Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Kosovo imperative shifts West's Balkan priorities

BELGRADE, Sept 28 (Reuters) - Serbia got a green light from the European Union on Wednesday amid signs a solution for Kosovo is taking precedence in Western diplomacy for now over the immediate handover of war crimes fugitives to The Hague.

The EU said on Wednesday it expected Serbia-Montenegro will be set on the first rung of the ladder to membership of the bloc next week, breaking with its habit of awaiting a progress report from U.N. war crimes chief prosecutor Carla del Ponte before taking such a step.

Del Ponte is due in Belgrade on Thursday. Her assessment earlier this month of Serb efforts to cooperate with the tribunal in The Hague was still "not enough" -- a judgment that had blocked neighbouring Croatia's EU bid in the past.

Hague sources say she fears the chances of netting top Bosnian Serb war crimes fugitives Ratko Mladic and Radovan Karadzic would fade if the West eased up on Serbia, whether to advance higher strategic aims in Kosovo or for other reasons.

But major powers say Kosovo is "unsustainable" as it is and are planning to announce the launch of talks on the "final status" of the Serbian province in two weeks, with the prospect of a future EU place for Serbia a key part of their leverage.

Serbia's infant EU membership bid received a boost from Brussels with the EU prediction that talks on a Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA) would be launched next month.

"We'll be saying that internally, all the work is done. We are very confident," said Cristina Gallach, spokeswoman for EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana.

Serbian ministers also sounded confident, despite the fact Mladic, del Ponte's prime target, is still at large and could provoke another "failure to cooperate" report by the prosecutor.

The head of Serbia's Office for European Accession, Tanja Miscevic, said Mladic would not "at this moment" delay the talks. She said EU Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn would be in Belgrade on Oct. 10 to start work on the SAA.

In the Hague, however, there was no cheering.

"We are disappointed because Mladic was not delivered as expected but I'm confident that we can further rely on EU support for the Serbs to intensify their search for Mladic," del Ponte's political adviser, Jean Daniel Ruch, told Reuters.


In a speech on Monday that did not mention war crimes fugitives, Solana made clear that solving Kosovo was the EU's top priority in the Balkans and that the prospect of EU membership for Serbia was a vital part of the leverage needed.

Kosovo would put the Balkans "at the centre of our strategic agenda" in 2006, Solana said. "We cannot afford to fail."

Serbia has held title to Kosovo, its Orthodox heartland, for over 1,000 years. But its treatment of the Albanian majority in 1998-99 provoked NATO into a war that drove Serb forces out.

Now Kosovo has its own interim government, police, courts and currency. Only its minority Serbs look to Belgrade.

When mobs of Kosovo Albanians attacked Serb enclaves in March 2004, the United Nations realised Kosovo was still a powder-keg, with the potential to ignite new conflicts in the restive ethnic Albanian lands of southern Serbia and western Macedonia, on Kosovo's borders.

This is the risk that has injected new urgency.

Kosovo's 2 million Albanians demand independence and are 90 percent of the population, a factor analysts say could mean "people's sovereignty" will trump Serbia's legal claim.

The EU hopes the promise of membership for Serbia could mitigate what may be a painful outcome for Belgrade.

Diplomatic sources say the United Nations is expected to announce the launch of Kosovo talks possibly on Oct. 10.

Serbia-Montenegro Foreign Minister Vuk Draskovic, who had talks with the Contact Group (the United States, Italy, Germany, France, Britain, Russia) on Kosovo in New York last week, says the negotiations proper will begin in December.

Draskovic said he was also told "20 times" that Mladic had to be in jail by Nov. 20, the 10th anniversary of the Dayton accords to end the 1991-95 Bosnia war in which the Bosnian Serb general is accused of the slaughter of thousands of Muslims.

(Additional reporting by Emma Thomasson)


Anonymous said...

What is he talking about? Where does he find out that Serbia has held Kosovo for 1000 years?!

Serbia has not been an independent state for 1000 years in its history. Not even more then 300 hundred years.

And Kosovo is not the heartland of Serbian Orthodoxy. It is Rascia, and that is not in Kosovo.

Anonymous said...

And the Albanians aren't direct descendence of illyrians

Anonymous said...

"The west shifts balkan priorities"


make the Serbs happy they are who we really want in the EU after all.

Anonymous said...

Yes. I vote for Serbians.

Anonymous said...

Who was talking about Illyrians here? (Obviously, those facts can't be refuted so it is easier to go on the offensive)

And there is no way Serbia will join EU before other western Balkans Countries.

Anonymous said...

To the bright 3:51 PM poster

Do you really want a country with Radical nationalists as a biggest party in their parlament becoming a member of EU?

A country where war criminals roam the streets and get pensions from the army (alternetly get paid in millions by the state to "surrender" to Hague)?

A country where patriarchs bless assasins on primeministers (Djindjic 03)?

A corrupted state, where Millosevics allies manipulate the judicial system to drop charges?

A country with 50 % of its population uneducated?

A country still infested with nationalism and hatred?

I don't know, I thought the EU was the opposite of that. The EU fights everything that serbia represents. So either EU is gonna change its principles or the serbia will have to implement very extensive reforms. I suspect the latter.
And since that is a huge enetrprise (reforming a militant, religious, fascist state takes very long time) serbia will probably become a member by the same time as Turkey. If, and that is a big if, they implement reforms.

So dear serbians, you can look forward to becoming a memeber of EU by the same time as Turkey, about 2018. I suspect the rest of the Balkans will have become members long before that.


Anonymous said...

So, the EU is offering membership to Serbia Montenegro as a carrot to let Kosovo go. Interesting. Kosovo will languish as a backwater of crime and corruption, ruled by a Paddy AShdown-type autocrat for decades. This should be very interesting.

Anonymous said...

Way better than Serb inflicted holocaust.

arianit said...

Title for 1,000 years? These journalists just make me puke. I guess he has in mind Draskovic who some six years ago said that the land title to Kosova is held by Prince Lazar in Heaven. Anbody willing to dispute that? I don't think even the Vatican Library can help you with this.

Serbia was never a state. It was a short-lived empire comprising a lot of the Balkans, and died out immediately after the last Nemanjic was dead.
Serb church seat Kosova during the church'es millennium history was based there for only about 250 years when all is added up. The reast of its life it was based in Rascia. Yes Serbia has some great churches in Kosova (most of the really old ones taken over from Catholics but nonetheless), but their oldest and greatest are in Mount Athos, Greece. I don't see Serbia laying claim to Greece because of that. Or is it just because it can?

Anonymous said...

Despite this guy's misreading of history the point is that Kosova will be independent and the Serbs get a carrot thrown at them for their trouble. Though this American living in Kosova thinks they should be under sanctions until they deliver. Anyway, the Swede is right they won't get in the EU anytime soon at least. The Europeans have even less stomach to have Serbia in the EU than Turkey.

However, my dear Albanians, I love you, I love your culture, you need however to start more economic projects. I think all Albanian diaspora ought to think of ways to really support people here if they can through economic development.

Anonymous said...

Serbia arming the Iraq insurgents

PODGORICA - Montenegro– Hundreds of cases of ammunition and weapons produced by the Serbian Zastava factory in Kragujevac are being flown each week from Podgorica to Iraq and other Middle Eastern countries, Podgorica daily Dan claims.

According to the report the consignments include Kalashnikov assault rifles, hand grenades and ammunition.

All are loaded into Russian Tupolev aircraft at Podgorica’s Golubovci airport after being shipped from the central Serbian state-owned factory to Montenegro in trucks with licence plates from the Serbian city of Cacak.

Montenegrin police secure a hundred-metre perimeter around the aircraft during the loading operations, writes Dan.

The daily quotes unofficial sources as saying that the weapons are delivered to Montenegro from army barracks in Serbia and the entire deal is handled by Montenegro’s Jugoimport Media Mont company, which is the name listed on the customs export declarations.

Sources close to the Defence Ministry say that, after the recent army procurements scandal, the Serbian Finance Ministry has begun checking all weapons deals including this one.

Jugoimport Mont director Zoran Damjanovic confirmed for Dan that the company is involved in arms sales via Podgorica airport and said that he has all the necessary documentation for what he described as a legal deal.

“The goods are being sold by the state and the state is behind the entire deal, so there is no doubt about that. We signed a contract with the Serbia-Montenegro Defence Ministry after we were successful in public bidding. These are business deals between countries. One country is dealing with another and Jugoimport Mont is an intermediary,” Dan quotes Damjanovic as saying.

He added that the state was selling surplus weapons which had been stockpiled in barracks but declined to say where the arms were headed.

Anonymous said...

The albanian diaspora is helping by selling drug and running brothals in the west they supply kosovo albanians with money and arms. What more do they need?

Anonymous said...

The Serbs can only lose the arms market in Iraq to the US. The US supplies arms to many terrorist groups around the world, its called job security. For example KLA.

Wars need to be going on in order for the US to come and save the day and occupy the territory and look like a hero at the same time.

Anonymous said...

“The goal of discussions (for the status of Kosovo) is to reach a compromise, but a compromise means that we are backing down from our demands for freedom and our human sacrifices made for freedom.” said Kurti

More than autonomy, less than independence.

Anonymous said...

It is amazing, when faced with facts that make Serbia a true jihadist, corrupt anti-western country, Serbs say "oh that is nothing, US does it too", or then they think:

Serb1: oh damn, fast copy paste something else

Serb2: would a quote by Albin Kurti work?

Serb3: Yeh anything, then we'll just add something like "More than autonomy, less than independence." or "you people multiply like insects" or "you dirty islamic scum"

Ahhh how country (the Kosovar Republic) deosn't and would never sell weapons to jihadist insurgents who hate everything we stand for. But loookeee here..the "might Christian armies" as a Serb once wrote here, are ready for anything.


Anonymous said...

Albanians can't sell the weapons because they need the KNOWLEDGE to make them first.

and its multiply like animanls not insects. Gee you should learn how to copy and paste, your memory just isn't cutting it.

Anonymous said...

sounds like poster 11:26 is getting alittle nervous. Especially when he read the quote from albin kurti about what compromise means.

Sivela Srbija!!

Anonymous said...

Kosovo doesn't sell weapons to Jihadist they only buy from them.

Anonymous said...

Their parents, Isen and Nexhi Vucaj, were said to be on medication for various illnesses.

The family, who had lived in Glasgow for five years, were taken from their home in Drumchapel on 13 September in a dawn raid carried out by immigration officials.

Eyewitnesses said the children were still in pyjamas with Mr Vucaj and Nimet in handcuffs.

These Brits better be careful the albanian lobby may cry about ethnic cleansing and NATO will bomb them.

Anonymous said...

Maximum compromise for Albanians is:

Backing down from unification with Albania and to an Independent Kosovo.

What other compromise do you want, live in a Serbian concentration camp again? Not in a million years.

Anonymous said...

Hehe, me like this:

Kosovo's 2 million Albanians demand independence and are 90 percent of the population, a factor analysts say could mean "people's sovereignty" will trump Serbia's bullshit legal claim.

How about throwing in there the terror campaign against "their own" citizens in the 90's as well.

Anonymous said...

The Serb $hitheads don't have the face to talk about multiplication. Idiot you have a larger popullation and you achieved that by multyplying like animals. My bad I forgot Serbian women lay 20-35 eggs each year. That explains the Serb $hitheads here.

Anonymous said...

In a world full of attorneys legal claim always trumps peoples will.

You must have never been to the United States.

Anonymous said...

Well people russians kicked out serbs from russia and they end up in Illyrian lands which is modern Albania and Former Yugoslavia and Northern Greece which is Cameria. So serbs came to balkans in the 8-9th century which the Illyrians/Albanians have been there sicne this world was created hahaha deal with this serbs they claim Kosova as their hart land which all of those churches in kosova were build by Albanian catholics and other religions and when serbs came they started to claim them as their own so no more lies its 21 Century guys haahhaha everyone knows the Albanians are Yllirians and in the Balkan before serbs came there were anly two groups of peole which where the Illyrians and Greeks so come on guys hahaha

Anonymous said...

Well first you say that the serbs should look at history, albanians comprise 90% of the population of kosovo and metohija. Than you say kosovo and metohija is albanian because the illyrians were there before the serbs. Make up your minds does history indicate true ownership or do the current residenceindicate residence. Either way Kosovo and Metohija is and always will be legally part of Serbia.

Anonymous said...

The albanians need to show concrete proof, beyond the shadow of a doubt that the illyrians are the same people as albanians. I'm sorry but your words are not enough proof.

Anonymous said...

Fvck you Serb retard. We don't have to prove $hit to you. Open Encarta and Britanica encyclopedia and satisfy yourself as much as you want with the relation between Albanians and Illyrians. Read the writings of Ptoleme ( Greek historian) and satisfy yourself. He even uses the word Albanian in the 2 century to identify the Illyrian tribe of Albanoi.
Read any study about our language and you'll find that its as old as the Greek if not older and directly related to Illyrian.
Stop reading Serb history books and They have a tendency to twist history in their own favor.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like another nervous albanian ahead of broken dreams.

Anonymous said...

I think Kosovo must become an administrative region of Serbia because before it was not a republic. Nikos.

ali_pashai said...

nikos before you speak you have to consider the facts. if you want to be taken seriously you have to give a rational opinion and you should be able to back it up. first of all from 1912 Serbia and Montenegro had no legal rights over Kosova, ex-yugoslavia did. Kosova was considered a province not by chance. Should I remind you that Montenegro has belonged to so many different countries and it wasn't till the end of wwII that serbia got it from austria. the same is for kosova. it is well documented that the super powers fucked things up big time before and after the first and second world war. Now the problem at hand is not history. It is the god given rights of the people that live in that territory. Serbia had its chance and fucked it up big time. Even today that are people, Serbians that are so eager to claim kosova as serb that they forget that it belongs to the people that leave there. Above all, every citizen should be treated the same regardless of religion and origin or believes.
Now give me a good reason why Kosovars, albanians and the serb minority, should not govern them selves? If serbia wanted kosova so bad it would make sure to that the rights of its citizens were not violated in any way.