Thursday, September 27, 2007

Editorial by Ceku and more

Kosovo is looking forward

By Agim Ceku

Published: September 26, 2007

On Friday, Kosovo and Serbia will hold our first face-to-face talks in six months, this time with mediation from the United States, the European Union and Russia.

We already have a detailed plan of how an independent Kosovo will be governed, following two years of intensive United Nations negotiations on the status of Kosovo led by the former Finnish president, Martti Ahtisaari.


Panel at Yale talks Kosovo independence

Samantha Broussard-Wilson

Contributing Reporter

Charles Francis/Contributing Photographer

Panelists and students mingle after a discussion about Kosovo’s past and future. The event, held at the Law School on Tuesday, focused on the possibility of independence for the region, now a province of Serbia.

Kosovo Demands Independence to Attract Investors

Sept. 26 (Bloomberg) -- Outside Kosovo's capital, Pristina, the province's two biggest power plants sit atop enough soft, brown coal to fuel them for 300 years. Yet blackouts darken the city almost every day.

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Free Kosova

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Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Kosovo Leader Demands Equality in Talks with Serbia

25 09 2007 Pristina _ Talks between Kosovo and Serbia over the territory’s final status will not end in agreement, unless the two parties are seen as equals in the negotiations, Veton Surroi, a member of Kosovo delegation said on Tuesday.

As long as Belgrade keeps on offering us a concept on the basis of which we will be asking for their permission to be allowed to govern ourselves, no agreement is possible”, the Kosovo politician told reporters.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Another proposal

Serbia does it again. We have another proposal, now offering 95% autonomy. Or 5% reduced independence. You can call it whatever you want, because this last proposal is all about compromise.

All this affair has started to smell like the Schools Agreement brokered by Sant'Egidio in 1998 which gave Albanian students school space while the villages were burning and KLA was growing.

A top Serbian official in charge of dealing with Kosovo said Monday that the government in Belgrade was ready to offer its UN-administered territory a level of autonomy that rests on the principle of minimum integration.


”Belgrade is ready to give Pristina full jurisdiction even in the fields of the economy and tax collection”, Samadrzic told reporters.

First of all, I thought Serbia had already offered all of these. How is this new? Is Serbia withdrawing bits of old offers only to offer them again as a new package?

"If they get 95 percent of authority, the question is why they would want to be in Serbia. That's why Kosovo and Metohija would not have the need to integrate within (Serbia), because the (Serbian) parliament would not interfere in the competencies” of the government in Pristina, Samardzic said at a news conference.

Source: BIRN

Second of all, it's the genocide, stupid. And when trying to argue over that, you better come up with something better than circular arguments. It's not about the percentages, but about your recent history of genocidal behavior. See, if Serbia were a person, with its record, two years back it wouldn't even able to get a subprime loan in America, let alone the right to have any say whatsoever in the lives of 2 m. I'm talking of genocide in Bosnia and attempted genocide in Kosovo, of which it has not apologized yet.

So let's ask the question repeated often here, now in Samardzic's words: "If they get 95 percent of authority, the question is why they would want to be in Serbia." I can come up with two answers: Serbia wants the market of 2 m people but not the government obligations that would force her to pay pensions,  teachers teaching irredentist history to "little terrorists," Albanians policemen, Albanian soldiers (you gotta keep the quotas; besides, its 2020 and 50% of your youth is Albanian), Albanian mothers along with the Serb ones for making more than two babies, and finally..."Milivojo from Sumadija, meet your new 360 degree neighbor Hasan. Hasan has just bought all the lands around yours for his six sons." If it comes down to getting less than 100% (the only way to prevent a future genocide), I would be first to say to Serbia, "take back another 45%, we're content with 50% only. 50-50 and we have deal, my frriend.

That first scenario assumes a rational Serbia. The second possibility is that Serbia wants to buy time in wait of more favorable geopolitics when it can implement its final solution for Kosovo, something it was stopped at in 1999.

Especially to my Serb readers: which one is it?

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Kosovo belongs to...

Why all these videos at this time you ask? I had supposedly posted them over from YouTube in the months past (when I was going through a blogger's block) but recently found out that because of a password they never materialized here. Now you got them all in one serving, along with a torrent of fresh commenting and news. Enjoy! 

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Canada's CBC on Kosovo

A CBC journalist goes back to Kosovo to visit a doctor she had met during the war. The story makes for a very good quick background for those uninitiated on the country.   

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Frost Over The World - Vuk 2.0

The very bright and young Serbian foreign minister gets a free ride on Al Jazeera. He withdraws Serbia's threat to Kosovo from a few days before the show and then throws in a doomsday scenario for all the Balkans. Admittedly, he's not sure of its of yet.

Serbia once again worried for the Balkans?! It breaks my heart.

Seriously now. When will we see a Kosovo-Serbia status smackdown on TV? I now it won't happen on RTK or RTS. Al Jazeera perhaps? How about Jeta of BIRN?

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Sarkozy for NY Times

If you’ll allow me to continue with Kosovo, when we’re talking about Kosovo it seems very likely that Russia will stick by its decision to veto any United Nations Security Council resolution. The United States regards this issue as a test of the European Union’s determination with respect to Moscow. Is Europe ready to see Moscow dictate it its foreign policy or is it going to endorse the decision?

First, Kosovo’s independence is inevitable in the long term. Second, that Russia should want to regain its full place seems to me legitimate, and even desirable. Third, France wants excellent relations with Russia, but Russia cannot expect the rights of a big power without taking on the duties. Fourth, on the question of Kosovo, Europe has to remain united. It is all together that we must in the end back independence for Kosovo. And if I’ve said it is not a question of months or weeks, it’s because I wanted to preserve that unity. And Mr. [Vladimir V.] Putin [President of Russia] must understand that no one wants to humiliate him, that everyone understands efforts he is making to restore Russia to its standing, and no one can criticize him for this. But at the same time he must understand that his interlocutors have convictions every bit as much as he does, regarding human rights, respect for minorities, the rule of law, and democracy. It is called a frank dialogue.

Source: Excerpts From Interview With Nicolas Sarkozy - New York Times

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U.S. and EU are ready to recognize Kosovo independence - International Herald Tribune

 "The game plan is set," said a senior European diplomat who requested anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue. "The talks end on Dec. 10. If there is no sense then that Serbia and Kosovo can agree on the province's future, then Kosovo will make a unilateral declaration of independence. The U.S. will recognize that independence, and the Europeans, as far as they can remain united, will follow, too," he said.

Source: U.S. and EU are ready to recognize Kosovo independence - International Herald Tribune

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One year has passed since the arrest of a group of Albanians on made up charges of terrorism by the Montenegrin government. Kola Dedvukaj, 59, is one of those tortured for three days in Montenegrin jails and still being held there. This video is a plea by his family members to free him. Free Malësia covers the fate of Albanians in Montenegro and the fate of those arrested more in depth.


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Sunday, September 23, 2007

Kosovo: Going Round in Circles

Gabriel Partos of BIRN has a roundup of the developments in the last month or so regarding status. Pay attention to the part where he explains the movements done by the two sides towards the still elusive compromise. Yes, compromise (as defined in Belgrade) is impossible, but some movement is possible. And on that, Serbia has given us PR stunts to buy time while Kosovo has come up with some really good proposals. For example, Belgrade will come up with plans which it will disclose only to Russia for about two months and then reveal nothing but disappointment. This is one sure way to extend the conflict forever, as is the goal.

A slap in the face for Kosovo came when at the latest meeting in New York a historic compromise was proposed by our negotiators, which would have established normal relations between two sovereign countries and leave hostilities behind. The assaulter snubbed at the extended hand of the victim. Serbs have surely gotten cocky, and that's the worse damnation you could wish to your enemies. 

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What European leaders don't understand will all the begging for more time to resolve the status is that everything is virtually on hold in Kosovo while this circus is going on. It is the lower strata of society that are having to sacrifice to keep this semblance of peace for the sake of Kosovo's future. Kosovo needs deep political reforms ASAP, but this small, young and vulnerable country can't fight two battles at the same time. As is the case in Kosovo, the price has been paid by the destitute: people like the 2,000 families in the Gjakova region who never had their burnt homes rebuilt but you barely heard of it in the first eight years. See, economy doesn't grow on trees, and it grows even less under circumstances in which Kosovo is now. There is lot of discontent simmering under the surface, waiting to explode once we are relieved of the patriotic cover or before that if the cover stays on for much longer. The longer the status resolution takes, the bigger this after-status explosion will be.

People are full of cynicism, so much so that political discussion is unbearable anymore. It will be interesting to see the level of participation in the forthcoming elections in November and the uphill battle those politicians will be facing with a disillusioned electorate

Whereas the proposed party lists will bring new blood and some genuinely good people to politics, the incoming elected officials will have to prove themselves fast. Reformist Party ORA and even more so PDK have made amazing changes to their ranks. I still have doubts about some of the people representing PDK, but with the open lists Kosovars this time can as well skip the bad apples. New this time is also Behxhet Pacolli, a Swiss-Albanian billionaire whose not-so-impressive-but-likely-to-score party will stand for elections for the first time. LDD of course has split from and weakened LDK, breaking a cesspool into two.

The other issue is the short time allotted to the campaigns to run. So while I am happy of the choices offered, I'm pessimistic that issues will be presented much once again. Luckily, this time status is not one the issues parties can profit on. But then again there is very little time to talk about the myriad of things that plague Kosovo.


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Saturday, September 15, 2007

American Experts: Conclusion

It is preferable for the U.S. and EU to act together to bring stability to Kosovo. But waiting longer for a 27-member EU consensus is not a viable option and threatens to unravel the whole final status process. The decision process foreseen in UN Security Council resolution 1244 has been completed. The outcome is the Ahtisaari plan, which needs to be implemented. Neither the Russian veto nor Belgrade’s insistence on delay should be allowed to obstruct the international community’s decision on Kosovo.

December 10 should be the end of the status process, leading directly to a declaration by the U.S. and principal allies of their willingness to recognize Kosovo’s sovereignty provided it implements essential parts of the Ahtisaari plan. Washington, and as many European capitals as possible, need to find the foresight to begin planning for this scenario at the ministerial and head of state level in early this fall and the courage to act decisively in December. The USG should begin discussing alternative arrangements with its principal allies, in order to prevent prolonging, and likely deterioration, of the present unsatisfactory situation.

Source: Kosovo: Breaking the Deadlock by Daniel Serwer: USIPeace Briefing: U.S. Institute of Peace

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Thursday, September 13, 2007

Spring Break in Bosnia

The Hunting Party (formerly Spring Break in Bosnia) has been released in the States last week. The movie is based on a true story, though from the trailer it looks quite cheesy. Could it be that the reality is cheesy, too? has a rating of 7.8/10 from 157 voters.

If you believe the latest account by this ICTY official you are led to believe that the two dudes on spring break (the much more descriptive title for the movie) got much closer to getting Karadzic than NATO ever did. Russia, in line with its respect for international law and order, threatened if the arrest happened. US didn't want to disturb Russia. With only France left to fight for international justice. No, no, wait, France had to revenge the blood of its numerous peacekeepers killed thoughtlessly by Karadzic's soldiers.

How can they find the world's most wanted war criminal when the C.I.A. can't? [by actually looking]

Sunday, September 09, 2007

BBC NEWS | The Reporters | Mark Mardell

We are at the point where everyone is threatening something: US, Russia, Kosovo, Serbia and even that "fearmongering" EU. Of these, EU is least worrying. 

I'm sure some of the EU members will be  surprised (pleasantly?) they were ignored once again on an important backyard issue.

Not that anyone is Kosovo will cry over it. Cyprus and Romania vetoing the fate of 2 million people? Nigga please!   

Protesting too much on Kosovo

"The more they talk about unity, the more suspicious I am," said a colleague as we left one of the news conferences at the end of this EU foreign ministers' meeting.

Source: BBC NEWS | The Reporters | Mark Mardell

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