Wednesday, August 29, 2007

B92 - Slovenia concerned over Kosovo

[Slovenia Foreign Minister Rupel] said that the problem and confusion concerning the province’s status needed to be cleared up.

“That status was, in the time of Yugoslavia, practically identical to the status of a republic that no one stopped from becoming a state,” Rupel said.

Rupel makes a good point. Amids the fierce armed opposition from Serbia at the breakup of Yugoslavia, International Community (Badinter Commission) took the easy way out and declared that only the Republics had the legal right to secede, all but one of which had already done so. Would Kosovo going its way as well been too much for Serbia to stomach? In our case the answer was simple at that time: Kosovo couldn't risk it going to war at that moment.

I wonder what Miss Teen South Carolina would think of this technicality?  

Source: B92 - News - Politics - Slovenia concerned over Kosovo

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Kosovo: Albanian Writer Says 'Every Nation Has A Right To Ask For Its Freedom'


Kosovo: Albanian Writer Says 'Every Nation Has A Right To Ask For Its Freedom'

Albania -- Writer Ismail Kadare, 21Oct2004

Ismail Kadare (file photo)


August 29, 2007 (RFE/RL) -- The man who is widely regarded as the greatest living Albanian writer, Ismail Kadare, spoke recently with RFE/RL's Kosovo subunit about the current negotiations on Kosovo's independence, Europe's role in the region, and Albania's influence on Kosovo.

Source: Kosovo: Albanian Writer Says 'Every Nation Has A Right To Ask For Its Freedom' - RADIO FREE EUROPE / RADIO LIBERTY

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Give Up on Kosovo, President Tells Serbs | World Latest | Guardian Unlimited


PRISTINA, Serbia (AP) - Kosovo's president urged Serbia on Wednesday to give up its claim to the province and cast doubt that upcoming talks would yield progress with both sides refusing to budge from their entrenched positions.

Source: Give Up on Kosovo, President Tells Serbs | World Latest | Guardian Unlimited

Monday, August 27, 2007

B92 - U.S.: Kosovo solution without Russia if necessary


U.S.: Kosovo solution without Russia if necessary

27 August 2007 | 11:21 | Source: Tanjug

VIENNA -- The solution for Kosovo's must be found even without Russia, U.S. Ambassador to the UN Zalmay Khalilzad says.
Speaking in an interview for the Vienna daily Die Presse, Khalilzad stressed that the status of Kosovo must be resolved "in one way or another".
There is time until Deember 10, he said, as that is when the negotiating Troika will present a report to the UN.
"It would be desirable to find a solution together with Russia. However, the current situation in Kosovo cannot go on forever," he said.
"The situation in Kosovo poses a threat to regional and European security," Khalilzad pointed out.
Asked whether he considered the independence of Kosovo as a solution, Ambassador Khalilzad said UN envoy Martti Ahtisaari had proposed a middle-of-the-road solution, which, according to him, demonstrates that there are "different options".

Source: B92 - News - Politics - U.S.: Kosovo solution without Russia if necessary

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Though with small steps Kosovo moves forward


The first thing that impresses you when you enter Kosovo is rapid roadside construction...

Source: FOCUS Information Agency

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Sunday, August 26, 2007

Don't Blame the World for Milosevic's Crimes -


Blaming the world for the consequences of the fascistic ambitions of the Serbian dictator, Slobodan Milosevic, is a wrong approach to the Balkans' recent history. If anything, the contrary of what Mr. Kuperman wrote is true. Had the world recognized immediately, without public hesitation, the right of the former Yugoslav nations to secede, it would have discouraged Milosevic from using force and many Serbs from believing that it was fair game to deny the right of self-determination to the other Yugoslavs.

Source: Don't Blame the World for Milosevic's Crimes -

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Friday, August 24, 2007

Europe's final frontier | Travel | The Guardian

A holiday on the Albanian Riviera might sound like a Borat-style joke, but Benji Lanyado finds beautiful empty coves, €30 a night beach huts and locals who welcome him into their homes

Source: Europe's final frontier | Travel | The Guardian

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Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Police seize massive cache of explosives in Kosovo

'We don't know yet what the explosive was intended for, but it sure wasn't for fishing,' said Beqir Kelmendi, a senior police official in Pec, estimating that the amount seized was enough to 'blow up several buildings.'

The generally accepted view is that there are more than around 400,000 guns lying around in Kosovo. While an armed militia is welcome considering the situation Kosovo is in and the cost of a standing army to compete with neighboring threats, that many guns coupled with the backlog of legal cases over property disputes have led to many firearm deaths after the war. One has to love though the European naivete of making the police and the KPC members carry only hand guns, just in case Albanians get armed too much. The way I see it, 400,000 is a long way to catch up with Switzerland.   

Source: Police seize massive cache of explosives in Kosovo (Roundup) - Europe

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U.S., Russia may swap Kosovo for Transdniester in "Great Agreement"


An Oxford professor and Balkans specialist says that the United States and Russia may work out a so-called "great agreement" over Kosovo. In such a scenario, the West would not oppose independent statehood for Transdniester as long as Kosovo also got independence. Russia's President recently said that the two should be treated the same.

Source: U.S., Russia may swap Kosovo for Transdniester in "Great Agreement"

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

EU must act on Kosovo without U.N.: think-tank | World | Reuters


The group warns that Kosovo leaders will be under huge internal pressure to declare independence before 2008 and ask the U.N. mission in charge since the 1998-99 war to leave.

"If they act and are not supported, Kosovo would fracture: Serbia reclaiming the land pocket north of the Ibar River, Serbs elsewhere in Kosovo fleeing, and eight years of internationally guided institution-building lost."

Source: EU must act on Kosovo without U.N.: think-tank | World | Reuters

New report from ICG


Europe Must Break the Kosovo Stalemate

Pristina/Brussels, 21 August 2007: Europe risks a new bloody and destabilising conflict unless the EU and its member states now accept the primary responsibility for bringing Kosovo to supervised independence by April/May 2008.

Breaking the Kosovo Stalemate: Europe’s Responsibility, the latest report from the International Crisis Group, examines the key role of the EU in ensuring Kosovo’s safe transition from its current limbo as an international protectorate. The preferred strategy of bringing Kosovo to supervised independence through the United Nations Security Council has failed, following Russia’s declared intention to veto, and a new round of negotiations between Pristina and Belgrade will most likely lead nowhere. This leaves the EU – with the most to lose from renewed violent conflict in the Balkans – before crucial decisions.

“The EU has a ticking time-bomb in its own backyard”, says Alexander Anderson, Crisis Group’s Kosovo Project Director. “The sooner the EU, or a significant majority of its member states, declares itself ready to back an independent Kosovo, the better the chances of forestalling disaster”.

Pristina and Belgrade have recently started four months of talks mandated by the six-nation Contact Group (France, Germany, Italy, Russia, UK, U.S.). But Serbia will not accept independence, seeks to delay indefinitely and is laying the foundation for what would be destabilising partition. The EU and U.S. should maintain the integrity of the Ahtisaari plan – the blueprint for supervised independence crafted by the UN Secretary-General’s special envoy, former Finnish President Martti Ahtisaari, after a year of painstaking negotiations.

By 10 December – if, as is overwhelmingly likely, no agreed solution emerges from those talks – the EU, U.S. and NATO need to be ready to start coordinated action with the Kosovo government to implement the essence of the Ahtisaari plan, including the 120-day transition it envisages. That period should be used to accumulate recognitions of the conditionally independent state from many governments; to adopt and set in place the state-forming legislation and related institutions foreseen by the Ahtisaari plan; for the Kosovo government to invite the EU and NATO to take up new responsibilities and for those organisations to do so; and for the UN Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) to withdraw in an orderly fashion. In April/May 2008, Kosovo would be conditionally independent, under EU and NATO supervision.

Not all EU member states need to recognise Kosovo during the transition or even in April 2008, but a failure to reach a united position in support of Kosovo’s conditional independence would highly discredit the EU’s Common Foreign Security Policy and European Security Strategy and have very disturbing consequences for Europe.

“Europe tragically failed the former Yugoslavia in the 1990s. Now it has a second chance to show it can be an effective actor in the Balkans”, says Sabine Freizer, Crisis Group's Europe Program Director. “If it is incapable once again, it would almost certainly lead to bloodshed and renewed regional chaos that would blow back into Central and Western Europe in the form of refugees and stronger organised crime networks”.

Source: International Crisis Group - 185 Breaking the Kosovo Stalemate: Europe’s Respon

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Sunday, August 19, 2007

Clinton is 61

Kosovars celebrate Clinton's 61st birthday in Prishtina. No birthday party for you, Putin!

"I hope president Clinton lives to be 101. I hope his wife Hillary is elected president and rules America as her husband did," said Lutfi Salihu, a 66-year-old pensioner who attended the concert.

Source: FOCUS Information Agency

Kosovo on Yahoo! News Photos



AP - Wed Aug 15, 12:09 PM ET

An elderly woman touches the wooden icon of the Virgin Marry as they pray for better health during the feast of Assumption in the village of Letnica, Kosovo, Wednesday, Aug. 15, 2007. Thousands of pilgrims gathered in southeastern Kosovo in the small Roman Catholic community where Mother Teresa prayed before she decided to become a nun. The pilgrims from the region, including Kosovo's majority Muslims, came to pray to the town's Black Madonna, one of rare such icons of Virgin Mary in Europe's churches. (AP Photo/Visar Kryeziu)

Source: Kosovo on Yahoo! News Photos

Monday, August 13, 2007 / Kosovo questions

So far this summer, Kosovo's inhabitants have shown patience and forbearance. They will need to continue to do so in the run-up to November elections. In addition, the EU and the US must make every effort to ensure that they do not split over whether to recognise Kosovo as independent without a Security Council resolution. It is all very well for the two sides of the Atlantic to perform a "good cop, bad cop" routine when dealing with Serbia, but they cannot afford this being shown up as more than mere show.

Source: / Home UK / UK - Kosovo questions

Diplomats to visit Kosovo, seeking new talks - International Herald Tribune


"The emancipation of Kosovo is an unstoppable process. If Kosovar Albanians lose hope of independence in the near future, then we will be faced with a crazy security challenge within a week."

Source: Diplomats to visit Kosovo, seeking new talks - International Herald Tribune

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Friday, August 10, 2007

Kosovo Talks Unlikely to Come to Anything

Fresh discussions over the future of Kosovo appear to be little more than a stalling tactic for all involved.
By Tim Judah

Source: BIRN

BBC NEWS | From Manchester with love


From Manchester with love

Saranda Bogujevci

Saranda lost 14 members of her family in the war

Cool school uniform, warm Manchester days and refugee theatre form some of the early impressions of a young orphan rescued from Kosovo, recounted in letters home.

Source: BBC NEWS | UK | Magazine | From Manchester with love

A ticking clock on Kosovo's status - The Boston Globe

One helluva good commentary from Chris Patten.  

The bottom line is that Pristina demands nothing short of independence and Belgrade refuses that, so the new troika will end up where Ahtisaari did: stalemate between the parties and the need for the UN Security Council to cast the deciding vote. Given the Kosovo people's overwhelming desire to be free from the state that tried to eliminate them and the lack of any realistic alternative from Belgrade, the international community has little choice but to give Kosovo its independence.

Source: A ticking clock on Kosovo's status - The Boston Globe

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Wednesday, August 08, 2007

VOA News - Kosovo Status Poses Stability Risks?

This whole article takes a diametrically opposite view on the impact that an unstable Kosovo could have on the US and Europe. A much different perspective from the former US Ambassador to Belgrade viewpoint cited previously here. 

Stephen Szabo of The German Marshall Fund in the United States says Belgrade will have to face a new reality. "The problem with Serbia, right now, is that they've lost a good part of their territory and they will have to learn to live with this. They will have to realize that this has been lost through a reckless, genocidal type of policy and that they will have to come to terms with that. But, I think, the U.S. does see the Serbs eventually having to come along, because Serbia has no future outside of the E.U. and NATO," says Szabo.

Source: VOA News - Kosovo Status Poses Stability Risks?

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Kosovo: Final Status 'Should Be Decided By December' - RADIO FREE EUROPE / RADIO LIBERTY


RFE/RL: The UN secretary-general made clear that he expects a report from Contact Group before December 10. Does it mean that Kosovo's status issue will go back to Security Council after that date?

Wisner: We are not yet at December 10 so you’re kind of asking me a very hypothetical question. As far as the United States is concerned this is the final round of negotiations, which ought to bring the matter to the conclusion. We should be able at the end of 120 days to reach a decision on final status.

RFE/RL: Keeping in mind the current positions of the two sides, it is unlikely that an agreement will be reached at the end of the 120 days. Have you thought what next, how you would proceed in such a case?

Wisner: I try to answer that from the point of view of the United States of America. This is the forum for the final review of the Kosovo matter, and then a decision on the final status should be made.

RFE/RL: So after 120 days would you be ready to recognize Kosovo’s independence, a solution that is supported by U.S. President George W. Bush, despite Russia’s opposition?

Wisner: I think, at this stage, let’s get through these 120 days. The position of the United States is clear. President Bush announced it in Tirana, as you noted. That position is not going to change, we stand firmly beside it. But the task immediately ahead is to get the two parties to lay out their final ideas, proposals, and suggestions, and bring this matter to a conclusion before December 10.

Source: Kosovo: Final Status 'Should Be Decided By December' - RADIO FREE EUROPE / RADIO LIBERTY

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Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Ten inconvenient truths about Kosovo


9. The best way to give all the Serbs now living in Kosovo the best possible chance (with no absolute guarantee of success) to have decent lives and maintain their cultural, religious, and ethnic heritage was to fully embrace the Ahtisaari Plan. That opportunity has been lost.  The reality is that the future of most Kosovo Serbs is not bright. This is certainly true for those not in northern Kosovo.

Source: B92 - Insight - Viewpoint - Ten inconvenient truths about Kosovo

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