Negotiations to Begin on Final Status of KosovoNegotiations to Begin on Final Status of Kosovo
Last week the United Nations recommended the start of talks on the final status of Kosovo, which has been in political limbo since 1999, when the Kosovar Albanians returned after a war of ethnic cleansing. At issue is whether Kosovo will remain a province of Serbia or eventually attain independence, as most Kosovar Albanians want. Six years ago, NATO troops led by the United States intervened on behalf of the Kosovar Albanian refugees who had been expelled from the province of Kosovo by Serbian forces during the regime of former Yugoslav president Slobodan Milosevic, who is currently on trial in The Hague.
Kosovo set for 'breakaway' talks
Kosovo President Ibrahim Rugova on Thursday reiterated that the "only platform for the status talks is the independence". The task of mediating is expected to be assigned to the former Finnish President Martti Ahtisaari, who helped broker a ceasefire between Nato and Serbia in 1999. Belgrade has complained that Serbs in Kosovo are denied basic human rights such as safety and freedom of movement. Nato air attacks drove Serb troops out of Kosovo in 1999 in a campaign to stop what the West said was persecution of the majority Albanians, some of whom had taken up arms against the Serb forces. Ethnic Albanians make up 90% of Kosovo's estimated population of two million. Of some 200,000 Serbs left in Kosovo, about half live in enclaves protected by Nato troops.
KOSOVO: U.S. OFFICIAL SAYS STATUS TALKS WILL START IN NOV
The United States under-secretary of state for political affairs, Nicholas Burns, has ended his Balkans tour, announcing that talks on the final status of the southern Serbian province, which has been under United Nations control since 1999, would start in November and warned both sides - ethnic Albanians and Serbs - to refrain from using violence as a means to influence the outcome of the talks. Following meetings in Pristina with ethnic Albanian leaders, who demand independence for Kosovo, Burns on Friday said that that the citizens of Kosovo had the right to decide their future and that Washington will be “very active in these talks”. Referring violence late last year when some ethnic Albanian went on a rampage, in which 19 people were killed and hundreds of Serbian homes and churches burned or destroyed, Burns underlined that there can be no solution if “Kosovo Serbs have no right to live here. Belgrade has repeatedly warned that Kosovo independence would trigger similar demands by ethnic Albanians in Macedonia, northwest Greece and Montenegro, all of which have a a significantly sized ethnic Albanian minority.
Lessons of Kosovo on the high costs of intervention
Kosovo is often held up as a test case for the concept of “humanitarian” intervention. But as Iraq spirals into chaos, diplomats and leaders everywhere are again asking themselves if it is ever appropriate for alliances of nations or the international community as a whole to intervene when a sovereign country appears unable or unwilling to defend its citizens from genocide, war crimes, or ethnic cleansing.
The Myth of Great Albania
To reiterate, it is the belief that people of Albanian extract, wherever they may be, regard their domicile as part of a Great Albania and undertake all efforts necessary to secure such an outcome. Thus, to mention one example, Kosovo should be part of this Great Albania, so the myth goes, because prior to 1912, when the Serbs occupied it, Kosovo has administratively been part of an Ottoman mandated Albania.
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New threats for UN from Albanian rebels
UN officials in Kosovo have received threatening letters from the Albanian National Army which are believed to signal a new campaign against the international administration of Serbia’s southern province. UNMIK staff have been told to report threats to the security service, say Belgrade media. The director of the Forum for Ethnic Relations told media that the lack of cooperation between Kosovo Albanian politicians and UN officials has opened a space for extremist activities. “It’s obvious that the Albanian movement is mixing violence with politics. When the politics isn’t working they resort to violence,” said Dusan Janjic, adding that UNMIK would not cave in to threats.
Turkish and Albanian flags to be hoisted in Macedonia
Macedonia passed a law on Friday allowing ethnic Albanians to display the Albanian national flag in areas where they form the majority. The law allows the Albanian flag to be hoisted on public buildings alongside the Macedonian flag in areas where Albanians make up more than half the population, which applies to 16 of the country's 84 municipalities. The European Union has said full passage of the deal is essential to Macedonia's membership application.
The Last Orthodox Church in Kosovo Might Turn into a Night Club
According to the new public planning the unfinished orthodox church “Christ, The Savior” in Pristina might be turned into a night club, a studio or a museum. Over 150 churches and monasteries have been destroyed or seriously damaged over the last 6 years. After last month's pogrom 35 Orthodox churches were destroyed and in several cases stink of human feces and urine.
FBI: Albanian mobsters 'new Mafia'
Thousands of Albanians and others who fled the Balkans for the United States in recent years have emerged as a serious organized crime problem, threatening to displace La Cosa Nostra (LCN) families as kingpins of U.S. crime, top FBI officials said Wednesday.