Lavrov: Kosovo is a precedent…sort of

Lavrov's message was aimed at internal Russian and "republic" consumption. So I wouldn't be surprised if at the UN Putin continues to play the current game until he secures the concessions he wants. But things should look brighter from now on.

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Monday, March 19, 2007


USSR Russian Ambassador to the UN walked out of the regular Kosovo meeting in the Security Council.

Mr. Churkin disagreed, saying the United Nations should reject Mr. Ahtisaari’s conclusion and turn to someone else with the capacity to keep negotiations open. “When you talk about a multiethnic country, especially a place like Kosovo, being acceptable to the people, it must mean being acceptable to the main ethnic groups” and not just a majority, Mr. Churkin said.

Russia Objects to U.N. Plan for Kosovo as ‘One-Sided’ - New York Times

What main ethnic groups? Does he mean the Romas at a few percent? Or the Serbs at one or two percents more than that? In Kosovo there are no main ethnic groups, there is only one main one and it is hellbent on independence.

If Russia insists on having its way, Kosovo Serbs will never again get the chance to recieve similar concessions.  The selling point of Kosovo leaders is that  concessions made in Vienna were done in the name of a quick independence - by June the latest. If Kosovo explodes beyond that, the Serb percentage will drop even further, Pristina will get individual recognitation from the few countries that matter (hint: Slovakia isn't one of them) and Russia will be left to veto admittance to the international sports organziations.

The only thing I pray Allah for is to continue having the might of the US Navy on our side.

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Thursday, March 15, 2007

A new “Battle of Kosovo” is fast approaching and the first shots have already been fired.
This stage of the struggle will be between diplomats. But, to quote Slobodan Milosevic, Serbia’s former leader in his famous speech at Gazimestan in Kosovo in June 1989, “They are not armed battles, though such things should not be excluded yet.”

BIRN - First Shots Fired in Diplomatic "Battle for Kosovo"

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What does Russia want?

We're getting closer to understanding what Russia wants.

BELGRADE (Reuters) - Russia is determined to delay and dilute, but not necessarily block, a proposal backed by the West for the independence of Serbia's breakaway Kosovo province, Western diplomats and analysts say.

Russia looks to delay and dilute U.N. plan for Kosovo | U.S. | Reuters

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Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Who's up for more talks?

I'm putting below UNOSEK's latest document which it otherwise published in .doc enforcing once again the belief of an existing West/Bill Gates conspiracy against Serbia. This document also seems to answer those that want more talks.

The Status Process

(updated 14 March)

The SE and the DSE paid their first visit to the parties and the region in November 2005, visiting Pristina and Belgrade, as well as the neighbouring capitals of Tirana, Podgorica and Skopje. Since then, the Special Envoy, his Deputy and senior staff members of UNOSEK have made frequent visits to the region.

In the course of 2006, UNOSEK has held 15 rounds of direct talks between the Belgrade and Pristina negotiating teams.

Fourteen of theses rounds of talks have focused on decentralization, the protection of cultural and religious heritage in Kosovo, economic issues, and the protection of community rights.

In addition, the SE presided over direct talks with the Serbian and Kosovo leadership in Vienna on 24 July 2006. President Boris Tadić and Prime Minister Vojislav Koštunica led the delegation of Serbia, while President Fatmir Sejdiu led the Kosovo Team of Unity. The meeting gave each party the opportunity to present at the highest level its view of the future of Kosovo to the other, as well as to the international community, represented both by UNOSEK and by observers from the CG, the EU and NATO.

Listing of Direct Talks between the Belgrade and Pristina Delegations

  • Meeting of the Serbian and Kosovo leadership in Vienna (24 July)
  • Eight meetings related to decentralization: (20-21 February, 17 March, 3 April, 5 May, 19 July, 7 August, 7 September and 15 September)
  • Three meetings related to the protection of cultural and religious heritage in Kosovo: ( 23 May, 18 July and 8 September)
  • Two meetings related to community rights: (8 August and 8 September)
  • One meeting related to economic issues: (31 May)

In addition to these direct talks between the parties, since January 2006, 26 UNOSEK-led expert missions have visited Belgrade and Pristina to talk separately to the parties on various issues.

Seemingly, since November 2005, the SE and his Deputy have been meeting extensively with other key players in the process. Those have included briefings to the Security Council (4 March, 13 July and 22 September 2006); meetings with the CG, EU Foreign Ministers, and other international actors, including NATO and the OSCE.

On 25 January 2007, the Special Envoy met the Secretary-General of the United Nations Ban Ki-moon in Paris to brief him on the latest developments in the status process and share with him the proposal. The next day, the Special Envoy met in Vienna with the Contact Group (CG) members and also shared the content of his proposal, as part of the regular consultations and close cooperation process between UNOSEK and the CG.

On 2 February, the Special Envoy travelled to Belgrade and Pristina to present his draft Comprehensive proposal for a Kosovo Status Settlement to both parties. In Belgrade, the proposal was handed over to President Boris Tadić of Serbia. In Pristina, the Special Envoy presented his proposal to President Fatmir Sejdiu and the Team of Unity.

The Special Envoy then invited both parties in Vienna to a series of meetings on the draft proposal. During a first round of talks, held between 21 February and 2 March, delegations reviewed the whole document. UNOSEK then revised its initial draft and the Special Envoy invited the highest representatives of both parties to attend a High-level meeting in Vienna on 10 March. Belgrade delegation was led by President Boris Tadic and Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica and Pristina´s Team of Unity was led by President Fatmir Sejdiu. Representatives of the Contact Group, EU and NATO also participated in the meeting.

At the end of the High level meeting, the Special Envoy observed that there was no will from the parties to move away from their previously stated positions. Left with no doubt that the parties’ respective positions on Kosovo’s status did not contain any common ground to achieve an agreement and that no amount of additional negotiation would change that fact, the Special Envoy concluded that the potential of negotiations was exhausted. He announced his intention to finalise his proposal for submission to the UN Security Council in the course of the month of March

On 14 March, Deputy Special Envoy Albert Rohan went to New York to hand over to the Secretary-General the Final Comprehensive proposal for a Kosovo Status Settlement, as well as the Report of the Special Envoy of the Secretary-General on Kosovo’s Future Status.

Kosovo's cadets forge ahead

BBC is doing a series of reports from Kosovo starting with the one below.

With the UN proposal for Kosovo's final status envisaging a new security force, the BBC's Patrick Jackson visits Pristina's fledgling military academy to meet the cadets.

"The future starts here," reads the sign above the entrance to the academy, based in the Kosovo Protection Corps (KPC) training centre on a hill above the once Serbian-run city.

Judging by the Albanian national flags around the site, the future at Pristina's two-year-old military academy is distinctly Albanian but the 23 cadets within are training for Kosovo, says Maj Valon Ahmeti, one of its officers."We accept the best cadets, male or female, Albanian or non-Albanian - it is important to be Kosovans, people from this country," he told the BBC News website.

BBC NEWS | Europe | Kosovo's cadets forge ahead

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Friday, March 09, 2007

Bad Ahtisaari

Shirley Cloyes DioGuardi of the Albanian American Civic League doesn't like the Ahtisaari Plan.

In a country that is 92 percent Albanian with 8 percent minorities, including 5 to 6 percent Serbs, the Ahtisaari plan allows for a kind of “double affirmative action plan” for Kosova Serbs that has no counterparts in the rest of the world. Out of 120 seats in parliament, twenty will be reserved for minorities, ten of which are for Serbs, on top of any seats gained through elections. Most important, any amendment to the constitution will require the approval of two-thirds of the minority members. This means that the Ahtisaari plan effectively allows the minority members, specifically the Serbs, to control the laws and political future of the majority. Since nothing in the constitution can be changed without the vote of two-thirds of the minorities, nothing will ever change—including recognizing Kosova as a sovereign state, even if other countries do on a bilateral basis.How can a proposal that weakens the capacity of Kosova’s central government to govern its territory and facilitates all sorts of special legal and extra-legal arrangements between Belgrade and Serb municipalities lead to peace and stability in Kosova and in Southeast Europe? How can such a plan ensure that Mitrovica and the rest of the north will remain an integral part of Kosova, when Kosova has no real sovereignty to begin with? The Ahtisaari plan also provides for a prolonged international presence in the form of an international military presence of indeterminate duration and an “International Civilian Office,” whose representative will take over authority from the UN and have sweeping powers over every aspect of life in Kosova. The international representative will have the power to “sanction and remove any public official” and to annul any decisions or legislation that violate “the letter or spirit of the settlement.” Under these terms, how can the Ahtisaari plan purport to lead to a sustainable settlement and a “democratic” Kosova?Failure on the part of Albanian negotiators in Vienna to challenge the most egregious provisions of the plan will result in a final draft that favors Serbia even more and that traps Kosova in a permanent, Bosnia-style aid-dependent state to the detriment of Kosova, the region, and the rest of Europe.

THE AHTISAARI PLAN: CAVEAT EMPTOR | Albanian American Civic League

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The Case for Kosova at LSE

The London School of Economics Albanian Society and the Student Society cordially invite you to a discussion on

*(Anthem Press, 2006)*
*Edited by Anna Di Lellio*

Houghton Street
London WC2A 2AE
United Kingdom
Room U8

Thursday, March 15, 2007
6:00- 8:00pm

This book makes the case for the independence of Kosova, at a time in
which the negotiation on the contested issue of its final status is
coming to a critical passage. As UN Special Envoy Martti Ahtisaari is
about the present the Security Council a Proposal for the Settlement
of Kosova, *The Case of Kosova* aims to contribute to the debate by
providing informed arguments on the viability of an independent new

Please join in a conversation.

*The Editor*

* *
Anna Di Lellio, Visiting Professor at The New School, NY and KIJAC, Prishtina

Paulin Kola, BBC analyst and author of *The Search for GreaterAlbania*
(Hurst and New York University Press, 2003)

Noel Malcolm, Senior research fellow at All Souls College, Oxford and
Fellow of the British Academy, author of *Kosovo. A Short History*
(Macmillan, 1998)

USIP: Kosovo: What Can Go Wrong?

by Daniel Serwer, Yll Bajraktari, and Christina Parajon

Conclusion: Multilateral when we Can, Unilateral if we Must

There are many things that can go wrong in the days and months ahead for Kosovo. There are forces working for delay and ambiguity, which will incite violence. The time has come for clarity and alacrity.

Given Serbia’s effort to cause further delay and uncertainty, along with the EU penchant for slowness and Russia’s reluctance to allow a clear UNSC decision, the United States needs to consider its options if a negotiated, multilateral solution proves impossible within the next few months. In that event, the Ahtisaari proposal will be a dead letter—Serbia cannot expect its implementation if there is no Security Council resolution.

If Kosovo were to remain unrecognized, it would then have a status comparable to that of Gaza or the West Bank, with all that implies in terms of instability and prospects for violence. Only U.S. leadership in moving quickly to recognize Kosovo—along with as many other countries as possible—could prevent rapid deterioration of such a situation. While the NATO forces stationed in Kosovo can no doubt keep the lid on for a while, that is only a temporary solution—one that will not stand firm if 1.8 million Albanians decide to march.

The full briefing at the source

Serbia asks much, loses more

Serb side, on the negotiations for Kosovo in Vienna, has requested more than it was possible, losing this way even what could be won, Serbia newspaper Blic cites the words of a foreign diplomat.

The diplomat says that many of the requests made were done to satisfy the public in Serbia and, as an example for this statement, mentions the request for Serb police to return to Kosovo.

"This has had an additional negative effect on Albanian side. They then became intolerable even on issues where an agreement could have been reached," has said the foreign diplomat who requested to remain anonymous.

Draskovic: Russia has not promised veto on Kosovo

Russia has never promised it will use the veto on Security Council due to Kosovo, Serbia Foreign Minister, Vuk Draskovic, has told Beta news agency.

"At this moment, positions of Serbia and Russia are on the same rails...But I believe that you cannot bet on it, in the war for the defense of Serbia's territorial integrity, to look only on Russia's veto", said Draskovic.

He said that Russia has made it clear that it will not support the solution proposed for the status of Kosovo if it clashes with Russia's interests and if both parties don't agree on it, but "it hasn't ventured further".

"I know that Russia, like never before, has signaled that there is a veto possibility...but it's something else to say 'we won't support the solution, and another thing to say that we will act against it," has said Foreign Minister, Vuk Draskovic.

Saturday, March 03, 2007