Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Solana: Kai Eide to report in New York on 19 September

Koha Ditore reports that EU High Representative Javier Solana and NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer said yesterday in Brussels that a positive report by Ambassador Kai Eide would pave the way to the continuation of the process for resolving Kosovo’s status. Solana is quoted as saying that Eide will report in New York on 19 September. He also said that ‘although it is not known if Ambassador Eide’s final report will be ready by that time, he is expected to brief Contact Group representatives in New York on 19 September.’


Anonymous said...

Please excuse my ignorance. Kosovo has never been a issue for me. I understand our (United States) purpose and role in the region, I feel it was a good decision the we intervened, and I totally support the work that we are currently doing there. I have a few questions that I would like to have answered and hopefully someone could help me to better understand what is really going on..

1. During any period of time have Kosovo Albanians and Kosovo Serbians ever lived together peacefully, if so for how long and what happened to change that relationship?

2. Independence is important for all people of Kosovo. After Kosovo is independence will EU membership be the next step or does Kosovo see itself trying to go it alone? What current European countries are considered to be Kosovo friendly?

3. How much assistance is Kosovo Albanians living in the United States and in other Western countries helping the process of independence. I know in the United States Albanian Americans have a really strong lobby, and some are key business leaders. Are they providing any type of mentorship, to the economic re-birth of Kosovo?

4. What will it take for Kosovo and Serbia to have normal/friendly relationship?

5. How much does religion factor into the current situation between Albanians and Serbians in Kosovo?

Again I am sorry for my ignorance. My two sons will be deploying to Kosovo to serve for one year performing peacekeeping duties with the National Guard. As a single father I do have some concerns about what is going on in that part of the world. One year ago they returned from Iraq unharmed. Now they are deploying again.

Thanks for any insight that any one can provide.

ali_pashai said...

hello and thank you for your interest and please thank your sons too for helping out. I am albanian but i am sure a serb would say the same things. Again thank you.

1. It is hard to say when and for how long albanians and serbs have lived peacefully in kosova. Unlike the United States with a history of little more than 400 years we are dealing with two countries that have lived in the balcan for much more than that. Slavic tribes (serbs included) are believed to have migrated to balcan around 6-th century A.D. while the Albanians are believed to be the direct descendents of Illyrians who
lived in these lands since the begining of time (serbs dispute that of course). However, the problems arise much later on, when balcan was invaded by the turks. They converted a lot of people from orthodoxy to islam (their religion). It was a time where there were no states, no kings, only princes and principalities. At this time here and there we have princes trying to unite the countries. Skederbeg in albania, congratulated by the pope of Rome of that time for fighting the turks and protecting christianity, and (i am sorry to you and the serbs for not remembering its name) some king from serbia who fought a very big battle in "fushe kosove" (field of kosova). Even though he lost, "fushe kosova" meant something special to every serb since then. These were times where cities and even countries were being anexed by different states every time. Especially in balcan. You have to understand that both world wars were started in Balcan, seemingly because of balcan problems. Every side (serbs and albanians) claim ownership to the land and every side is convinced that they are right. It is hard to base a decision in history because every one has their own version of it. The winner writes his conquest's history the way he'll see fit, don't you think so, and this territory was always in war.
To focus on the question at hand, the problems between serbs and albanians began when albanians wanted the right to vote and their vote being counted as that of other citizens of ex-yugoslavia. the right to go to school and study in their own language, the right to be represented in parliament and why not even government, the right to hold high government jobs and so on. Basically similar rights that other citizens, not albanians, were enjoying (We were not dealing with just a minority. Kosova's population is around 2 milion, while Serbias & Montenegrin's together is close to 8 milion) Religion played a major role too. The vast majority of Serbs are christian orthodox, compared to albanians who are mostly muslims. I wish I could tell you when exactly we have been friends and for how long but it seems that history has always been working against us. Keeping us appart and hating each others gut.

2. You are right independence is important for this region since we can't seem to live together in harmony. Not only for Kosova but for Serbia, Albania, Macedonia, Croatia, BiH and so on, acceptance in EU is very important. First and most importantly the living standards would improve significantly and second no other nation will have border tendencies. So yes EU is the next step.
So far Albania has been the only country that has recognized kosova's independence. The only countries against Nato intervention was Russia and Greece playing the not pro not against intervention card.

3. Fortunately Albanians have a huge diaspora. They did help during the war, they are helping now, and they will help when the talks for independce begin and even after that. Unfortunately, Kosova does not have a status yet, so economy is not stable and investors are not eager to invest because of the insecurities. That is one of the reasons why independece talks must start as soon as posible.

4. Time. The wounds from the war are still fresh. For both sides. However, since Nato intervined because minority rights were being abused, i think that will be the main issue. There are ethnic serbs living in north kosova as there are ethnic albanians living in today's south serbia (and you thought that was it). Once everyones rights are granted, respected and protected, with time, these people may forgive each-others mistakes.

5. It is true religion played a factor before and during the war. However, like in almost any other war, it was mostly used as a scapegoat. Albanians put Albania first and than their religion. The majority is muslim but there are orthodoxs (me included), catholics, jews, jehova's witnesses, mormons, budhist and so on. Religion is sacred but does not keep us from loving and respecting one another. The same goes for Serbia too, i hope. I say I hope because it is a country where the majority (95 %) is orthodoxs and orthodoxy is viewed as a factor that kept the country together during the turkish invasion. Also, as any other country almost religion homogenious, whether christian or muslim, the division between church and state is not clear, so, politicians do act on religious reasons.

Like I said before thank you and thank you to your sons too. You have nothing to worry about. Sometimes, there are misunderstandings and sadly, rarely, even hate crimes, but those are isolated and the UN soldiers have not gotten a scratch on them since after the war. their presence in Kosova is welcomed from both sides, Kosovars and Serbs.