Serbia & Kosovo

Kosovo-Serbia talks off after renewed clashes
(BBC) EU-mediated talks between Serbia and Kosovo have been called off amid heightened tension in northern Kosovo.
The Serbian delegation was “not ready to proceed” with talks in Brussels, EU diplomat Robert Cooper said.
Talks had been postponed from Tuesday after 16 ethnic Serbs and four Nato peacekeepers were hurt in clashes in an ongoing dispute over border crossings.
12 August
Young Kosovars Lose Patience with Foreign Helpers
(Spiegel) Plagued by manipulated elections, mismanagement and corruption, the new Balkan republic of Kosovo has seen little progress since it declared independence in 2008. Frustrated young people accuse the many UN and EU officials in the country of stifling development, and consider their prime minister to be a puppet of the Americans.
Since the war ended in 1999, the international community has spent about €4 billion on this small country. Kosovo has virtually no industry — even onions and garlic have to be imported from China. Most people survive on remittances sent home from Kosovars living abroad. And the mismanagement continues, even within the UN administration. In one example, the government is now building a highway to the Albanian capital Tirana, a major project for which the contract was awarded to the US consortium Bechtel-Enka. Under the current arrangement, Kosovo is expected to pay twice the market price for concrete, sand and gravel.
Kosovo’s misery is considerable, and there is massive frustration among its population. It is a young country — half of its population is under 30 years of age.
30 May
Ratko Mladic: The Making of a Monster
(The Daily Beast) When his beloved daughter shot herself with his favorite gun, Serbian General Ratko Mladic lost his mind, drenching the Balkans in blood. His capture last week may finally bring justice for his victims.
27 May
Mladic to be extradited to UN war crimes tribunal
The attorney for war crimes suspect Ratko Mladic said his client does not recognize the authority of the UN tribunal charged with prosecuting the crimes the former Bosnian Serb general allegedly committed during the 1992 to 1995 conflict in Bosnia and Herzegovina. A Serbian court today found Mladic, 69, fit to stand trial after 16 years on the lam. The Washington Post/The Associated Press (5/26), The Guardian (London) (5/27)
(The Guardian) … The Mladic arrest is seen as a coup for Serbia’s President Boris Tadic, who pressed the European Union to reward him by naming a date for starting talks on Serbia’s membership. But in what is seen as a missed opportunity, Tadic is boycotting a summit of east European leaders with Barack Obama because the president of Kosovo, which Belgrade refuses to recognise as independent, will be there. Read more
26 May
War crimes fugitive Ratko Mladic arrested
(CBC) Mladic is wanted for genocide and has been on the run since 1995, when he was indicted by the UN war crimes tribunal in The Hague, Netherlands. … The arrest of Mladic may kick start Bosnia’s efforts to join the European Union. The country has faced intense international pressure to catch Europe’s most wanted war crimes suspect and the EU insisted on his arrest as a condition for its membership bid. (Stratfor) Mladic’s Arrest and Serbia’s EU Accession Plans
The arrest of a fugitive Bosnian Serb general accused of committing war crimes will not be enough to put the European Union at ease about Serbia’s membership bid in the bloc
Kosovo readies bid for UN membership
Kosovo’s foreign minister, Skender Hyseni, will meet with United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and address the Security Council next week as part of Kosovo’s bid to obtain UN membership. Hyseni predicts a wave of official recognitions of statehood from other countries, following an International Court of Justice decision that Kosovo’s independence declaration from Serbia was not outside international norms. (7/29)
23 July
Morning Brief: International court validates Kosovo declaration of independence
Kosovo just made it through its first year as a self-declared independent country. People there may be celebrating, but Kosovo’s continued poverty shows that independence is no quick fix. (Foreign Policy)
August 2008
(Strategic Forecasting Inc.) Kosovo, Russia and the West
2007 saw the resurgence of a long-dormant issue: independence for Serbia’s breakaway province of Kosovo. The tiny region is a key pressure point on the fault line between Russia and the West.
The subject of independence for Kosovo is re-emerging as a serious issue. The West seems intent on letting the Serbian province break away and sees the issue as being of no great importance. The Russians see the situation very differently, however. And therein lies a potential crisis. on Serbia & Kosovo
WN’s special connection to Serbia, Misha Crnobrnja

International court validates Kosovo declaration of independence
(Foreign Policy Morning Brief) The International Court of Justice ruled yesterday that Kosovo’s unilateral declaration of independence in February 2008 did not violate international law. The ruling, which will likely pave the way for other countries to recognize Kosovo’s statehood, was hailed as a victory by the country’s ethnic Albanian majority. Kosovar Foreign Minister Skender Hyseni said the decision marked a “great day for Kosovo,” and called on the government of Serbia, which Kosovo had split away from, to open diplomatic relations with his government.
The court’s decision, however, was written in the most cautious way possible, in an attempt to avoid encouraging other separatist movements from seeking statehood. The court refrained from concluding that that the state of Kosovo was legal under international law. That determination, its ruling implied, would only be determined by the recognition of other countries throughout the world. 69 countries, including the United States and a majority of European Union nations, currently recognize Kosovo.
Countries that face the threat of secessionist movements had been particularly vocal in their opposition to Kosovar independence. Russia, China, and Spain all presented arguments at the Hague last December opposing Kosovo’s case before the court. China, which faces separatist movements in Tibet and among the Uighur population in its province of Xinjiang, felt so strongly about the case that it made its first oral pleading to the court since the 1960s.

1 August 2008
Day of reckoning for Karadzic
(The Independent) Radovan Karadzic appeared [before the UN War Crimes Tribunal yesterday], accused of masterminding and marshalling a campaign of genocide against the Bosnian Muslims.
… Then came the resurrected revelations. The US had made a deal with him to go underground at the end of the Bosnian war, he insisted, and was trying to silence him even now. He said Richard Holbrooke, the senior US diplomat who crafted the Dayton peace accord that ultimately ended the war, had cut the deal.
July 21
Hunt for Karadzic ends as fugitive is found
After a 13-year hunt Radovan Karadzic, the man accused of masterminding the Srebrenica massacre, has finally been arrested in Serbia.
June 29
Hatred is never far below the surface
Serbia remains a captive of its history, and it seems violence could erupt again at any time
You’d like to think Serbia is over the hump. Certainly, there are things to be positive about. Most notably, just last week, the Democratic Party and the Socialist Party finally agreed to form a coalition government that will bring some stability to this over-stressed nation.
The agreement drips with irony. The Socialists are the party of the ruthless Slobodan Milosevic, the man who brought so much misery to the former Yugoslavia that he was tried as a war criminal in The Hague, dying there in 2006 before his trial had ended. The Democrats, led by Serbian President Boris Tadic, were instrumental in toppling the tyrant in 2000, after a 78-day air war by NATO that turned Belgrade into a bleak wartime target.
UN Kosovo czar plans diplomacy campaign
Lamberto Zannier, head of the UN mission in Kosovo, aims to launch “shuttle diplomacy” between Serbia and Kosovo. Belgrade, where a new and more Western-friendly government is expected to be installed within days, has joined a Serbian minority in Kosovo in resisting the state’s secession. Reuters (6/25)
Kosovo signs charter after nine years of UN oversight
Kosovo’s government assumed sole decision-making authority of the newly independent country Sunday as it signed into law a new constitution after nine years of being under United Nations administration. Still, some uncertainty lingers internationally as to the status of Kosovo, as Russia has blocked the UN from officially handing over oversight to the ethnic Albanian government. BBC (6/15) , Seattle Post-Intelligencer/Associated Press (6/15)
Kosovo’s new constitution kicks in against Serbian wishes
Kosovo’s constitution went into force on Sunday, handing power to the newly independent nation’s ethnic Albanian government after nine years of UN administration.
The charter — a milestone that comes four months after leaders declared independence from Serbia — gives the government in Pristina sole decision-making authority.
But it threatens to worsen ethnic tensions between Kosovo’s Albanians and Serbs.
May 17
Serbia socialists throw down EU Kosovo gauntlet
(Emerging Markets) The Socialist Party of Serbia (SPS) is using the position of kingmaker that it gained in last week’s elections to demand assurances from the European Union on Kosovo.
Forces ranged behind Serbian president Boris Tadic would need SPS deputies’ support to form a pro-European government. In exchange the SPS – once led by Slobodan Milosevic, but now taking a more pragmatic approach to the western European powers – wants Brussels to promise not to sanction Kosovan nationhood.
The SPS urged Brussels to clarify its stance in the wake of the Serbia-EU Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA), signed in Brussels on April 29 by deputy prime minister Bozidar Djelic. Parliament has to ratify the deal, a key step towards EU accession.
May 12
A surprise in Serbia, as voters back the pro-European party of President Boris Tadic
(The Economist) EXPECT the unexpected. That has long been a useful guide to the Balkans, as the election in Serbia on Sunday May 11th proved. Preliminary results show a big swing in favour of parties campaigning to continue on the path of European integration. This was totally unforeseen. Analysts relying on usually accurate polling data had predicted that Serbs would vote for a government which would halt or even reverse Serbia’s efforts to join the European Union (EU). That has not happened, but a strong and stable Serbian government is still far from assured. More
May 11
Pro-West bloc claims Serbia win
(Al Jazeera) Serbia’s pro-European forces are leading the vote count, according to unofficial preliminary estimates.
In Serbian Elections, Voters Face a Choice Between East and West
April 30
LABOUR-SERBIA: Now May Day Means Mobbing
By Vesna Peric Zimonjic
BELGRADE, Apr 30 (IPS) – From the days of celebrating workers on May Day, the day now brings reminder of a new practice of mobbing among Serbia’s workers.
The transition to the market economy since former president Slobodan Milosevic fell from power in 2000 has introduced the new practice of mobbing — abuse of workers through creation of a hostile environment, humiliating reshuffles, rumours, and negligence. This has caused widespread distress, and driven many to quit their job.
Serbia signs EU deal in bid to defeat nationalists
The European Union and Serbia signed an agreement last night offering the country a first step on the road to full membership of the EU. The deal aims to avert a victory by Serbian ultra-nationalists in elections next month.
Serbia’s deputy premier, Bozidar Djelic, signed the accord in Luxembourg, just days ahead of the 11 May parliamentary polls in which nationalist parties are expected to win.
March 25
Serbia to UN: Divide Kosovo along ethnic lines
Serbia submitted a formal proposal to the United Nations Monday that Kosovo should be partitioned off along ethnic lines, a plan that would give Belgrade control of key functions in the newly independent country. Kosovo’s leaders have said they oppose such a move, and they have the support of European countries and the U.S., which most likely would oppose it at the UN Security Council. The Guardian (London) (3/25)
(Spiegel on line) Fury and Tension Grip Europe’s Newest Country
Kosovo may now be an independent state, but Europe’s youngest country remains a trouble spot. The Serbian minority is arming itself, violence has erupted, and the peacekeeping forces are struggling to contain the situation. Will the unrest last months — or decades?
The political message [of the unrest in Mitrovica] was that Kosovo’s sovereignty did not solve its problems, but instead only intensified the never-ending hatred between ethnic Serbs and ethnic Albanians. Pacification of the country, which is still under UN protection, is a only reality for the distant future. Meanwhile, Kosovo remains an experiment for an uncertain period of time and with an uncertain outcome.
March 18
Canada recognizes Kosovo, Serbia pulls ambassador
“We know that a significant number of countries including our G7 partners and many of Canada’s close allies have already recognized Kosovo. So what we did today, we joined the international community and recognized Kosovo as a new state,” Foreign Affairs Minister Maxime Bernier told CBC News.
March 14
(The Economist) Fresh elections in Serbia could favour the nationalists
Serbia’s governing parties, split on the question of how to deal with the EU in the wake of Western recognition of Kosovo’s independence, have agreed to hold a pre-term election in May. This appears to spell the end of the anti-Milosevic coalition, which opposed radical nationalists. The fault-line now is between parties putting Kosovo first and those putting the EU first. Although the latter won the presidential contest, they are unlikely to win a majority in the parliamentary poll. The hardline Serbian Radical Party looks closer than ever to gaining power. Read article
March 8
Serbia ruling coalition collapses
Serbia’s Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica has said his coalition has collapsed and is calling for elections.
The move follows his failure to get his cabinet to reject closer ties with the European Union in the wake of Kosovo’s declaration of independence.
Mr Kostunica, a nationalist, has described the decision by EU states to recognise Kosovo as illegal. Serbian President Boris Tadic says Belgrade will only be able to defend its right to Kosovo if it joins the EU.
February 26
Today, the Stratfor Geopolitical Diary reports:
The Russians appear to have made their move on the Kosovo issue. They have supported the idea of the mainly Serbian region of northern Kosovo breaking away from Kosovo and rejoining Serbia proper if the region wishes.
February 25
Thanks to Ron Robertson for this scathing account of U.S. foreign policy under Presidents Clinton and Bush The Real Story Behind Kosovo’s Independence by Jeremy Scahill
Following the NATO invasion of Kosovo in June of 1999, the US and its allies stood by as the Albanian mafia and gangs of criminals and paramilitaries spread out across the province and systematically cleansed Kosovo of hundreds of thousands of Serbs, Romas and other ethnic minorities. Meanwhile, the US worked closely with the Kosovo Liberation Army and today, Kosovo has become a hub for human trafficking, organized crime and narcosmuggling. In short, it is a mafia state.
It didn’t take long for the US to begin construction of a massive US military base, Camp Bondsteel, which conveniently is located in an area of tremendous geopolitical interest to Washington.
Herein lies an interesting point. The Serbian government is largely oriented toward Europe, not the US. The country’s prime minister, Vojislav Kostunica, is a conservative isolationist who is not enthusiastic about a US military base on Serbian soil. He charged that, in recognizing Kosovo, Washington was “ready to unscrupulously and violently jeopardize international order for the sake of its own military interests.” To the would-be independent Kosovo government, however, Bondsteel is no problem.
Slovenia’s place in Europe
Paying a price for recognising Kosovo’s independence

(The Economist) The Slovenian EU presidency hit its first major stumbling block on February 17th, when the Serbian province of Kosovo unilaterally declared its independence. A few days later, Slovenia took steps to recognise Kosovo’s independence. Although many Slovenes view the independence of Kosovo as the final act of Yugoslav dissolution, which began in the early 1990s with their own emancipation, the EU’s divided stance on the issue, as well as the increasing commercial interest of Slovenian businesses in Serbia, would have suggested a more cautious approach. Either way, Slovenia has foregone its role as an impartial arbiter between Serbia and Kosovo, and its political and commercial relations with Serbia will suffer. This in turn casts some doubt over the business community’s support for the government.
February 28
(Stratfor) On Wednesday, the Russian Foreign Ministry denied that it had reached a secret deal with Georgia over the breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia; Georgia had earlier said the Russians promised not to recognize the independence of the two regions in return for assurances about Tbilisi stepping back from its attempts to join NATO. The same day, Moscow held emergency meetings with Ukraine over natural gas supplies (and Kiev’s related debt). In our view, both events are linked to Kosovo.
The questions of Georgia and Ukraine are of critical importance after the events in Kosovo. The Russians regard the decision to grant Kosovo independence as a major rebuff by the West, and particularly by the United States. At a time when the Russians are trying to reassert their influence in the former Soviet Union (FSU), the credibility of Russian power is a central issue. Thus, independence for Kosovo requires a Russian response in which Moscow reasserts itself.
Ukraine and Georgia have both, at various times, expressed interest in joining NATO — and if that were to happen, the Russian position would be undermined. Both are of strategic importance and they are the two countries most at risk from the Russian point of view. If these two can be reined in, the rest of the former Soviet states will fall in line — and Eastern Europe will take notice as well.
As we said last week, that’s why the Russians called the Commonwealth of Independent States summit in Moscow. They wanted to create a platform for asserting themselves, and the targets were clear. The lever they had with Tbilisi was Abkhazia, a region that is ethnically distinct from the rest of Georgia and wants to break away. By threatening to support Abkhazian independence, the Russians are sending a message about Kosovo to the West: independence movements can cut both ways. In their statement on Wednesday, the Russians never said they hadn’t taken the Georgians to the mountain and shown them the view. They simply said they hadn’t reached an agreement, which is probably true, but is, in our view, a temporary condition.
Similarly, with Ukraine, the Russians have important levers: energy and debt. An emergency meeting between Moscow and Kiev over the flow of natural gas was followed by the transfer of more than $1 billion from Ukraine’s Naftogaz Ukrainy to the nation’s import monopoly UkrGazEnergo, and then on to its partner, RosUkrEnergo — of which Russia’s natural gas giant Gazprom controls 50 percent — marking an important step in resolving the long-standing natural gas dispute (and Kiev’s massive debt). The final terms were undoubtedly generous on Moscow’s side. Such generosity carries a price, and a pledge from Kiev to steer clear of any serious talks about NATO made that deal possible.
In drawing attention to Georgia and Ukraine, the Russians are walking a fine line. They want everyone to understand they are flexing their muscles without being overtly bullying. They don’t want to provoke an overly negative reaction, but they do want to assert themselves visibly — both to instruct the rest of the FSU and to make Europe and the United States take note of the consequences of disregarding the Russian point of view on subjects such as Kosovo. Georgia in particular is close to Washington, and the West has tried hard to move Ukraine away from Russia. Squeezing both of them puts Washington in the embarrassing position of not being able to help its friends. That will also be noted in the region.
As such, the floor may have just fallen out beneath Tbilisi, and Moscow may have succeeded in sternly reminding the rambunctious capital in the southern Caucasus of its geopolitical place.
Ultimately, despite having quite a bit on the line in Serbia, Moscow is still scrambling to secure the immediate periphery — and strategic buffer — that it lost with the collapse of the Soviet Union. The significance to the Russians of Belgrade and the situation in Pristina is primarily symbolic (very great though it may be). Ukraine and Georgia represent two actual buffer states of fundamental importance to Moscow’s security, and even the thought of their accession to NATO is utterly disconcerting to the Kremlin.
So long as the Russians act, they do not have to act precipitously to compensate for Kosovo. They do not want any public capitulations. It is sufficient that Ukraine and Georgia stop discussing NATO. Not that they were going to be able to join anyway, but Moscow wants them to begin to accept the fact that they are in the Russian sphere of influence and their room to maneuver is limited. And it wants the West to know that the price for ignoring Russia’s wishes in the Balkans will be exacted elsewhere. The West might have gained an independent Kosovo, but that will cost Georgia and Ukraine — both far more important than Kosovo — a great deal. The Russians are showing that there ain’t such a thing as a free lunch.
February 22, 2008
(Stratfor) There is a political rift in Serbia. The rift isn’t over Kosovo; there is a strong consensus that Kosovar independence should be opposed. It is between those who want to oppose Kosovo’s independence without opening a massive breach with the European Union in particular and those who see the organization — and the United States — as a fundamental threat to Serbian sovereignty. Serbia is polarized, with the greatest passion — if not the greatest number — on the side of the nationalists.
… By attacking the U.S. Embassy, the perpetrators have put the Serbian government in a difficult position. Belgrade does not want to show any more weakness in the face of the Americans. The United States is going to have to condemn the government for failing to protect the embassy. If Belgrade apologizes to Washington, it will be portrayed as toadying to the enemy. If it doesn’t, Serbia will experience even greater ostracism and pressure than before.
By itself, this action does not change the dynamics of Serbia. But if this is a concerted campaign against a Western presence in Serbia, it could very well lead to a political crisis inside the country and a deeper confrontation with the West. And that, in turn, could change Belgrade’s behavior toward Kosovo. So far, the government has condemned independence but has not taken any action. A destabilized, isolated or new government might move ahead with blockades and even support Serbian paramilitaries in Kosovo.
This now frames the Feb. 22 Moscow summit. The apparent resignation in Belgrade has been broken, the United States will be demanding better security from the Serbian government and the Serbs will be able to provide that security only by confronting the crowds in the street — potentially opening the door for the use of force. If another demonstration breaks out in the next couple of days, Belgrade will be under pressure to contain it and keep it away from Western facilities, and that means clashes. The Serbs will need help. The question is: Who will offer it, and what it will consist of?
February 21
Serbs Continue to Push for Control of Northern Kosovo
Serbs who live in northern Kosovo have gathered by the hundreds this week to vent frustration at Kosovo’s declaration of independence from Serbia Sunday, and possibly to try to take control of the northern region. Some think the violence, which includes the burning Tuesday of border posts, may be a prelude to a forceful effort by Serbs to partition off northern Kosovo.
The West’s Balkan mistake
Support for Kosovan secession wrongs Serbia
The Albanian majority in Kosovo would never have struck out on its own had not Washington and such Western European powers as Britain, France and Germany assured it of immediate recognition as a state.
Despite almost a decade of United Nations administration, Kosovo remains a cauldron of corruption. The landlocked mountainous region in the Balkans might have descended into total chaos without continued Western support. Yet the public justification for recognition offered by the Western powers — Canada, so far, is not among them — focuses on Serbia’s brutal rule under Milosevic.
(BBC) US embassy in Belgrade attacked
Several hundred protesters have attacked and broken into the US embassy in the Serbian capital Belgrade, setting fire to part of it.
The embassy was closed and unprotected at the time. Reports say the Croatian and UK embassies were also attacked. The attacks overshadowed the earlier peaceful demonstration by at least 150,000 people, when Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica addressed protesters in the main square, saying Kosovo would always be Serbian.
February 19
UN Security Council debates Kosovo
The United Nations Security Council Monday continued debating the future of Kosovo. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said the UN will continue to run Kosovo until a transition can be reached.

Asia cool on Kosovo independence recognition
Asian countries reacted coolly to Kosovo’s declaration of independence Sunday over fears that it could encourage succession movements in their region. The U.S., Australia and some other countries immediately came out in support of Kosovo’s independence, and several others said they are considering the issue.
(Canwest News Service) After Kosovo, who’s next?
Nations split. Canada delays recognition of independence
Canada stayed on the fence yesterday as the United States led Western recognition of Kosovo’s unilateral declaration of independence from Serbia, and Russia opposed it.Apart from sensitivity over the historical standoff with Quebec separatists, there was rising concern in Ottawa that the declaration has provoked the beginnings of a major East-West split.
(The Ottawa Citizen) Canada and Kosovo
James Bissett, former Canadian ambassador to Yugoslavia
Kosovo’s unilateral declaration of independence should not be recognized by Canada. It has not been authorized by the United Nations and is therefore in violation of international law, the United Nations Charter and the Helsinki Final Accords. In addition, UN resolution 1244, which ended the bombing of Serbia, reaffirms Serbia’s sovereignty over Kosovo. More
February 18
(NYT) Kosovo Is Recognized by U.S., France and Britain
… [U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Mr. Bush had agreed to Kosovo’s request to establish diplomatic relations, and she tried to reassure Serbia about the welfare of Kosovo’s Serbian minority. Ms. Rice spoke with Serbian President Boris Tadic by phone on Sunday.
“The United States takes this opportunity to reaffirm our friendship with Serbia, an ally during two world wars,” Ms. Rice said in the statement.
European foreign ministers meeting in Brussels appeared to reach a minimum common position acknowledging that Kosovo had declared independence, and allowing those nations that wanted formally to recognize it to do so. But some, with their own separatist movements, remain loath to validate Kosovo’s unilateral move.
Meanwhile, the BBC reports that Boris Tadic will ask the Security Council to annul the independence declaration and Belgrade is counting on Russia to veto Kosovo joining the UN as a new nation.
February 17
(Al Jazeera) UN deadlock
Russia, a key ally of Serbia, denounced Sunday’s declaration and called a closed-door emergency session of the UN Security Council, saying it was deeply concerned about the safety of Serbs living in the territory. … Kosovo hopes for international recognition that could come on Monday when European Union ministers meet in Brussels, Belgium.
(IHT) UN Security Council meets on Kosovo after calls for emergency session
The Associated Press UNITED NATIONS: Russia tried to block Kosovo’s independence during a closed-door emergency session of the U.N. Security Council on Sunday, saying it is deeply concerned about the safety of Serbs living in the territory.
The discussion among members of the 15-nation council continued to expose deep divisions among them on the future of Kosovo, home to some of the most important shrines of the Serbian Orthodox faith. Russia backs its close ally Serbia, while the United States, Britain, France and other European Union members are supporting the majority Kosovo Albanians.
The council met at the request of Serbia and Russia, which argues that Kosovo’s declaration of independence from Serbia made earlier Sunday violates a 1999 council resolution. At issue before the Security Council is the contention by Serbia and Russia that a unilateral declaration of independence by Kosovo’s ethnic Albanian leaders constitutes a violation of a 1999 U.N. resolution providing for Kosovo to be administered by the U.N. and NATO troops and that Serbia’s territorial integrity be maintained.That resolution, authorizing U.N. to administer Kosovo, remains in force and the U.N. “will continue to implement its mandate in the light of the evolving circumstances,” Ban said.
Breakaway regions look to Kosovo precedent
The West supports independence for the Albanian-majority territory, but insists it would not set a precedent. Other breakaway regions around the world disagree.
(RCI) Canadian supporters of Kosovo’s independence press the Canadian government to recognize the new state. Canada’s government is considering its position and by late Sunday had yet to make a statement. Canada accepted several thousand refugees from Kosovo in the 1990’s after the United Nations assumed Kosovo’s adminstration from Serbia. In Europe, expatriate ethnic Albanians from Kosovo celebrated in cities in Belgium, France and in Switzerland, where Thousands demonstrated in Geneva and in Lausanne. The United States says that it has taken note of Kosovo’s declaration and is calling on those in the region to exercise restraint. Britain views Kosovo’s declaration of independence as an important development, but will make a full statement after a meeting in Brussels on Monday. Germany called on all parties to exercise moderation following the declaration. Slovakia will not recognize Kosovo for the time being.
(NYT) Kosovo Declares Its Independence From Serbia
PRISTINA, Kosovo — The former Serbian province of Kosovo declared independence on Sunday, sending tens of thousands of euphoric ethnic Albanians into the streets of this war-torn capital to celebrate the end of a long and bloody struggle for national self-determination.
The declaration marks the final dismemberment in the 17-year dissolution of the former Yugoslavia. It also brings to a dramatic climax a showdown between the West — which argues that the former Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic’s brutal subjugation of Kosovo’s majority ethnic Albanians cost Serbia its authority to rule the territory — and Belgrade and its ally Moscow, which counter that Kosovo’s independence declaration is a reckless breach of international law that will spur other secessionist movements across the world.
Ethnic Albanians from across the world streamed into Pristina, braving freezing temperatures and heavy snow, to dance in frenzied jubilation. Beating drums and waiving Albanian flags, they chanted “Independence! Independence! We are free at last!” while an enormous birthday cake was installed on Pristina’s main boulevard.
An outpouring of adulation for the United States — Kosovo’s staunchest ally in its quest for independence and the architect of NATO’s 1999 bombing campaign against Mr. Milosevic — was evident everywhere. Thousands of revelers unfurled giant American flags, carried posters of former President Bill Clinton, and chanted “Thank You U.S.A.!” and “God Bless America.”

February 16
(Irish Times) Serbia’s president prepares for loss of Kosovo
The pro-western Boris Tadic was sworn in for a second term as Serbia’s president yesterday, and immediately began preparing his people for the impact of Kosovo’s likely declaration of independence tomorrow. Daniel McLaughlin reports.
In the region’s capital, Pristina, prime minister Hashim Thaci refused to confirm the timing of the proclamation, as European Union diplomats laboured over the details of how to recognise the new state and dispatch a mission to oversee its first years of sovereignty.
February 15
Kosovo’s Prime Minister Hashim Thaci has vowed to protect the rights of all minorities as the province prepares to declare independence from Serbia.
The declaration is widely expected on Sunday, but Mr Thaci refused to set a date at a news conference in Pristina.
The US and most EU states are preparing to recognise Kosovo quickly, but Serbia and Russia strongly oppose the move.
Serbia has threatened to use diplomatic and economic measures against Kosovo, though it has ruled out using force. “I will never give up fighting for our Kosovo,” Serbian President Boris Tadic said as he took the oath of office on Friday, 10 days after being re-elected for a second term.
February 10
Serbia in crisis
PRISTINA/BELGRADE (Reuters) – Kosovo is expected to declare its independence from Serbia by next Sunday, inviting the European Union to send in a planned supervisory mission and NATO to stay on at the head of a peacekeeping force.
February 9
(WSJ) Let’s Avoid Another Kosovo Crisis
By [Professor of international law and diplomacy at Johns Hopkins University] RUTH WEDGWOOD
… now it is the turn of the West to act with prudence and responsibility — in particular on the incendiary issue of Kosovo, the southern province of Serbia that is home to Serb Orthodox Christians and ethnic Albanian Muslims. … Kosovo has been part of the territory of Serbia since before the First World War, and its ancient monasteries are iconic to the Serbs. Belgrade’s government coalition is already in crisis on the issue.
It is a dangerous precedent to tear apart the territory of a member state of the United Nations. And the timing could not be worse. No one needs a Kosovo crisis, while NATO remains short of troops in Afghanistan and maintains 16,000 troops in this autonomous province of Serbia. A Kosovo blowup would provide an easy excuse for gun-shy European allies to reduce their Afghanistan contingents.
Kosovo secessionists ignore economic realities. Kosovo has coal, lead and people, but it is stuck in a corner of Europe few tourists wander through. Some might visit its surviving Serbian Orthodox monasteries, but not while the place is in turmoil. Since Europe has proclaimed without grace that the European economic union is limited to Christian countries, Kosovo’s best (and perhaps only) chance to join Europe’s economy is to ride in as a part of Serbia.
Instead, Kosovo’s secessionist leadership may well join the 57-member Organization of the Islamic Conference, as Albania already has done. This may bring financial assistance from the OIC, but the West should worry — with aid comes political influence.
Kosovo’s proclamation of independence would destabilize America’s other friends in the Balkans. Bosnia will face a new attempt by the self-styled “Serbian republic” to leave the Dayton structure. Macedonia’s restive ethnic Albanian minority may again ask why it is stuck in a state with Orthodox Slavs.
The effect in Central Europe would also not be benign. Hungary, Romania, Ukraine and Greece are home to irredentist minorities whose radical elements dream of redrawing maps. Nicosia faces a self-proclaimed “independent” Turkish republic of northern Cyprus. The Black Sea republic of Georgia, which we seek to bolster against Russian ambition, faces the claims of Abkhazia, a breakaway Muslim region in the north.
In negotiations on Kosovo’s future, former Finnish president Martti Ahtisaari — a respected international statesman — has proposed an internationally-supervised government for Kosovo that would be akin to the Dayton Framework Agreement for Bosnia.
Even if Kosovo independence is ultimately unavoidable, there is much to be gained in securing the result in a way that Serbia and Russia can live with.
February 8
(Al Jazeera) An explosive device has gone off in a shopping centre in Belgrade and another mall has been evacuated before an expected declaration of independence by the Serb province of Kosovo.
The blast came a day after a right-wing group, chanting names of Bosnian Serb war crimes fugitives, disrupted a show by Kosovo Albanian artists in the city. Nationalists are angry that Kosovo, Serbia’s medieval heartland, is expected to secede within days. Slobodan Samardzic, Serbian minister for Kosovo, said on Friday that the declaration is likely to be made on February 17.
February 4, 2008
(BBC) Green light for EU Kosovo mission
An EU police and justice mission to Kosovo has been agreed by all 27 member states within 24 hours of Serbia’s presidential election coming to an end.
No launch date has yet been given although that is likely to be decided by EU foreign ministers on 18 February.
(Russia Profile Going West) Serbia Elects a Liberal President over a Hard Liner
For Serbians, yesterday’s elections were a choice between East and West, between the past and the future – a choice for isolation or integration. The outcome of the elections indicated that the majority of the voters have chosen closer ties with the EU rather than returning to the nationalism, isolation and war characteristic of the 1990s. According to primary and unofficial results from the state electoral commission and independent vote monitors, pro-Western incumbent Boris Tadic won about 51 percent of the vote while Tomoslav Nikolic, the ultra-nationalist and pro-Russian challenger, received around 47 percent in a closely contested race.
Speaking with the Serbian newspaper Blic just before the election, Deputy Prime Minister Bozidar Djelic said: “on Feb. 3, the people are deciding not only the president of the republic, but also about whether Serbia will move towards the EU or return to the 1990s. I am convinced that they will choose the EU.” Tadic had also repeatedly emphasized that that for the time being, the future of Serbia is linked to the European Union and the North Atlantic alliance. For its part, Brussels supported the liberal stance by indicating that it will sign an interim political agreement with Serbia later this year and discuss a liberation of the visa regime.
(The Economist) Setting a Westward course
(BBC) UN plans tackle Kosovo limbo
Kosovo is one of the last pieces of the European jigsaw yet to be slotted into place as the continent settles down after the end of communism.
It was the cause of war between Nato and Serbia in 1999, as Nato demanded an end to the repression of the ethnic-Albanian Kosovan majority and forced a withdrawal of Serbian troops.
It has been in limbo ever since. It is neither effectively still part of Serbia, as the Serbs want, nor independent, as the Kosovans demand.
(CNN) — Incumbent Boris Tadic narrowly won a second term as Serbia’s president after a runoff Sunday with ultranationalist rival Tomislav Nikolic, according to preliminary figures from election monitors.
Tadic, who supports Serbia’s eventual membership in the European Union, edged out Nikolic by a margin of 50.5 percent to 47.9 percent, according to the Belgrade-based Center for Free Elections and Democracy, or CeSID.
Nikolic was an ally of former Yugoslav strongman Slobodan Milosevic, and he supports closer ties with Russia, Serbia’s historical ally. He forced Tadic into a runoff in the first round of voting January 20, leading a field of nine with about 39 percent of the vote.
At stake Sunday was whether Serbia forged closer ties with Europe or embraced the kind of nationalism that fueled the wars that followed the breakup of the former Yugoslavia in 1991. Looming over the campaign was the drive for independence by the Serbian province of Kosovo, which has been under U.N. administration and policed by NATO peacekeepers since 1999.
Both Tadic and Nikolic opposed independence for the majority-Albanian province, which nationalists consider the cradle of Serb civilization. But Jelena Subotic, an analyst at Georgia State University in Atlanta, said the candidates differed in “how they will deal with the political reality.What this does, actually, is it allows Tadic a little more breathing room domestically to prepare Serbian public opinion for what is pretty obviously an inevitable conclusion,” Subotic told CNN.
A NATO bombing campaign forced a halt to a Serb-led campaign against Kosovo’s ethnic Albanian population in 1999, and about 16,000 allied peacekeepers remain in the territory. Leading European Union members and the United States support the territory’s independence after years of international administration — but Russia has objected vociferously to any unilateral declaration, fearing it would encourage other separatist movements in the region.
In December, the full EU stopped short of endorsing independence, but agreed to send an 1,800-member security force to maintain stability there. And last week, the organization offered Serbia a package of incentives as part of a deal to put it on the path toward membership, including closer political ties, a free trade agreement, visa liberalization, and cooperation in education.
But Portuguese Prime Minister Jose Socrates, whose country currently holds the EU presidency, said in December that any expedited steps toward membership also would depend on Serbia’s cooperation in the arrest of Ratko Mladic, the former Bosnian Serb commander who faces war crimes charges before a U.N. tribunal.
January 31
Former US diplomats warn on Kosovo recognition
Former high-ranking American diplomats are warning the Bush Administration that American recognition of Kosovo’s unilateral independence declaration is against American interests because it “would turn what is now a relatively small problem into a large one.”
Warning light on Kosovo
By John Bolton, Lawrence Eagleburger and Peter Rodman
The Bush administration has indicated its readiness to recognize a unilateral declaration of independence by ethnic Albanians in Kosovo, a province of the Republic of Serbia that since 1999 has been under United Nations administration and NATO military control.
Such a declaration may take place as early as February. American recognition would be over Serbia’s objections, without a negotiated solution between Serbia and Kosovo’s Albanians, and without modification by the United Nations Security Council of Resolution 1244, which reaffirms Serbian sovereignty in Kosovo while providing for the province’s “substantial autonomy.” U.S. recognition may be joined by that of some members of the European Union, which has been under heavy diplomatic pressure from Washington, though several EU states and a number of countries outside Europe have said they would reject such action.
Attempting to impose a settlement on Serbia would be a direct challenge to the Russian Federation, which opposes any Kosovo settlement not accepted by Belgrade.
We believe U.S. policy on Kosovo must be re-examined without delay, and we urge the Bush administration to make it clear that pending the results of such re-examination it would withhold recognition of a Kosovo independence declaration and discourage Kosovo’s Albanians from taking that step.
Current U.S. policy relies on the unconvincing claim that Kosovo is “unique” and would set no precedent for other troublespots. Of course every conflict has unique characteristics. However, ethnic and religious minorities in other countries already are signaling their intention to follow a Kosovo example. This includes sizeable Albanian communities in adjoining areas of southern Serbia, Montenegro, and especially the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, as well as the Serbian portion of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
We believe an imposed settlement of the Kosovo question and seeking to partition Serbia’s sovereign territory without its consent is not in the interest of the United States. The blithe assumption of American policy — that the mere passage of nine years of relative quiet would be enough to lull Serbia and Russia into reversing their positions on a conflict that goes back centuries — has proven to be naive in the extreme.
December 14, 2007
(BBC) EU offers Serbia deal on Kosovo
EU leaders have offered to accelerate Serbia’s membership in the bloc, but only after Belgrade hands over war crime fugitives still at large.
The move is seen as a way of keeping the Balkans stable, with Kosovo set to declare independence from Serbia.

2 Comments on "Serbia & Kosovo"

  1. Kosovo March 9, 2008 at 7:33 am ·

    Kosovo (Albanian: Kosova or Kosovë) is a country in the southeastern Europe, Its Provisional Institutions of Self-Government have recently declared independence from the genocidal Serbia, which contested the act; as the Republic of Kosovo.

  2. bluerose799 March 10, 2008 at 10:35 am ·

    Another and passionate view of history and recent events — we have edited for reasons of space, but have preserved the tenor of the comment.
    More than four IIIyrian Entities compose Albania.
    All of them speaks Illyrian language but with different dialects. Three first has a very distinct Illyrian dialect named GEGE and the rest has another Illyrian dialect named TOSKE.
    On 1912 they united in one single state and agreed to be named Eagle’s Land. SHQIPERIA.
    The foreign “SKOLARS” named Albania based on the name of only one of the Entities.
    This was not only Ignorance but also a big mistake of these “very educated Scholars“.
    The situation then was so critical for SHQIPETARET, so they accepted any injustice and compromise. This was the big price they pay to gain the independence. Of course many other Illyrian entities was ignored. This has been done in purpose to use Illyrian territories as a trade merchandise to please slavics, which in return were used in two wars. The Slavics paid their price. They lost 56 million people 1908 – 1946. Illyrian paid bigger price. They were spread over 5 different states.
    It’s about time to recognize the historical right of Kosova (Dardania) to have its destiny fulfilled-That is full independence. Kosova never was a Serbian province. It was there, since the times of birth of European civilization, a very distinct Dardanian/llyrian identity. Always populated by Dardanias who, although under constant pressure of forcefully migration by Serbian shovinism, Tito’s Yugoslavia & Milloshevic’s Serbia, still make up 92% of the population. They speak ilirian language with the dialect GEGE. Serbs always have been a minority there. We know that Serbs appeared in Balkans (then llyria) only by the 6th Century AD, and they speak a language more similar to Ukrainian then Russian. They have always been a minority and ‘the story’ of Kosova being the Heartland of Serbia is just a pure Serbian nationalist fantasy. Facts Speak Louder Than Words and Serbian’s Lies Will Collapse by Themselves. Serbs always have been considered as oppressors there, not just by Albanian majority, but also by other ethnic groups too. Serbs just occupied Kosova during the rise of the Serbian nationalism early 20th century from Ottomans, who by then were loosing the Balkans after 500 years of occupation. The borders of Kosova are well established and recognized. Now Kosova should be Free!
    To find the answer for the question “do you think Kosovo’s independence will strengthen separatist movements elsewhere”, please see:

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