Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Leaders seek to end Kosovo limbo - BBC

It is not often that you see ordinary Kosovo Serbs and ethnic Albanians in the same street, let alone the same room.

But they were sitting within a metre of one another as members of a studio audience participating in a BBC question and answer session.

A panel included Kosovo's Prime Minister Bajram Kosumi, the head of the UN Mission in Kosovo (Unmik), Soeren Jessen-Petersen, and senior Kosovo Serb politician Oliver Ivanovic.

As senior Norwegian diplomat Kai Eide begins a study for the UN which could at last lead to final status talks on the future of Kosovo, the media spotlight has been on diplomacy, "standards", and debates about the difference between autonomy and independence.
But it was clear from this session in Pristina that the concerns of ordinary Kosovo Albanians and Serbs are grounded in the realities of daily life in the province - security, the threat of violence and unemployment.
One young man from the Serbian enclave of Gracanica asked Mr Kosumi: "When will I finally be able to come to Pristina, walk the streets and speak Serbian - my mother tongue - in safety?"
The reply was: "Come tomorrow and we will drink coffee together. But you in turn have to invite me to Gracanica."
Status 'unresolved'
A Kosovo Albanian student complained about corruption, saying that a place in university was only guaranteed to those who could afford the bribes.
But most of all the questions revolved around fears for the future.
Six years after the war which pitched Nato and ethnic Albanians on one side against Serbs and the Yugoslav military on the other, Kosovo is in limbo.
On paper it is part of Serbia and Montenegro, in reality it is under international administration, and in the aspirations of the vast majority of its people it is headed for independence.
But just now, the unemployment rate is at least 45%, most of the population is under the age of 15, and the province's status is "unresolved."

Mr Jessen-Petersen said: "Kosovo is the only place in Europe with negative economic growth... but Kosovo is also the only place in Europe that doesn't have a clear status... and as long as that issue is not resolved we will not see any clear improvement in the situation".
Religious symbols have been bearing the brunt of ethnic violence

There is a gathering sense of urgency both here and abroad. Kosovo is first meant to fulfil a number of "standards" which Unmik says aim to create "a truly multi-ethnic, stable and democratic Kosovo".

Mr Eide is currently assessing progress on fulfilling the "standards", and whether it is enough to begin serious negotiations on Kosovo's final status.

But some influential countries, notably the US, are keen for talks to begin even if the standards are not fully met.
On a recent visit, US Undersecretary of State Nicholas Burns said "the status quo in Kosovo is unsustainable and the US wants to see sufficient progress this summer which leads to final status talks".

For the young of Kosovo change cannot come soon enough.

As a psychology graduate told the panel of leaders: "Most of my friends have no jobs, and I am the same. What should I do? Where should I go?"


Chris Blaku said...

One young man from the Serbian enclave of Gracanica asked Mr Kosumi: "When will I finally be able to come to Pristina, walk the streets and speak Serbian - my mother tongue - in safety?"

Well if your government didn't F it up, you would have been doing it, don't blame Kosumi.

Anonymous said...

Come on man, Kosumi is still mesmorized as to how the hell he got to where he is today. Don't confuse him more then he's already confused. And to answer the serbs question, when he goes around and apologizes to some of the victims that lost loved ones (not to mention property) during the serb masacre of the Albanian population especially in the last 10 years he can come to Prishitna. Actually just get on TV and do it, we might even put a red carpet for your sorry ass all the way to downtown Prishtina. Just in case though learn Albanian (as we learned Serbian) because cuz these kids now days just don't speak serbian any more. And whatever you do, do not raise three fingers in the air like you use to, bitch.

Anonymous said...

Three fingers = Nazi salute...

The new generation doesn't speak Serbian. Another reason for independence, we have absolutely no organic connection with that country.

I learned it, I had to, and I don't regret it, but if my kids learn Serbian, they ought to learn Greek, Italian, and Bulgarian too.

Anonymous said...

Last time I checked, you are able to speak Serbian in Prishtina, in fact, since I live outside of Kosova I was quite surprised to hear Serbian being spoken (two years ago!), while everyone around was totaly immune to it.

You _can_ and are _allowed_ to speak it, of course, we're not animals..

Anonymous said...

"When will I finally be able to come to Prishtina, walk the streets and speak Serbian - my mother tongue - in safety?"

Well, you just did. You are in Grand Hotel, the very centre of Prishtina, speaking your language and what's even more talking to the Prime Minister.

These people are so brainwashed by Belgrade that they don't even know what they are saying. The only help you can give to such people is a group of highly qualified psychiatrists.

Chris Blaku said...

Hahahahahaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa Good point!